Work Stress Might Not Be The Cause Of Hormonal Imbalance, This Singaporean Endocrinologist Tells You Why

Hormonal imbalance may be considered as an elusive condition. Many Singaporeans suffer from it without them even realising it!

It's often brushed off as common mood swings or a sign of fatigue. A lot of people are unware that this seemingly insignificant condition is a potential gateway to a whole host of other serious problems.

Dr Marilyn Lee, an accredited Specialist in Endocrinology, answered a lot of questions from the DxD Community on common disorders and diseases related to hormonal imbalance.

She was invited to host a DxD Sessions because of her wealth of experience in managing endocrine disorders, including diabetes and thyroid. She was the one who spearheaded the reproductive endocrine service at Khoo Teck Puat Hospital. 

Here's what she had to share.  

There are many types of hormone imbalance 

Hormones chart

You could be forgiven for thinking that hormone imbalance refers to just one category of hormones.(were you by any chance thinking along the lines of estrogen or testosterone?)

To put it simply, hormone imbalance implies that the levels of certain hormones are out of whack. They can either be too high or too low.

This can involve any of the different hormones found in your body. Some of them include: thyroid hormone, female/male hormones, steroid hormones, growth hormones, and insulin. 

Is your body "speeding up"? It might be a thyroid hormone issue

Hyperthyroidism occurs when your body overproduces thyroid hormones. When that happens, you feel like everything in your body is happening too way too quickly. 

Your metabolism and heart rate speeds up, your weight drops drastically, and you often feel hot and pespire a lot. Even your bowel movements move more frequently!

The most common cause? Grave's disease. It's typically caused by antibodies and tends to run in the family. It could also be due to a thyroid nodule that's producing way too much thyroid hormones.  

Irregular periods & weight loss in women may also be red flags

Woman standing on scale

Suffering from irregular periods and sudden weight loss? These could be directly attributed to hyperthyroidism (where your body produces too much thyroid hormones).

In most cases, regular menstrual periods are a good indicator of general health. Other symptoms like increased heart rate, sweating, and insomnia points to hyperthyroidism too. 

Yes, guys suffer from hormonal imbalance too

 

Hormonal imbalance isn't just reserved for women. Male hormone deficiency is also a real concern! Identifying its symptoms can be pretty tricky since they're generally non-specific.

This means that if you're feeling tired all the time, lack energy and have seemingly constant mood swings, you're probably in need of a check-up.

Guys, noticed an increase in breast size? 

If men start noticing an increase in breast size, it might actually point to the uneven ratio of male to female hormones in their bodies. It's not just the result of hitting the gym.

If male hormones stay low for a significant amount of time, then he is at risk of having low bone density and osteoporosis.

Birth control pills aren't the only treatment for PCOS

PCOS (Polycystic ovary syndrome) is a hormonal disorder that's common among women. It causes infrequent/prolonged menstrual periods, or excess male hormones. 

Birth control pills aren't the only solution. Depending on the symptoms, medication is available to treat excess male hormones.

If you're suffering a lack of periods, metformin can help improve the regularity of periods. Dr Lee finds that a dose of 1500mg daily is pretty effective.

Stress and anxiety can lead to hormonal imbalance, but only at severe levels 

Stress

If you’ve been under a lot of pressure and were wondering how stress correlates to hormonal imbalance, here's your answer. 

Yes, stress can cause an increase in cortisol (stress hormone) levels. However, it's important to note that the increase usually falls within the normal range. It's not likely to increase to pathological levels.

On the other hand, persistent and prolonged stress could be a sign of hyperthyroidism. You're better off seeking medical evaluation right away. 

Natural supplements in treating hormonal imbalances? Sure, but it depends… 

Woman taking medicine with water

You'd have probably come across supplements that claim to treat hormonal imbalance naturally. According to Dr Lee, the effectiveness of these supplements depend on the type of hormonal imbalance present.

For example, women who experience menopausal symptoms are consume certain supplements that contain phytoestrogens. These might help to relieve their symptoms. 

Kids suffer from hormonal imbalance too

Like adults, children suffer from hormonal imbalance too. They have their own set of symptoms. In most cases, weight are height are the biggest indicators. You should always measure them at every clinic visit. 

If your child's height is under the 3rd percentile of the growth chart, you should take your child to a paediatrician for an evaluation. Other suggestive symptoms include obesity and early puberty.  

It's complicated

Hormonal imbalance can be a tricky condition to identify. You should be aware of what’s happening to your body. Clarify whether you may be experiencing hormonal imbalance or something completely different.


Ever wanted to ask a health question to a specific renowned specialist in Singapore? DxD Sessions are when these expert doctors answer all your questions!

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All content posted is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice. This Q&A is not a patient consultation and any information provided herein is not intended to replace consultation with a qualified medical professional. If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor immediately. Always seek the advice of your doctor before starting or changing treatment.

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