Hormonal Health

Part of: Women's Health

Staying in healthy balance

Most of us know that the female sex hormones, oestrogen and progesterone, play an important role in our reproductive system. But do you know that hormones also regulate other aspects of our health, such as our energy levels, mood, weight, sleep cycles, appetite and more?

When we suffer a hormonal imbalance, there is a noticeable effect on our overall health and well-being. We look at what happens when our hormones go out of sync and how we can best manage them for a healthy, fulfilling life.

How does hormonal imbalance affect a woman's health?

Hormones are chemicals produced by the glands in our endocrine system and released into the bloodstream. Too much or too little of a hormone leads to an imbalance, and this can affect the way our body functions.

Our levels of hormones are affected by:

  • Naturally fluctuations at various life stages, such as during puberty, pregnancy and menopause, and during our menstrual cycle
  • Lifestyle, diet and certain medical conditions

Hormonal imbalance can cause a variety of symptoms, like hair loss, weight gain and irregular periods. It can also be a sign of an underlying health condition.

Recognising these signs will allow you to catch any issues early on. By getting appropriate treatment or making the right lifestyle changes, you can restore the balance in your body and return to good health.

Learn more: Common signs of hormonal imbalance in women

Did you know? The average age of menopause in Singapore is 49 years old. Research has shown that by the age of 53, over 90% of women here have reached menopause.

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Common endocrine disorders in women

Here are the most common hormone conditions that affect women:

Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a hormonal disorder in which small cysts carrying immature eggs develop inside the ovaries. Women with PCOS may experience problems such as excessive body hair, hair fall, irregular menstrual cycle, skin problems and weight gain. If left untreated, PCOS can lead to complications such as diabetes or heart problems.

Thyroid disorders occur when the thyroid gland, which regulates our body's metabolism becomes dysfunctional. Two common thyroid disorders in women are Graves' disease, which causes hyperthyroidism (overactive thyroid), and Hashimoto's thyroiditis, which causes hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid). Thyroid conditions can lead to a wide range of health problems.

Menopause is a natural process that occurs when a women is around 45 – 55 years old. It is a signal of the end of a woman’s reproductive years. Menopause is associated with discomforts such as hot flushes and insomnia as well as with higher risks for heart disease and bone loss (osteoporosis). Understanding these risks can help you effectively manage these symptoms and improve your quality of life.

Hormones play a key role in regulating our mood and mental health. Our hormones fluctuate throughout the day to regulate our sleep and wake cycles, metabolism, appetite and energy expenditure.

Environmental stressors or certain medical disorders may cause hormonal glands to malfunction. When this happens, a person may feel irritable, depressed or have trouble focusing.

Symptoms of hormonal deficiency

Common signs of hormonal deficiency include:

  • Feeling depressed
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Decreased mental sharpness
  • Inability to focus
  • Memory loss
  • Trouble remembering
  • State of confusion

If you experience any of the above symptoms, talk to your endocrinologist for a proper diagnosis and treatment options to help improve your quality of life.

Hormones and mental health

Certain hormonal deficiencies have been shown to affect mental health:

  • The drop in progesterone levels after childbirth is linked to postpartum depression
  • Hypothyroidism is linked to depression, difficulty in concentration and short term memory loss
  • Reproductive hormones such as progesterone, oestrogen, and testosterone is linked to brain function and may protect against memory or cognition loss

If you suspect that you have hormonal deficiency, approach your endocrinologist for an accurate diagnosis and treatment.

This page has been reviewed by our medical content reviewers.