You and your hormones. A book about the female body, contraception and changes in us
Two systems – nervous and endocrine – shape our personality. And if we readily admit the first, then the second are accustomed to leaving ourselves “out of brackets”.
We perceive hormones as something happening to us, although they are capable of changing the personality we are used to perceiving ourselves – they have a “biological” right (and mechanisms).
Evolutionary psychologist and Ph.D. Sarah Hill has been studying psychology and health for 20 years. “You and Your Hormones” is a fascinating conversation about female hormones that is based on tons of knowledge. It turns out that hormones not only affect thinking, feelings and behavior – they also affect global processes in the world. “And if it’s not cool,” writes Sarah, “I don’t know what would be cool.”
Why is it important?
For an informed choice in everything that concerns our body and health, we must be experts in ourselves and have a good understanding of the biological processes taking place in our body.
We won’t be able to figure out our own minds, brains and behavior until we figure out what processes have shaped us.
You need to understand why evolution, through natural selection, designed our brains and hormones as they are. Here is a far from complete list of processes that hormones have been coordinating recently: digestion, metabolism, sensory perception, sleep, breathing, lactation, stress, growth, development, sex, childbirth, menstrual cycle, mood and everything that happened during closed toilet doors.
This book is the starting point on the web of interdependencies between body, mind and soul. Listen to the beginning.
Why pills affect everything
Hormones define our personality. They tell you how to react, what to say, what to wish for. Under their influence, we choose a partner, plan our life and make decisions. This is why taking contraceptives is a much more serious story than many people think.
We think that the brain is permanent, but it changes greatly under the influence of hormones.
Despite the fact that hormonal pills were created for a very specific effect – to prevent ovulation and the possibility of pregnancy – they, in principle, cannot work this way. It is impossible to send a “targeted hormonal message” to one part of the body and hope that it will not affect everything else in the body.
It does not matter how the hormonal pills enter the body. Their end point is always the same – a point called Everywhere.
Hormones and political something there
The results of the research of Dr. Christina Durante did not give grounds for sweeping offensive conclusions, but many women were terribly jarred by the news, which said that hormones are involved in the formation of political something there.
Minutes after the report appeared on CNN, the Internet exploded with comments demanding that the article be removed. Probably, such a reaction should have been foreseen. Those who are not engaged in science (and there is such a whole globe minus a handful of mocked schizos) could not help but perceive the idea that hormones can somehow influence political beliefs as wildness – and it is not far from discrimination.
But the conclusions are harmless: hormones slightly incite our preferences this way and that and that way. Simply because they twist everything in the body (both female and male).
The mysterious story of vanished cortisol
Take stress. After all, he is about pleasant things too: sex, flirting and birthday are powerful stimulators of stress reactions. Cortisol plays an important role here: with its help the body understands that something important is happening.
News number 1: it turns out that birth control pills can kill the cortisol response to stress in women.
Cortisol response to the Trier stress test in women on hormonal oral contraception and in a natural cycle control group
News number 2: a weakened stress response is much worse than a strong one. This is not a liberation, like from physical education. On the contrary, faced with yet another stress, we risk simply not being able to cope.
What else is in the book
Hormonal regulation is a finely tuned and exquisite mechanism. The version of you that in this moment creates your brain, different from the one that would be formed under the influence of another set of hormones.
Our hormones are not what happens to us. We are our hormones.
The book contains a lot of non-trivial facts and studies about hormones, hormonal contraceptives and the female body:
- True stories and fun facts: from three-sexed fish to the likelihood of divorce when taking OK.
- Sex is more than sex: how our libido influences interests, aspirations and attitudes
- Why You Don’t Have to Live The Way Biology Dictates
- About hormonal deja vu
- About feminism, cis women and unconventional couples
… 300 pages about how the female body works and how hormones affect it. This is a step towards honest and frank dialogue with partners, doctors, mothers, daughters, sisters, girlfriends, and ourselves.
This book is about the history of each of us. Introspection of the body. About hormones and their effect. This book is for women and about women. For those who have little women. And for those who love women and know them.
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