Women in Perimenopause are not Crazy, Broken, or in Need of Fixin’
I’ve been reading through the book The Thyroid Solution: A Revolutionary Mind-Body Program That Will Help You, by Dr. Ridha Arem, M.D., over the past couple of weeks, as you may know if you’ve read any of my recent posts. This morning, as I skimmed through the book, stopping to read different passages which caught my attention, I read this sentence in the “Women’s Thyroid Problems” section:
“From puberty to menopause, women’s bodies and brains are influenced by continuous cycles of hormones.”
My first thought was, “Yeah, well, so are men’s.” In fact, human physiology is almost entirely modulated and governed by hormones of every stripe and type. So why is it that we always seem to talk about hormones in the feminine gender? As if women are the only ones who are affected by them? Isn’t it more accurate to say (and frankly, less offensive to me), that “Human bodies and brains are influenced by continuous cycles of hormones?”
Because that’s the truth.
And why is there always the suggestion, either explicit or implicit, that women are deficient or broken in some way, and that it is their hormones that are the cause of it? Yes, I know Dr. Arem didn’t actually say that. I’m also certain he probably didn’t mean to suggest it either. But, the implication was surely there.
It’s always there.
Perhaps I’m being too sensitive, what with my current state of acrimony as I’ve gone through one very nasty divorce the past two years. I’ll concede that perhaps I may have over-reacted just a wee bit. But not entirely.
Having fielded literally hundreds of comments at The Perimenopause Blog from men who are thoroughly convinced that every problem in their life, family, and relationships, is due entirely to their wife and her hormones; I can tell you, this attitude and belief is alive and well.
I do realize, of course, that none of this remedies the problem. My constantly asking questions or pointing it out does not provide answers either. But it’s an issue that sticks in my craw every now and then, and I just have to say something about it. To stick up for the sisterhood.
Women seem to inherently struggle with issues of insecurity and self-worth. If you don’t believe me, just follow a few social media sites where they are conversing back and forth with one another. You’ll see it. Trust me. Somewhere in the back of every woman’s mind there is a nagging belief that she just doesn’t measure up. That if she were just a bit more this, or a bit more that, she would be happier – more lovable.
So please don’t presume to tell us how our hormones affect us. We know how they affect us. But they also affect men – just in different ways. I enjoyed reading a comment recently on a social media site which humorously highlighted this fact. It was posted by a woman who was referencing the 2012 sex scandal involving the highly esteemed and regarded military General David Petraeus. She said:
“So, tell me again how women are ruled by their hormones? I’m all ears.”
Yes, please. Do tell.
Magnolia Miller is a certified healthcare consumer advocate in women's health and a women's freelance health writer and blogger at The Perimenopause Blog.