Hormones are the chemical messengers that help our body communicate and regulate our body’s processes – hunger, sleep, blood pressure etc. Science is very aware of how most of these hormones function and impact the human body. Take adrenaline, for example. It’s not always present, but when our body releases it, it’s obvious. We’ve all heard stories when people have thrown entire vehicles off themselves, people who’ve swam to shore after being bit by a shark etc. – all because of the adrenaline hormone. Everyone agrees that while it’s active, it has obvious effects on our entire body. Everyone agrees that when other hormones such as cortisol, insulin, melatonin etc. are released, they too have obvious effects!
So why, when discussing the two hormones; estrogen and progesterone, do we not consider them through this lens? Science only focuses on the way they affect the female reproductive system. Why not focus on the way they impact the rest of our body and our behaviour? Estrogen and progesterone make us grow entire organs during pregnancy... it’s foolish to think they don’t do anything other than make us ovulate or make us get our period. Your period and ovulation are only symptoms of these hormone shifts. To name a few others, changes in body temperature, BMR, production of lactic acid, hunger cues, sleep habits, energy levels, etc., are all symptoms in response to changes in estrogen and progesterone levels throughout your cycle!
One of the consequences of the work we’re doing at My Normative is that we’ll be able to extrapolate the effects of these hormones on your body across time. This adds value by helping people understand the reasons for changes in how they feel on a week to week basis. But more than that, it will help to inform data research on mental health, on why cardiovascular disease, the biggest killer in the USA, is 2x more likely to occur in women. It will inform researchers on why 2/3 of all Alzheimer’s patients are women, and finally, on why 80% of people with autoimmune diseases are women. This research has real implications on our health, on our future!
Science, Love, and Feminism!