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 Brain, do 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.