Aren’t men always saying women are hormonal? Why do they always blame a female’s behavior on her hormones? Is there any validity to these accusations? Are relationships affected by a woman’s hormonal balance?
In order to have a healthy, successful relationship, it is imperative for a man to understand his female counterpart’s body and hormones.
While a man may think he has a grasp on the topic of women’s health and wellness, there are inarguably many things everyone can learn about female hormones.
Here are some things men need to understand about women and their health and hormones.
1. Estrogen Is Not The Only Culprit
Too many times, estrogen is the hormone to blame for a woman’s mood swings, hot flashes and sappy temperament. However, did you know that there are other hormones that should be held responsible in addition to estrogen?
While estrogen is the primary female sex hormone, there are many other hormones, such as progesterone and testosterone. That’s right. Women have levels of testosterone in their bodies, as well.
The progesterone hormone is essential to a woman’s menstrual cycle. Without progesterone, the uterus would not be able to contain a fetus, because this particular hormone supports the growth of the fetus. This hormone is also responsible for helping determine when a woman goes into labor, and even begins lactating.
Testosterone is usually thought of as a male sex hormone. However, the female body includes substantial amounts of testosterone, too. In fact, testosterone helps keep sex drives healthy, so aren’t you glad to learn your lady has some testosterone, too?
2. No Two Hormonal Women are Alike
When dating women, it’s key to understand the following concept: While all women have the same hormones, the levels of these hormones fluctuate. They are never identical in two different women.
Take a woman’s menstrual cycle, for example. One woman may complain of cramps, acne and ridiculous food cravings. However, another woman may only experience a slight discomfort for a day, only to feel nothing for the remaining six.
These levels vary so much, it’s reported that in any given year, a woman may have 50 to 400 picograms per milliliter of estrogen in their bodies. How’s that for narrowing down a number? From 50 to 400 is quite the range.
The important takeaway here is that all men should realize that women are like snowflakes. No two are alike, especially when it comes to their hormones. It’s important to be sympathetic to her particular hormones and acknowledge that she is not over exaggerating.
3. PMS Can Be a Big Deal
Speaking of acknowledging that she is not over exaggerating, the next time she complains about premenstrual syndrome, take her seriously.
Some men are of the mindset that PMS is just an excuse for a woman to eat junk food and have a horrible attitude. However, more and more medical professionals are beginning to accept PMS as an actual medical disorder
PMS is known to bring about an array of uncomfortable symptoms such as stomach cramps, headaches, food cravings and backaches. However, exercise, healthy foods and moderate medication can help alleviate these symptoms.
If a woman you know is suffering from intolerable PMS symptoms, it’s possible that she is not experiencing PMS, but rather PMDD, a completely different diagnosis. PMDD, or premenstrual dysphoric disorder, causes severe PMS symptoms, such as anger and irritability, heavy anxiety and other serious symptoms. Medications, such as birth control pills or antidepressants, are necessary to help treat PMDD.
Again, it is important to recognize that all women are different. One woman may experience little to no symptoms of PMS, while another may suffer from PMDD’s severe symptoms. Educate yourself on the different types of PMS, and be accommodating for any woman in monthly duress.
4. All Menstrual Cycles are Different, Too
Keeping with the common theme of every woman being different brings about the topic of menstrual cycles. Just like hormones, let’s discuss how all women experience different types of menstruation.
The typical menstrual cycle should last around 28 days. However, if you have a woman in your life, then you know that this cycle is not as regulated and rigid as it implies. Wouldn’t it be nice if a woman had her period exactly every 28 days?
There would be no such thing as pregnancy scares or having to run out and buy tampons in the middle of the night. Unfortunately though, the perfect 28-day menstruation cycle is rare. Some women have significantly longer periods, while others experience very laconic, short menstruation cycles.
One of the only options when looking to regulate a menstruation cycle is consulting the use of birth control pills. While birth control pills do provide regularity, they also have a few other side effects, which should be duly noted before usage.
5. Pregnancy Makes Hormones Even Stronger
As if hormones during the menstruation cycle were not enough, pregnancy multiplies hormone levels. Certain hormones lie dormant until pregnancy. But, hormones such as HCH, Human Chorionic Gonadotropin, are made through the formation of a placenta.
Just a fun fact: This is the hormone that a pregnancy test looks for when searching for a result. During the first trimester of pregnancy, HCH levels skyrocket, which is the cause for morning sickness.
In addition to HCH, estrogen and progesterone also appear throughout pregnancy and throw hormone levels all out of balance. Estrogen helps ready the breasts for lactation, and progesterone helps allow the uterus to hold the size of the baby.
While side effects from pregnancy vary from woman to woman, pregnancies themselves can differ. A woman’s second or third pregnancy – and so on, may be quite different from the first. Most negative side effects include morning sickness, sore breasts, heartburn, and indigestion. The culprits for these negative side effects? You guessed it, hormones, of course.
6. Hormones: You Have Them Too
Just like women have certain levels of testosterone, men have female sex hormones, too. All men have varying levels of estrogen in their bodies.
Some men with certain diseases may have extreme levels, whether too high or too low. Diabetes, prostate cancer, and heart diseases are known to affect levels of estrogen in men.
Estrogen is important in the male reproductive system and is known for affect male behavior. As men age, their estrogen level increases and testosterone decreases, so it may eventually be necessary to take a progesterone supplement to help balance them out.
7. Menopause Takes Time
Men and women alike dread the thought of menopause. While infertility may be desirable for older couples, menopause comes with an array of negative side effects, of which almost everyone is aware.
Many associate menopause with being in their late thirties or early forties; however, this is just the beginning of perimenopause, which is the early stage of menopause. After this stage, women experience those dreaded side effects, of course all women’s experiences vary, for approximately one to three years.
So, if you have a woman in your life going through “the change,” be patient. The night sweats, hot flashes and heart palpitations won’t last forever. She does not want to deal with them, either. Remember that menopause can take years to subside, so bunker down, stay patient, and help your menopausal woman be more comfortable.
8. Hormones are Constantly Doing a Juggling Act
As you can infer, the balance of hormone levels is important to one’s health. For that reason, your body is in a non-stop juggling act. Men with too much estrogen can experience an increase in fat cells, causing enlarged breasts and other undesirable side effects.
Women with low estrogen levels may experience a drop in bone density and therefore become more susceptible to osteoporosis. In contrast, women with too much estrogen can become more prone to developing different types of breast cancer, so either way it is advised for women who fall into these categories to receive hormone therapy to help regulate their estrogen balances.
Unbalanced hormone levels are not unusual, but it is important to remember that both men and women have important hormones, and both sexes can experience a hormone imbalance.
9. The Relationship Between Hormones and Libido
Many people assume that as women age, their libido disappears into thin air. This is all due to a drop in hormone levels. However, while estrogen does decrease as women age, this is only one of the many reasons why her libido may get lost.
A lack of intimacy, depression, a dependency on alcohol or drugs, even prescription, are also leading factors for women with low libido. If you know a woman experiencing low libido, it’s important that you don’t assume it’s due to a lack of estrogen.
Yes, estrogen is the female sex hormone, and yes, it does dictate libido; however, a woman’s libido is dictated by many other factors, too. Lack of sleep, poor diet, illness and many other factors come into play. Talk to her and find out what’s really happening, so you can both find a solution.
10. Hormones Don’t Run Your Life – or Hers
While this list has certainly brought about the importance of maintaining healthy hormonal levels, you can’t assume that hormones dictate women’s lives – or men’s, for that matter. At times it may appear this way.
Look at all of the negative side effects women have to endure, all thanks to their hormones, like mood swings, severe cramps and pains, headaches, hot flashes, cold sweats and so much more.
The takeaway here is that men are just as reliant on their hormones as women are. Sure, women have an abundance of negative side effects, but they really don’t affect as many aspects of how women behave as you think.
The next time she blames her negative mood or food cravings on PMS, remember, hormones are only partly to blame. Ask her what is really bugging her, as well as about serious hormonal disorders, like PMDD.