Men often say stupid things. This is because it is very difficult for them to retain every stat about every baseball game in their brain, and also be able to think before they speak. How many vases have been thrown at boyfriends who casually state, “Are you getting your period or somethin’?” How many men have slept on the proverbial couch after tossing out a condescending, “Maybe we should discuss this in a few days??” Nothing gets under a woman’s skin more than the suggestion that her behavior or mood is related to her menstrual cycle. Let’s be honest though. Men — EARMUFFS! It does affect our emotions. We are on a roller coaster ride every month. Maybe we are looking at this all wrong. Maybe we should use it to our advantage. After all, women have literally gotten away with murder using PMS as their defense. Let’s explore just how very real the hormonal swings are – this is not a female weakness. This is simply science.
1. The major monthly hormones — There are three main hormones that fluctuate in women each month. These are estrogen, progesterone and testosterone.
2. These hormones can affect your mood, your libido, your impulse control, your cravings and your energy level. No, it is not in your imagination.
3. Each month, the hormones generally follow the same pattern. Estrogen rises during the first half of your cycle, falls after you ovulate and then rises to a lesser degree during the second half of your cycle. Testosterone mimics this but to a much lesser degree. Progesterone rises after the middle of your cycle and then falls back down before the first day of your period.
4. Great. But other than egg laying, what does that mean for your month? Higher estrogen and testosterone levels increase your energy and your clarity, and tend to encourage a happier mood. Increased estrogen may make you more talkative and more outgoing. Increased testosterone will increase your libido, your confidence and your willingness to take risks. As these drop in mid cycle, you may feel symptoms similar to PMS symptoms. Rising progesterone in the second half of your cycle will make you feel tired, decrease your desire to socialize, decrease your craving for sex and increase your craving for chocolate. Right before you get your period, all these hormones plummet. You know the rest. Irritability, sensitivity, insomnia, headaches, etc. Lovely.
5. What can you do about it? Woman are famous for our ability to just accept things. “It is what it is.” While this is true, there are a couple of things you can do to lessen the effect of your changing hormones. Don’t just lie there and take it — even when your libido is rising.
I have to leave this topic there. Today is Rosh Hashanah and my kids are off from school. They are all over me and I am feeling the guilt of being on the computer when I should be throwing a ball or reading a book or something else that will make them think I’m a good mom — I am preparing for the day when they are deciding which nursing home to put me in. More on solutions for our gender-specific problem tomorrow.