Ask an Endocrinologist: Dr Abel Soh from Mount Elizabeth Orchard Hospital Singapore

Ask a Doctor ForumCategory: EndocrinologyAsk an Endocrinologist: Dr Abel Soh from Mount Elizabeth Orchard Hospital Singapore
Dr Abel Soh asked 9 months ago
I am Dr Abel Soh, Endocrinologist practicing at Mount Elizabeth Orchard Hospital Singapore. Ask Me Anything!

I graduated with Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery (MBBS) from the National University of Singapore (NUS) in 2000. I trained in Internal Medicine at the Singapore General Hospital (SGH) and attained the Membership of the Royal College of Physicians of the United Kingdom [MRCP (UK)] in 2006. I then pursued Advanced Specialist Training in Endocrinology at SGH and obtained my Specialist Accreditation in Endocrinology by the Ministry of Health (MOH) in 2010. In 2010, I was awarded the SingHealth Health Manpower Development Programme (HMDP) fellowship in Diabetes in Pregnancy at the Joslin Diabetes Centre, USA. Upon my return from the USA, I co-ran the Gestational Diabetes Joint Clinic (GDJC) in SGH together with the obstetricians. I initiated the pre-Ramadan counselling program for Muslim patients with diabetes at SGH in 2011. In 2012, I received the Singapore Health Quality Service Gold Award.

I was actively involved in undergraduate and postgraduate teaching at SGH. I served as Adjunct Assistant Professor in Medicine at Duke-NUS Graduate Medical School and Clinical Senior Lecturer at Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine, NUS. I was also in the Core Faculty of the SingHealth Internal Medicine Residency program. I have published in several peer-reviewed scientific journals and have also penned two book chapters. I was previously the Vice-President of the Singapore Association for the Study of Obesity (SASO).

I joined Raffles Hospital as consultant endocrinologist from 2013 to 2016 to further consolidate my clinical experience in the management of endocrine conditions in both local and international patients.

In April 2016, Abel Soh Diabetes, Thyroid and Endocrine Clinic was set up to fulfill my vision of providing holistic care for patients with various endocrine conditions. With my extensive clinical experience in the managing patients with diabetes mellitus, thyroid diseases, lipid disorders, calcium disorders and osteoporosis, obesity, adrenal and pituitary diseases, I endeavor to provide individualized care and the highest quality treatment for all of my patients.

Learn more about me here: https://patients.smarterhealth.sg/specialist-doctor/abel-soh/

I am excited to be here to share/discuss Endocrine Health with everyone. I will be actively answering questions. Whether you’ve got questions about diabetes mellitus, thyroid diseases, lipid disorders, calcium disorders and osteoporosis, obesity, adrenal or pituitary diseases, ask me anything!

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20 Answers
Matthew Lim answered 9 months ago

I have a lump on my neck for close to two months now. Ever since it appeared, I feel weaker and when I speak, it takes a lot of energy out of me. My voice is often hoarse. Is this due to the lump? If yes, should I do a biopsy? And if not, do you think seeing an ENT doctor is the right decision to treat my throat?

Dr Abel Soh
replied 9 months ago

Dear Matthew,

Where is the lump in your neck? Is it at one of the sides or is it at the lower part of the front of the neck?

Lumps at the side of the neck are usually enlarged neck lymph nodes. These are usually due to infection or inflammation occurring in the head or neck region.

A lump at the lower part of the front of the neck is likely to be due to a nodule in the thyroid gland. 90 to 95% of thyroid lumps or nodules are non-cancerous, while 5 to 10% can be cancerous.

In both cases, an ultrasound scan will be necessary to check on the size and features of the nodules.

Depending on the size and ultrasound features of the thyroid nodule, a fine needle biopsy may be required to exclude the possibility of thyroid cancer. There is unfortunately no blood test that can be done to check for thyroid cancer.

Fine needle biopsy of thyroid nodules is best performed with ultrasound guidance and this can be done by an endocrinologist. Most ENT doctors are not trained in ultrasound-guided fine needle biopsy.

Erwin answered 9 months ago

I am currently taking medications to treat my hyperthyroid issue. I feel like my heart health is affected. I sometimes feel my chest being squeezed and the heart beat is irregular. Is it true that hyperthyroid can lead to heart conditions?

Dr Abel Soh
replied 9 months ago

Dear Erwin,

Hyperthyroidism (overactive thyroid gland) that is not treated or controlled can lead to faster than normal heartbeat. Sometimes the heartbeat can become irregular – this will eventually increase the risk of getting a stroke.

If the hyperthyroidism continues not to be controlled, eventually heart failure can result.

You should see a doctor to have a blood test to check your thyroid hormone levels. The doctor may need to adjust your medication to control your hyperthyroidism.

Other medications can be given to temporarily slow down fast heartbeat due to high thyroid hormone levels.

Lisa Ho answered 9 months ago

Doctor, my mother is 69 years old and she has hypothyroidism. She has been having difficulty concentrating. She appears to be daydreaming most of the time and it worries me especially when she doesn’t seem to respond to what I’m saying. Would her situation only get worse? Can it be cured?

Dr Abel Soh
replied 9 months ago

Dear Lisa,

You should bring your mother for a blood test to check her thyroid hormone level.

If the dosage of her thyroid hormone replacement medication is insufficient and her thyroid hormone level is lower than normal, then there is a possibility that her symptoms may be related to the lower thyroid hormone level.

Harold answered 9 months ago

There is a lump on the back of my neck, near my right ear. Ever since I noticed it there, I have been having mild headaches. Is this a symptom of a hormone or endocrine problem?

Dr Abel Soh
replied 9 months ago

Dear Harold,

The lump at the back of your neck (near to your right ear) is not an endocrine or hormonal problem.

You should seek consultation with an ENT specialist for further evaluation.

Serina answered 9 months ago

Doctor, ever since I started taking hyperthyroid medications, I’ve dropped a lot of hair. Now the top of my head is starting to bald. Is this a natural reaction to the medicines or a sign that my condition is getting worse?

Dr Abel Soh
replied 9 months ago

Dear Serina,

The hair loss you are experiencing is related to the change in thyroid hormone levels with treatment of your hyperthyroidism.

It is not a side effect of the medication or a sign that your hyperthyroidism is worsening.

Your hair loss will get better over 3 to 4 months as your thyroid hormone levels stabilize with treatment.

Fu Shiong answered 9 months ago

My wife delivered our baby four months ago. She is now experiencing swelling in her neck, rapid heart beat, and hair loss. Her doctor said it is likely postpartum thyroiditis and will only be temporary. However, after four months of this, I am starting to worried. Is it okay for us to seek treatment? Would the treatment or medication affect her breastfeeding?

Dr Abel Soh
replied 9 months ago

Dear Fu Shiong,

The symptoms your wife is experiencing may have been caused by postpartum thyroiditis.

However, if the symptoms have persisted for 4 months, then it is unlikely to be related to postpartum thyroiditis.

She may be suffering from an overactive thyroid gland (hyperthyroidism).

She should see a doctor and have blood tests done to confirm if her thyroid hormone levels are indeed higher than normal.

Treatment of hyperthyroidism will not affect her breastfeeding.

Rahim answered 9 months ago

Dear Doctor Soh, my 17 year old son has been suffering from a lump in his neck. Initially we thought the lump would go away but it’s been two months and it’s still there. He said the lump causes him pain when he swallows his food. In the mornings, he always feels weak and doesn’t have much of an appetite. Can I have your suggestion on the right treatment for him?

Dr Abel Soh
replied 9 months ago

Dear Rahim,

If the lump is at the lower aspect of the front of the neck, it may be a lump arising from his thyroid gland.

He will need to see a doctor for an ultrasound scan to determine the size and features of the lump.

He may also need a blood test to check his thyroid hormone levels.

Kristin answered 9 months ago

I am currently consulting an obgyn for PCOS. She mentioned I am showing symptoms of diabetes. I want to ask – does PCOS affect diabetes or diabetes affect PCOS? Would my PCOS improve if I have my diabetes controlled? What treatment would you recommend?

Dr Abel Soh
replied 9 months ago

Dear Kristin,

Women with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) have a higher risk of developing prediabetes or diabetes and high cholesterol level.

You will need to do a blood test to confirm if you have prediabetes or diabetes.

If you do have prediabetes or diabetes, starting treatment with a medication called metformin can improve both the PCOS and diabetes.

Kym answered 9 months ago

My daughter is 18 years old but has not started her period. She also seems excessively hairy on her arms, legs and neck. Is this a hormonal problem?

Dr Abel Soh
replied 9 months ago

Dear Kym,

It is very late for a girl not to have menstrual period at the age of 18 years.

Excessive hair growth in a girl may also be hormone-related and may be related to the absence of menses.

You definitely should bring your daughter to see an endocrinologist for further evaluation.

Charmaine answered 9 months ago

Is there any way to boost the growth hormones in children? My son is 7 years old and is shorter than all of his classmates. I am worried he will be too petite.

Dr Abel Soh
replied 8 months ago

Dear Charmaine,

Boys usually start to have puberty at around the ages of 12 to 13 years. They will increase in height when puberty starts.

As your son is only 7 years old currently, it is too early to tell if he will grow up shorter than normal.

I will advise continued monitoring of the percentiles of his height-for-age using the growth chart in the HPB Health Booklet.

There is unfortunately no treatment to boost growth hormone level in the body.

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