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Common Hormonal Disorders and How They Affect You

hormone disorders

There are many types of hormones produced by glands in our body, which include the pituitary, adrenal, thyroid, ovary and testis. Hormones help regulate activities in the body, and have effects on the metabolism, reproduction, food absorption and utilisation, growth and development, and more.

There are two common hormonal disorders that each affects a specific gender. Polycystic ovary syndrome is a disorder common in women, while male hypogonadism is a disorder where there is low production of testosterone (male hormones) in the testicles. These hormonal disorders can lead indirectly to heart problems, and it is important that they are discovered early and treated.

  • The Most Common Female Hormonal Disorder

    Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is the most common hormonal disorder affecting women of child-bearing age. PCOS results in high insulin resistance, which leads to obesity and a higher risk of diabetes, as well as a higher balance of male hormones in women.

    Symptoms of PCOS include:

    • Persistent weight gain or difficulty losing weight
    • Irregular or absent menstrual periods
    • Increased body hair, especially over the face and lower abdomen
    • Difficulty achieving pregnancy

    Treatment for PCOS may be specifically targeted at reducing insulin resistance, enhancing fertility or at improving androgen balance, thus preventing the development of obesity. Several other hormonal conditions (hypothyroidism, Cushing syndrome, congenital adrenal hyperplasia) may mimic PCOS and also cause obesity, thus it is important to obtain an accurate diagnosis from an experienced hormone specialist (endocrinologist).

  • When Men Run Low on Testosterones: Hypogonadism

    Hypogonadism is a condition where the level of male sex hormone (testosterone) is low in men. Testosterone is essential in maintaining muscle bulk and strength, and in reducing fat mass. It is an important hormone that regulates sexual function in men.

    If left untreated, an array of complications may arise from testosterone deficiency. Apart from subfertility, poor bone health and a poorer quality of life, low testosterone levels are strongly associated with obesity and the development of diabetes. Severe cases have been linked with higher mortality from heart disease.

    You may be suffering from hypogonadism if you are experiencing these symptoms:

    • Lack of morning erections and sexual fantasies
    • Poor erectile function
    • Low mood
    • Low energy levels
    • Unexplained sensation of warmth and facial flushing
    • Unexplained sweating

    You may also be at risk if you are overweight, had previous brain surgery or irradiation, or are having difficulty fathering children. Bodybuilders and athletes exposed to anabolic steroids may also be at risk.

    Simple, safe and effective treatment is available to reverse hypogonadism and return men to confidence and the quality of life they are seeking. Aside from direct testosterone therapy, treatment may also be aimed at stimulating hormone production or reversing the imbalance between male and female hormones. Weight reduction can also improve testosterone levels.

    Many men are shy to discuss the symptoms they experience. However, there is absolutely no need to suffer in silence. Successful treatment can help improve the quality of your life, your bone health, fertility and lowers your risk of developing diabetes and heart disease.

    If you have a hormonal disorder that affects your metabolism and food absorption, you can find yourself gaining weight and having difficulty losing weight despite your efforts to keep fit and maintain a balanced diet. This can indirectly increase your risk of developing coronary artery disease and other heart problems.

    Take charge of heart health today. Make an appointment for a Heart Screening with Specialist Consultation at Gleneagles Hospital. To learn more, please visit our heart specialists or call the Gleneagles Patient Assistance Centre 24-hour Hotline at (65) 6575 7575.