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A traumatic brain injury (TBI) is an injury to the brain caused by external physical force, which results in an impairment of cognitive abilities or physical functioning.[1] TBI can be the result of a fall, a motor vehicle accident, a sport or combat injury, or from violence. Over two million Canadians live with the effects of an acquired brain injury.[2]

How does a brain injury result in hormone dysfunction? Two important parts of the endocrine system are located in or near the brain: the pituitary gland and the hypothalamus. The pituitary gland makes and stores many different hormones including Prolactin, Thyroid-Stimulating Hormone (TSH), Growth Hormone (GH), Luteinizing Hormone (LH) and Follicle-Stimulating Hormone (FSH). These hormones stimulate the production of various glands and body functions that allow for reproduction, growth and hormone regulation. The hypothalamus helps to control the pituitary gland and its hormone production.

If either of these components of the endocrine system are damaged, this may result in problems such as Adrenal Insufficiency, Diabetes Insipidus, Hypothyroidism, Hypogonadism or Hyperprolactinemia. These conditions may be accompanied by symptoms including headache, fatigue, vomiting, confusion, weight loss/gain, constipation, irregular menstrual periods, cold intolerance, sexual dysfunction, breast enlargement, loss of body hair, and/or muscle loss.

If you have experienced a head injury, talk to your trusted healthcare professional about your hormone testing options and treatments. It is also important to take the appropriate precautions when participating in high-risk activities and in the event that you receive a blow to the head, seek early diagnosis and treatment from a doctor.

References:

  1. Centre for Neuroskills. Definition of Brain Injury. Accessed 6/11/2018. https://www.neuroskills.com/education/definition-of-brain-injury.php
  2. Brain Injury Canada. Brain Injury Can Happen to Anyone. Accessed 6/11/2018. https://www.braininjurycanada.ca/

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