The Lighter Side of Gender and Hormones.

The Lighter Side of Gender and Hormones.

Perceptions about hormones, remotes and phones.

Understanding the differences between men and women has everything to do with the hormones produced in our bodies, and nothing to do with stereotype differences; despite the endless gender jokes we are subjected to.  In other words, there IS a reason why we act like we do.

In today’s world, the word ‘estrogen’ is automatically linked to women and mood swings; in addition to being the perceived culprit of depression and anxiety.  Women’s hormonal changes during their cycles were the reason why women were not included in clinical trials until 1993.

Men, on the other hand, are directly associated with the word ‘testosterone’. Drive, competitiveness, gender expectations and what seems to be a ‘simple solution’ to pretty much every problem appears to be testosterone-based.

So the next time we are facing ‘difficulties’ with our significant other, remember that there IS a reason why we act like we do: hormones.  Below the differences between men and women when talking about behaviors related to hormones.


A man’s guide to understanding women and the phone.

As women approach menopause, they will forget things.  It is not a matter of being a ‘scatterbrain’, it’s a matter of estrogen.

Understand that as women approach menopause, night sweats equal several pajama changes at night and a bad mood in the morning.  Which means that men might go through menopause as well… vicariously, of course!

She doesn’t forget your name on purpose.  Research has shown that during perimenopause a woman’s brain might get foggy.  But they do have hope.  Perimenopause comes to menopause, comes to being crystal sharp! The night sweats diminish or disappear and normalcy reigns!  In the meantime, here are two words two remember:  Hormone Therapy.

Did you know that when women are looking for their significant other, the characteristics they see will depend on their menstrual cycle?  Two words: be nice.

Oxytocin, the “feel good hormone” is responsible for women’s “tending and befriending” for support when facing stress.  The lack of oxytocin in women might be hazardous to men’s health.  Research showed that depriving female mice from oxytocin made them extremely aggressive. Thank you oxytocin! And again, be nice.

Graphic ob hormone in brain scrambleThis is the way women approach issues.    Although it might seem a ‘long way’ to reach the solution to any given problem, it is the only way they know how to.  It is not conditioned training; again, it’s hormones.

Women today are used to multitasking — and expect to do so; they are unable to put life events into boxes.  It is impossible for them to separate the children from what they get fed, from what they will wear and if they are safe, for example.

Women have different stressors.  Just think back to Thanksgiving, Hanukah, Christmas, Passover, Easter… the list is never ending!  Heart pounding yet?  It is because women are three times more likely to develop health issues related to stress than men or, at least, three times more likely to report them. Depression and anxiety are just two examples.

Contrary to men, women tend to share their emotions as a means to relieve stress, and nurture others who are facing stress -thus the term ‘tend and befriend’.  The preferred tool? The phone.   Keep the lines open!  And most importantly, practice your patience!

A woman’s guide to understanding men and the remote control

It is NOT the remote OR the couch.  Even though it seems that men increase their testosterone levels according to the time they spend on the couch clutching THEIR remote control, men actually produce testosterone while sleeping, specifically during their REM sleep.  Postpone the honey-do list and let them sleep, for crying out loud!

Testosterone is a guy thing, along with the remote… Not that women don’t produce it, they just do at lower levels.

Testosterone to men equals power; that same power that makes women fall in love with them.  By the way, hormones also play a role in our feelings of power.  If you haven’t seen the Ted Talk presentation by Dr. Cuddy on Positions of Power, you can do so HERE.

Fix it or forget it!  Men tend to fix things.  Period.  Don’t ask them not to. When wanting someone to listen, be prepared for the one-sentence-fixer to your problems, and do not expect a hug.

graphic of hormone organized in brainMen have the superpower of putting an issue aside. They have the ability to compartmentalize — more like having ‘boxes’ in their brain. The idea, although foreign to women, is quite understandable! In today’s terminology, the phrase coined back in the 30’s –‘fight or flight’– speaks to the manner in which men manage their stress.  Notice the boxes do not touch each other? Don’t try to make him correlate the kids’ soccer practice with dinner or with the football uniforms.  Won’t happen. They are just wired like that.

Men produce lower levels of oxytocin and higher levels of cortisol and adrenaline when facing stress.  They will ‘fight or flight’, NOT compromise!

The truth is that hormones are not a laughing matter.  The lack of a hormonal balance can have severe consequences to our health.  Addressing our differences is a humorous way can help create awareness on the delicate balance of hormones and the repercussions of not addressing hormonal issues effectively and in a timely matter.   As always, consult with your physician if you suspect anything is wrong.



About the Doris A. Howell Foundation:

The Doris A. Howell Foundation for Women’s Health Research is committed to keeping the women we love healthy, advancing women’s health through research and educating women to be catalysts for improving family health in the community.

The organization does so by funding scholarships to students researching issues affecting women’s health; providing a forum for medical experts, scientists, doctors, and researchers to convey timely information on topics relevant to women’s health and the health of their families through its Lecture and Evening Series, and by funding research initiatives that improve the health of under-served women and increase awareness and advocacy in the community. 


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