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Male vs Female Hormonal Cycle

It’s no secret that womxn have a monthly cycle. In that cycle, there are two main hormones, estrogen & progesterone, which are highest at different points throughout the cycle. These hormones have different roles and effects on the body. For example, when a woman is about 7-14 days into her cycle, her estrogen levels are highest and therefore she will feel the most sexy, vital, energetic and creative. Nature designed us this way so we would want to reproduce as we gear up for ovulation. Once a woman ovulates, progesterone becomes the dominant hormone, which makes us feel more calm and tired. Hence, why womxn tend to have less energy and feel the need to go inward during phase of the month.

Men, on the other hand, have a daily cycle where there is one prominent hormone, testosterone, that fluctuates throughout the day. Testosterone is highest for men in the morning and slowly drops as the day goes on. Knowing this, it’s easy to see why men experience less highs and lows, mood wise, throughout the month.

I like to use the analogy that women hormones are like a big wave that builds and crashes over a month’s time. Where men’s hormones are like a ripple, with smaller buildups and drops that happen each day.

Of course our hormones are not fixed as we are not robots. Certain imbalances or events like stress, travel or illness can throw off anyone’s hormones. And age causes a decline in estrogen for womxn and testosterone for men.

It’s really quite basic, yet if more people understood how men & women differ hormonally on a fundamental basis, there would be less judgement and shame around the way we perform each month.

On big problem that I see in society is that regardless of how we are biologically engineered, we are required to show up for work and perform the same each day. This system favors biological-males as their hormones are constant. Whereas biological females feel vastly different throughout the month (as they should). Yet, we are frequently shamed for being extra tired or “PMS” like before our menstrual cycle. Or, for example, we are expected to work and perform as usual while we bleed, when really, we should be resting.

The solution so far has been to give womxn hormonal birth control, which in many cases gives them the same amount of estrogen and progesterone each day so they feel more even, like men. This completely overrides natures design and stops a womxn from ovulating (and thus experiencing the hormonal wave they are designed to experience) completely.

The better solution, however, would be to respect and honor the way nature designed us all and adapt the workspace to meet the needs of all people. For womxn, this would look more like working from home on bleeding days and scheduling presentations or big important meetings on days when their estrogen is gearing up for ovulation. If you work for yourself, you can design your work weeks accordingly, but a conventional job, most likely you cannot.

One thing we all can do right now is start celebrating our differences as men and womxn. Men have the wonderful gift of being even keel throughout the month which provides a steadiness that is very complimentary to the dynamic flow of womxn's existence. We can't argue with nature's intelligence. This also includes a massive cultural shift away that I truly believe is happening away from shaming womxn for their highs and lows, and especially for the fact that they bleed. I am already teaching my son to respect my need to rest and pick him up less when I’m bleeding. I have no shame in discussing and showing him, that I am bleeding so he understands this is normal and not something that needs to be hidden. His dad is also demonstrating to him that this is actually a time he needs to be more sweet and helpful to me because I might be uncomfortable or tired.

We must take personal responsibility for the visions we hope for. Small steps in the right direction are really a cause for celebration. I see things shifting and I am proud to be part of the conversation.

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1 Comment

Thank you Dr Elizabeth

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