Female Hormones

Hormone Intelligence

Understanding Female Hormones

Are you having regular periods and uncertain how your hormones are impacting your wellbeing?

Are you trying to understand why you are experiencing changes in your menstrual cycles that are affecting your quality of life? Wondering if you are entering perimenopause?

Are you an exerciser, athlete or dancer wondering if you have an optimal balance of nutrition, training and recovery? Could you be in low energy availability impacting your hormones? Are you recovering from RED-S (relative energy deficiency from sport) and periods are returning? What to check your female hormone networks are fully restored?

Do you want to know how your hormones are restoring after being on hormonal contraception, or postnatal?

I offer a face-to-face virtual appointment to discuss in depth. We will also go into further detail regarding your personalised advice and next steps. This appointment comprises of up to 30 minutes discussion.

“Overall, I found the session with Nicky extremely enlightening, as a way to join up the dots for myself and understand fully the implications from the patterns in my female hormones. It was great to be able to draw on the wisdom of an expert to understand which steps might be most helpful to prioritise, and to be a bit more scientific in building up a picture as to what might help me best move forward. The session was also holistic, not just about looking directly for the medicalised solution and instead taking a broader view of overall wellbeing and the factors that might most impact overall hormonal health.  A great session and I would highly recommend this as a way to build understanding whilst also coming away with a few practical steps to take forward. Thank you so much Nicky.”

Female hormone networks form the most complex aspect of the endocrine system. The menstrual cycle depends upon a delicate web of feedback mechanisms that trigger significant changes in hormone levels. This intricate physiological process generally operates reliably, but its timing and the hormone levels are affected by internal and external factors going on in a woman’s life. This is why women differ in their experiences of menstrual cycles and why an individual woman may notice differences between cycles.

Apart from being fascinating from a physiological point of view, why is this so important from a practical point of view for women? The reason is that female hormones are not just about fertility. The ovarian hormones oestradiol (most active form of oestrogen) and progesterone have significant effects through the body. Every biological system is dependent on these hormones: bones, muscle, nervous system, including brain function, skin, the cardiovascular and digestive systems [1]. This is why female hormones impact all aspects of health: physical, mental and social [2].

The cyclical fluctuations in female hormones occurring every menstrual cycle will also change over a woman’s lifespan. Completion of puberty is marked by the start of menstrual cycles: menarche. During her adult life a woman can expect regular menstrual cycles. However, subtle hormone disruption can be missed.

For example, in subclinical anovulatory cycles, although a woman may experience regular menstrual periods, subtle mistiming of female hormones will not be detected. Yet this type of hormone disruption can have potential adverse consequences on health. This is particularly relevant for exercisers, athletes and dancers who are either on the brink of or recovering from low energy availability. Early identification and prevention of relative energy availability in sport (RED-S) is important for both health and exercise performance [3].

A similar situation arises for women in the perimenopause when the responsiveness of her ovaries starts to decline. This is further complicated by the fact that the decrease in ovarian hormone production is not a smooth linear process. A blood test at a single time point may not identify these changes in key female hormone networks. Although perimenopause is a natural physiological process, it can be a challenging time for women, magnified by uncertainty. All change for female hormones

Women need a new, more supportive approach, to take away uncertainty and to empower them with insights into their hormone networks.

Machine learning can revolutionise healthcare, as outlined in the report from the Chief Medical Officer of England [4]. It is an approach widely used in modelling biological systems [5]. Artificial intelligence is an important clinical tool to support the optimisation of personalised health [6].This gives women the long-needed opportunity to connect with their personal female hormone networks. It empowers each woman to adopt a personalised, effective and proactive approach to optimise her hormone health.

To learn more about female hormone networks, have at look at previous discussions and forthcoming events where I am presenting on this topic and application of this personalised approach for female health Presentations For publications see Publications

Every woman’s hormone network fluctuations are personal to her. Every woman is an individual.


[1] Keay, N. What’s so good about Menstrual Cycles? British Journal of Sport and Exercise Medicine 2019

[2] Keay, N. Of Mice and Men (and Women) British Journal of Sport and Exercise Medicine 2019

[3] Keay, N. Relative energy deficiency in sport (RED-S) British Journal of Sport and Exercise Medicine 2018 and British Association of Sport and Exercise educational website Health4Performance

[4] “Machine learning for individualised medicine” Mihaela van der Schaar, Chapter 10 of the 2018 Annual Report of the Chief Medical Officer. Health 2040 – Better Health Within Reach. Accessed 2021

[5] Van de Schoot, R., Depaoli, S., King, R. et al. Bayesian statistics and modelling. Nat Rev Methods Primers 1, 1 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1038/s43586-020-00001-2

[6] Artificial Intelligence. AI Council. UK Government