Hormona bridges the gender data gap in hormonal health, going beyond baby making

Hormona uses data and soon-to-be-released at-home tests to track hormones via an app, predicting behavior/mood changes, and identifying potential health issues.
Hormona bridges the gender data gap in hormonal health, going beyond baby making

Despite 80 per cent of women struggling with hormone issues globally, hormonal health education (conditions, symptoms, solutions, mental health implications) remains under-discussed, underreported, and underfunded. 

Hormona is a data-driven women's health company (also catering for other people who have periods). Hormona uses AI and a oon-to-be-released at-home testing to track hormone fluctuations and inconsistencies, predicting corresponding changes in behaviours and moods. This sheds light on endocrinological and gynaecological health conditions such as PMDD, irregular cycles and perimenopause.  

The London-based company has not only captured the interest of investors but also space scientists. 

Hormona's app is downloaded in 180+ countries and has tens of thousands of active users within its first 12 months of launching. Karolina Löfqvist (CEO) and Jasmine Tagesson (COO) designed the Hormona app with their team of endocrinology, gynaecology, and nutrition experts. 

 I spoke to the co-founders to find out more.

The company was inspired by Löfqvist's own health issues:

"Suddenly, I was gaining weight, losing hair, and struggling to run. So, I had a lot of different symptoms.

I went to local doctors, but they said it was probably stress-related and that I should take antidepressants.

It was a very long and frustrating journey for me until I eventually found a hormone specialist in Brussels who started to take blood tests every week and figured out that I was suffering from hormonal imbalances.

I had too little oestrogen because I'd been on a contraceptive for many years, so my body wasn't producing the natural level of estrogen, and my thyroid was deregulated. He put me on a holistic plan for 12 weeks, and I started to get better quite quickly.

But I also realised what a big and long journey I'd gone through.

Up to 80 per cent of women will suffer from a hormone-related issue.

And I find it so crazy that there isn't risn't anyone holding your hand throughout this massive fluctuation we women go through.

That could be when you try to get pregnant or when you're you're perimenopausal or dealing with irregular cycles, changing contraceptives. 

So, I started doing a lot of research on the topic and brought in Jasmine, my co-founder."

Hormonal health is more than fertility tracking

Not all women want to have children, can have children, get periods, or are sexually active - but solutions on the market negate their need to track hormones. 

Furthermore, April is PMDD Awareness Month

Premenstrual dysphoric disorder. is an extreme form of PMS where as many as 1 in 20 women of reproductive age fall into severe depression, anxiety and suicidal thoughts before their period. Medical professionals record that almost 50 per cent of PMDD sufferers have planned a suicide attempt, yet they're likely to be diagnosed with mental health conditions than a treatable hormonal imbalance. 

The value of at-home hormone testing

By combining a range of tools and options, ranging from telehealth appointments to symptom reduction plans, supplements and medication, Hormona is the first end-to-end solution for women facing hormone-related issues, leading developments to expand the space of hormonal health at large. 

Löfqvist found weekly blood tests inconvenient and expensive. 

"It cost" me a fortune. Also, when it comes to your hormones, you need to test your cycle on a specific day to really understand what's what's going on."

Besides the Hormona app, the company plans to launch at-home hormone testing. 

Users can receive lab-grade results from HormonaHormona'se tests within 15 minutes. The lateral flow urine-based tests assess three key hormones for measuring menstrual, reproductive, and menopausal health — FSH (Follicle-Stimulating Hormone), progesterone, and estrogen. 

Test results are quantified through HormonaHormona's machine learning prediction model, enabling Hormona to accurately detect hormone levels in the sample provided, and produce more precise predictions for bodily symptoms (compared to traditional tabletop readers or at-home finger prick tests.

The app is free, and the company plans to offer the hormone tests in kits of four for £39 per month.

Other Hormona tools include cycle-specific lifestyle tips, telehealth appointments, symptom reduction plans, supplements, and medication.

Tagesson shared that the startup has been literally life-changing:

"We have a lot of women reaching out saying, 'Oh, thanks to you, I didn't didn't quit my job. I understand it's my hormones, and it's due to my cycle that I feel a little bit low.'

It just provides women and their health professionals with so much information."  

Our data shows that conventional notions around hormonal cycles are not always correct. You get taught your cycle is 28 days, but many women have shorter or longer cycles. Also, stress has such a significant impact on hormonal health.

What happens when women take contraceptives? How does that impact our bodies? No one has any idea." 

Underresearched and underfunded

It's well established that women-founded startups secure less funding than those founded by men. Women are also underrepresented in clinical trials, which can lead to medications and treatments with unintended side effects for women or with effectiveness not optimised for female biology.  

Only 2 per cent of global medical funding goes towards researching issues specific to women. Less research into women's health needs leads to gaps in knowledge and hinders the development of effective treatments and preventative measures.

Tagesson said:

"No one" is served without funding, not women, not men. If there is no innovation in this space, then we can't make things better."

Since its 2023 app launch, London-based Hormona has collected over 1.5 million anonymous health data points to aid in closing the gender health gap. 

The company has published three academic papers.

However, funding is needed to scale such efforts into solutions. Hormona raised $2.8 million in a pre-seed round from Nascent InvestTechstars, and SFC Capital, but finding investors wasn't wasn't

Löfqvist recalled that the company spoke to at least 100 investors before securing investment. It proved particularly challenging to make investors understand the importance of hormonal health beyond fertility and its intrinsic connection to mental wellbeing, with more than one male investor claiming: 

"My wife never has these problems." 

Personally, I find the notion that male investors use their wives as a barometer of investment worthiness rather than doing appropriate due diligence into the massive research into women's issues more than a little concerning. Investment decisions based on personal experiences rather than rigorous research lead to missed opportunities, especially in a field like women's issues that is severely underfunded.

Hormona offers Employee Wellness Schemes, partnering with companies in the UK and Sweden. Under these schemes, employees are provided with free access to the app alongside educational seminars and private consultations. Hormona is also in discussion with health insurers globally. 

Hormonal health in space

As I write this, Horoma is participating in the annual Spaceflight Human Optimization & Performance Summit at Space Center in Houston, Texas, to demonstrate its hormone solution.

The summit aims to bring together experts in spaceflight and other domains of human performance, delving into the importance of physical and mental readiness for space challenges, advocating for women's participation in STEM fields and playing a role in making space exploration accessible to all. 

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