Menopause, Marriage, & The Male Brain

by Magnolia on March 5, 2014

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Dr. Louann Brizendine is a doctor of psychiatry and neurobiology.  She is the founder and director of the Women’s Mood and Hormone Clinic in San Francisco, California. She is also the author of the books The Female Brain and The Male Brain.  

I have referenced  The Female Brain  here many times, because in my opinion, it is one of the best books I’ve ever come across which describes exactly how hormones affect a woman’s body, her development, her brain, and her behavior.

I first discovered Dr. Brizendine’s books while searching for information that might help explain why so many women reach perimenopause and menopause, decide they no longer want to be married – often after very long marriages – and either begin talking about leaving their marriage, or  actually file for divorce.

It was Dr. Christiane Northrup, author of The Wisdom of Menopause who first made me aware of this phenomenon.  But it was Dr. Brizendine’s work which explained it more fully.  If you haven’t read The Female Braindo yourself a favor and pick up a copy. It’s an easy read and you won’t find a better book on the subject in my opinion.

That said, I ready to begin the a new series on the topic of perimenopause, menopause, and marriage.  It is a topic that never seems to grow old.  My posts on “How to Help Your Wife in Perimenopause” continue to draw considerable traffic, which tells me it is a topic of great concern to my readers, and which is also not getting adequately addressed.

In the past, I have attempted to explain to my male readers how hormones affect women, in the hopes that it might enable them to not only understand their wives more, but to also realize that women are not choosing to experience perimenopause symptoms.  That is, contrary to how it may appear, women do not get up every day and make a conscious decision to have mood swings, a crashing libido, depression, vaginal dryness, hot flashes and night sweats, and erratic menstrual cycles.

These symptoms, like many other functions in both the male and female bodies, are the direct result of hormones, and more specifically, hormone imbalance during perimenopause.

While many men seem perfectly willing to accept that this may be true in the abstract.  They aren’t always so willing to accept this when it is their own wife or partner who might be experiencing the symptoms.  Particularly if she is exhibiting severe mood swings where he is the target of her hormonal wrath.

Diminishing sex drive and loss of libido is another area men have a difficult time accepting that it is not a woman’s choice. Far too many of them think  if their wife or partner is lagging in sexual desire, it is a commentary on their worth as a husband or a man.  Rather, rather than the result of fluctuating estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone during perimenopause.

Some of my male readers have been honest enough to admit that they did take their wive’s perimenopause symptoms personally, and sincerely wanted to look at it from a different angle.  Others, however remain impervious to any explanation other than their own ill founded belief that “she’s doing it on purpose.”

In light of this, I’m thinking it is time to present this issue from an entirely different point of view altogether. Perhaps if I can demonstrate to my male readers that their behavior and attitudes are also largely directed and influenced by hormones, then perhaps they might be able to better understand the behavior and symptoms of their wife and partner.

Will I succeed in convincing the masses?  Probably not.  But, for those men who are sincere in their efforts to understand perimenopause and how it is affecting their wives or partner, I feel certain they will find these posts of value.

We will begin with Chapter One in The Male Brain, entitled “The Boy Brain” in the next post.


Symptoms of Perimenopause Symptoms of Menopause

I thought it would be appropriate – and helpful – to follow up on a recent post I did on the difference between perimenopause and menopause and provide a list of the symptoms associated with each. Though the terms are often (and I’m guilty of the same) used interchangeably, they are not the same thing. Perimenopause is a transitional [...]

November 17, 2013 CONTINUE READING →

Viniyoga for Anxiety & Depression in Perimenopause

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This past weekend we had a lively discussion on Facebook on the topic of anxiety and depression in perimenopause. There’s a reason for that, too. It’s a huge problem for women in perimenopause. Right up there next to the, “I think I’m going crazy” symptom of perimenopause. Which is probably why the only solutions the medical community seems to have [...]

August 28, 2013 CONTINUE READING →

Hypothyroidism, Health & Happiness: The Riddle of Illness Revealed

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It’s been hard for me to move away from this topic. Primarily because physicians like Dr. Hotze, and other healthcare providers, whom I respect, continue to address it. But, also because I think they are shining a necessary light on the issue of faulty testing procedures for hypothyroidism. Of course, the baby-boomer-rebel in me is [...]

August 16, 2013 CONTINUE READING →

Why do I feel like I’m Going Crazy in Perimenopause?

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It is the most common thing I hear from women regarding perimenopause. “I feel like I’m going crazy! What is wrong with me?” And there are a variety of reasons why women might feel this way too. Personally, I think the primary reason is the simple “craziness” of perimenopause in general. The wacky mood swings, [...]


Estrogen Replacement Therapy: Yes or No?

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Let’s face it.  The average women does not understand the role of estrogen during perimenopause.  But, when the average OB/GYN doesn’t seem to understand it very well either, is it any surprise then that women looking for help for their symptoms of perimenopause are clueless? It also doesn’t help that there is a big, wide [...]

April 3, 2013 CONTINUE READING →

Depression in Perimenopause: Beat it With Exercise and Light

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We’re still on the topic of depression in perimenopause for the month of March. Heretofore, we’ve discussed dietary changes to include foods which provide the chemical building blocks, so to speak, for your body to produce serotonin, a natural mood regulator. But food alone is not enough to beat the blues of depression in perimenopause. Exercise and exposure to light [...]

March 25, 2013 CONTINUE READING →

Depression in Perimenopause: Let’s Eat Some More!

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If you’re anything like me and you love to eat, then you were probably positively delighted to learn from my last post that you can eat your way out of depression. You will also be delighted to know that this post is about eating, too. Yes indeed, meno-sisters, it is hail to the knife and fork [...]

March 19, 2013 CONTINUE READING →

Depression in Perimenopause: Eat Your Way Out of It

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You have to admit. Eating your way out of anything just can’t be bad. Especially if it can help you manage health challenges like depression in perimenopause – and it will. In my last post I told you there is a direct correlation between a woman’sestrogen levels and the serotonin levels in her brain. I also told you that serotonin [...]

March 17, 2013 CONTINUE READING →

What Causes Depression in Perimenopause?

Depression in perimenopause is the blogging topic for March here at The Perimenopause Blog. I hope my writing extensively on these topics for an entire month is helpful for you. As I’ve said previously, the typical 500-600 word blog post just doesn’t lend itself to a thorough discussion on a particular topic in my view. Hence, my decision [...]

March 4, 2013 CONTINUE READING →

You’re Not Crazy, Honey, It’s Perimenopause!

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Today’s post is a letter I received recently from a reader.  Her story is typical and so it was something I wanted to share with you all in hopes that it will help you feel a little better about your journey through perimenopause.  Kathleen’s symptoms are not unique.   Her experience in trying to get [...]

March 1, 2013 CONTINUE READING →