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Creating a balance: Hormones, health and Hormona

Health Tech World meets Jasmine Tagesson, the co-founder of Hormona to discuss hormones, general well being and how, when it comes to health, knowledge is power.

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While our hormones affect our lives in many different ways, we often don’t think about keeping them healthy, happy or balanced.

Hormona offers personalised hormonal health through its app that aims to educate and empower women to live better and healthier lives.

Health Tech World meets Jasmine Tagesson, the co-founder of Hormona to discuss hormones, general well being and how, when it comes to health, knowledge is power.

Hormones are responsible for a lot more than we give them credit for. They can regulate our appetites, libido, sleep, heart rate, mood and stress levels. Imbalances happen when there is too much or too little of a hormone in our bloodstream which causes side effects throughout the body.

Hormones are chemicals that are produced by the glands in the endocrine system. They travel through the bloodstream to tissues and organs to tell the organs what to do.

Hormona and hormones

The idea for Hormona came from founder Karolina Lofqvist’s struggle to get diagnosed with hormone imbalance and thyroid disease.

“My co-founder started to feel very unwell about seven years ago. She was eventually diagnosed with hormone imbalances but it took a good three or four years before she was diagnosed with this and thyroid disease. Upon being diagnosed she set out to start talking about all of these common and uncommon conditions that you can suffer from as women.”

“Hormona started as more of a platform around mental and physical wellness because so many of these things affect your mental health too. Karolina personally learned about the connection between our bodies and our minds and the importance of both being balanced for you to live a healthy life. She wanted to share this with other women.”

Hormona: The two co-founders of Hormona

This was at the start of 2019 and Jasmine joined the company six months later. She had grown up with Karolina in Sweden and she knew she wanted to get on board with a company focused on female health and empowerment.

“After a while, we started talking to the community to find out what they wanted to learn about. After long discussions, what came across was the lack of knowledge around our hormones and how they affect us. A lot of people don’t know how they fluctuate throughout our cycle. They are connected to premenstrual symptoms or how we feel. It became apparent very quickly that this was an area we need to focus on.”

A big problem when it comes to knowledge around our hormones is that most women are not taught about their importance. This education is missing from discussions with our doctors, in our sex education and not even properly discussed with friends.
Hormona’s research backs this up. They reported that 80 per cent of women suffer from hormonal imbalances yet 75 per cent said they do not understand their own hormones.

“I think part of the problem is that we are missing this information from the start. Where is this education in schools? We don’t talk about how our periods and hormones work during sex education. We focus on the sexual side of things in terms of not getting pregnant or having unprotected sex. There was nothing about hormonal contraceptives and how they affect your natural hormonal system. We aren’t told much about menopause until we are in it so there is a definite lack of information all around.”

Hormona works by giving women the tools to address hormone imbalances and the associated symptoms. It provides the education that has been lacking for so many women.

“The main way to deal with our hormones and if they are imbalanced is through lifestyle and nutrition. Changing your lifestyle so there is less stress or your diet to promote better health is how you will balance your hormones.”

It’s not always the same symptoms that present when it comes to a hormone imbalance. Different people can have different symptoms and there can be up to 45 different signs such as weight gain, weight loss, acne, hair loss, anxiety, brain fog, depression or low libido.

Hormona: The two co-founders of Hormona

Jasmine explained that the list is never-ending which makes it hard to diagnose because all the symptoms can be signs of other problems too.

“Many people don’t realise that their symptoms are connected to a hormone imbalance so they just learn to live with it. So the first step of Hormona, our app, is to help women detect and manage their personal cycle patterns and individual hormonal rhythm along with associated symptoms. Our app provides women with daily hormonal expectations and best tips along with tracking facilities and a community.”

Hormone cycles

Jasmine also highlighted that there are ways of changing your work to better suit your hormonal cycles. This could potentially boost productivity.

“We work on the same terms as men do but men have a 24-hour cycle compared to our 28-day cycle. We have certain days in our cycle where we are not the most productive and shouldn’t be working eight hours a day or taking big meetings. There are other days where we will be doing 14 hour days because we have so much energy. We want to try to help women optimise their life around their hormones and not necessarily be forced to follow a man’s cycle because it’s not how women’s bodies work.”

Hormona is also working on developing a first of its kind home hormone testing kit that will help women understand their hormone levels and fluctuations as well as detecting any concerning changes from the comfort of their own home.

Another statistic from Hormona’s research noted the sad reality of a lack of knowledge around hormones. It revealed that 60 per cent of women felt lonely in their hormone journey.

“Until recently, you didn’t talk about these things. You may have two friends you could talk to about periods but it wasn’t your everyday conversation. This is changing which is great and I feel social media has played a huge part. There are so many people raising awareness and talking about it which makes it less taboo.”

Femtech, funding and Hormona

When it comes to funding, Hormona has done well but Jasmine highlighted a problem that a lot of femtech and female-led companies face – how to pitch women’s products to a board room full of men?

“It’s tricky talking about a female issue with a group of male investors. It’s not easy because they can’t relate. People just assume that when you talk about hormones, it’s all about fertility. We have to say, no, we are not in the fertility space at all. Hormone health is its own area and it deserves the same amount of attention.”

So is the answer more women in board rooms? Jasmine is not convinced.

“The more women in the industry the better obviously, but the sad thing is that women are actually much tougher critics of other women and their ideas. It’s the same in many industries so we wrote an article about toxic femininity and how it exists in the workplace which is a similar thing. Women in powerful positions are very competitive.”

She added: “My view is that we are stronger together. If we can join forces then there is a positive change for all of us. Regardless, I think investors do see the value in Hormona and they see that hormone health and femtech is such a hot topic which makes them want to be involved. Then the lack of knowledge in that field makes them a bit unsure but I think this is slowly changing and I’m sure we’ll hear about hormone health more and more in the next couple of years.”

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  1. Pingback: Forward Partners VC Louise Rix joins Béa Fertility as chief medical officer

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