Are You Hormonal?
Her World Malaysia|August 2016

Why hormones affect everything, from the way you look to how you feel – and what you can do about it.

Adelina Tan

Have you craved so badly for a certain food that you couldn’t think of anything else? Or felt paralysed by moodiness and lethargy just before your period? Maybe such a strong wave of desire has tingled through every nerve in your body, you just had to drop everything and engage hubby in a dash of spontaneous fun.

You have your hormones to thank (or blame). And don’t worry, you’re not the only one. Many women are greatly affected by hormone fluctuations, sometimes to the point of feeling totally overwhelmed, as if for a time they have lost control of their life, says Dr Christiane Northrup, author of Women’s Bodies Women’s Wisdom.

According to Hormone Health Network, the Endocrine Society’s public education arm, hormones are “special chemical messengers in the body that are created in the endocrine glands”. They have so much sway over our wellbeing because that’s exactly what they do: control most major bodily functions, from simple needs like hunger to more complex systems like reproduction.

When our hormones are in balance, we feel good and thrive both mentally and physically. But even small disruptions to the equation can cause serious, life-altering symptoms. Illnesses linked to hormone imbalance include breast cancer, diabetes, hyperthyroidism, hypothyroidism and polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS).

CALM, MEET STORM

Generally speaking, we’re at our healthiest during our reproductive years. “We stay healthy because the high levels of sex hormones (oestrogen, progesterone and testosterone) we produce protect us from illness. In fact, all our hormones are at their peak when we are in our 30s, not just the sex hormones,” explains Datuk Dr Nor Ashikin (Nora) Mokhtar, founder of PrimaNora Medical Centre, who has a background in obstetrics and gynaecology.

But, Dr Nora is quick to add, hormones do not protect us from all health hazards. “And like a computer system, the human body does crash on occasion,” she says. “Hormones get thrown off balance even in the healthiest of people at the peak of their youth.” It’s normal for hormone levels to shift during certain times, such as before and during your period or a pregnancy, or during menopause.

Sometimes though, hormone imbalance could be a sign of a more chronic medical condition which requires immediate medical attention. Dr Nora  suggests doing hormone profiles, via blood tests, for hormones such as oestradiol, progesterone, DHEA, cortisol and insulin. Testing can be done at certain medical centres with age-management facilities.

In our 40s, our hormones begin to decline and more so after the dreaded ‘M’ – menopause. Defined as the absence of a menstrual period for 12 months, menopause usually happens in one’s 40s or 50s, but may occur as early as the 30s or as late as the 60s.

Continue reading your story on the app

Continue reading your story in the magazine

MORE STORIES FROM HER WORLD MALAYSIAView All

YOU'VE GOT A FRIEND IN ME

“More than half of my time is spent with animals, but I enjoy it,” enthuses animal rescuer, Aileen Lee. The story of this selfless lady’s dedication and love for the fur kids she has saved will warm your heart.

8 mins read
Her World Malaysia
May - June 2020

MISSION: Catification

We discover why pet proofing your home ensures harmony and safety for both the owner and the cat.

2 mins read
Her World Malaysia
May - June 2020

THE ONE WHO'S TAKING ACTION

Best known for her extensively waitlisted Nina bag, Gabriela Hearst walks the talk when it comes to sustainable luxury. The New York-based designer shares her inspirations, dreams and resolutions for herself and her eponymous label.

3 mins read
Her World Malaysia
May - June 2020

BORN TO ENTERTAIN

YOU MIGHT RECOGNISE HER AS THE GENTLE AND LOVING MOTHER IN LEE CHONG WEI, THE BIOPIC OF THE BADMINTON LEGEND, OR THE VULNERABLE YET RESILIENT TEACHER IN WET SEASON, WHICH HIT THE CINEMAS IN MARCH. SOME OF US MAY HAVE SEEN YEO YANN YANN ON THE BIG SCREEN PLAYING VARIOUS CHARACTERS FOR MORE THAN A DECADE. STILL, SHE NEVER FAILS LEAVE HER AUDIENCE IN AWE OF HER ACTING PROWESS.

10+ mins read
Her World Malaysia
May - June 2020

THE TRUTH BEHIND FAUX FUR

Is imitation fur still a feasible alternative in this modern, fashion-forward world? Nadhirah Othman uncovers how the fur industry – both real and fake – brings a detrimental impact to the well-being of our planet.

4 mins read
Her World Malaysia
May - June 2020

Surprising reasons WHY YOUR KID is under performing in school

You’re understandably frustrated that your child isn’t living up to her potential. But before you blame her attitude, check if these conditions are hindering her academically.

9 mins read
Her World Malaysia
May - June 2020

A PAWSITIVE' Life

Like in many parts of the world, pet culture has seen exponential growth in Malaysia. In this issue, Lorraine Chai discusses pet therapy, a method of treatment that is gaining traction, and also some of the pet trends you don’t want to miss out on.

10 mins read
Her World Malaysia
May - June 2020

The Healing Power Of Unconditional Love

There’s a saying that goes, “Until one has loved an animal, a part of one’s soul remains unawakened.” For one woman, these words resonated deeply. An unlikely companion came into her life at her lowest point and changed everything.

7 mins read
Her World Malaysia
May - June 2020

Even Pets Need Tummy Care?

For many, keeping a pet is more than just caring for an animal; pets are family members, too. We speak to veterinary surgeon, Dr Wafaa Abdul Washefffrom Pets Corner Sdn Bhd, to find out how your pets can stay healthy with a suitable diet

3 mins read
Her World Malaysia
May - June 2020

Beauty The Natural Way

With climate change rapidly threatening the future of Mother Earth, we urgently need to curb further acts of destruction. We speak to Law Hong Mei, founder of The Olive Tree, about building a beauty brand that is sustainable from the core.

5 mins read
Her World Malaysia
May - June 2020
RELATED STORIES

15 Natural Ways To Harness Your Hormones

They can have an impact on everything from your mood and sleep to your weight. Here’s how to control yours and boost your health

4 mins read
WOMAN'S WEEKLY
May 18, 2021

Focus On Walking For Health

Stride your way to a longer life

4 mins read
WOMAN - UK
July 27, 2020

Why We Get Food Cravings

Before you decide to indulge your food cravings, try to figure out WHY you want that particular food, with tips from dietitian Rowena Visagie.

4 mins read
TRAIL
Issue 35

Hair Loss At Any Age

Who will ever forget the scene in 2010 when a strong wind lifted strands of Naomi Campbell’s weave and revealed a receding hairline? Hair loss is more common than we let on...

4 mins read
True Love
April 2020

PMS, Acne, Infertility?

This tiny fruit holds big health benefits, especially when it comes to PMS and other hormonal imbalances

2 mins read
Better Nutrition
March 2020

Tears And Kindness

Susie tells us what make her cry and why

3 mins read
EDP Norfolk
October 2019

23 Legal Ways TO Boost Your Serotonin

The so-called happy hormone is your body’s in-built moodimproving switch. But securing a regular buzz needn’t mean indulging your more libertine impulses. Use our score sheet to enjoy a healthy high, whenever you want it. Consider it self-care without the scented candles

6 mins read
Men's Health Australia
August 2019

What Happens When I Take Smart Drugs?

Nine-to-fivers are popping legally hazy pills to outwit burnout. But is it clever? This is our prescription

2 mins read
Men's Health UK
July 2018

Menopause & The Fit Woman

Regular physical activity is crucial for women facing menopause. Consider what physical activity can do for you — and how to apply fitness tips for menopause to your daily routine.

9 mins read
Oxygen
July/August 2017

Reset Your Hormones And Lose Weight

A few key hormones that affect ab fat can dictate whether you cinch your belt or let it out a few notches.

5 mins read
Shape Singapore
August 2016