Sociable

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Don’t Blame Estrogen

Over at Dr. Isis’ blog there has been much discussion about another blog on “civil argument” in the blogosphere. Isis took exception with some of the issues raised on another blog, and a commenter  to her blog suggested that the good goddess ECyclewas on the rag (OTR). She went on to apologize for her judgment being clouded by blood flowing from her vagina. She goes on to say:

“Then, just when I thought I had cleared enough of the estrogen from my girl brain to understand…”

As a female and a scientist who deals with the onset of puberty, I feel obliged to point out that estrogen cannot be the bad guy during menstruation. As shown in the diagram (which accompanies an article on faqs.org – click on the diagram to link there) estrogen levels are at their lowest during menstruation!

Estrogen rises steadily and peaks just before ovulation, with a secondary rise around day 21 when the body is thinking it might need to sustain a pregnancy. Progesterone has its big peak at that time as well. If pregnant, these hormones remain elevated; if not, they drop off and menstruation ensues.

If people want to ascribe behavioral issues associated with menstruation (AKA OTR syndrome), they cannot really blame female hormones. Perhaps it is the lack of these hormones, their withdrawl, that explains things. Perhaps it is cramps and having to carry around “protection.” Perhaps the men around us are jerks when they know they won’t get any. It is not estrogen mucking up a girly brain!

Perhaps men only see us as “logical” when estrogen peaks at ovulation and we are most likely to have sex… I will leave that exploration to another time.

I would like to point out that estrogen is a really important hormone in the central nervous system. One of the lessons we have learned from knocking-out its receptors in mice is that male neuroendocrine feedback in the brain is estrogen mediated. Seems testosterone is converted to estrogen which then signals in the brain of the male organism.

So the Big E is just as likely to be screwing up his brain as hers.

4 comments:

  1. "Perhaps men only see us as “logical” when estrogen peaks at ovulation and we are most likely to have sex… I will leave that exploration to another time."

    Oh, you tease you!
    jc

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  2. If the world was black and white, one could assume that lack of estrogen when OTR leads to women acting less like women... and more like men. No wonder we seem irrational!

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