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Female vs Male Physiology

Since writing The Women’s Book I get a LOT of questions about women’s physiology.  While most are from women of course, I do get some from men.   A specific question is how much of the information in that book applies to men with low testosterone and/or elevated estrogen levels.  The answer is very little of it and to understand why I need to examine female vs male physiology.

Sex vs. Gender So I don’t Get Crucified by Jezebel

Strictly speaking, sex and gender are different.  Sex is a description of biology: testicles, penis, ovaries and such.  Gender refers to what someone identifies as sexually.  A biological male can identify as a female and a biological female may identify as a male.

In research, scientists use sex and gender interchangeably with seemingly no general preference and I will too (as I do in The Women’s Book with the same pedantic note).  I acknowledge and understand that they are NOT the same thing and it’s nothing more than a stylistic writing choice with no implication whatsoever that sex or gender are relatively more or less relevant or important than each other.… Keep Reading

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Body Fat, EA or Hormones

This is another excerpt from The Women’s Book, looking a bit at the cause of menstrual cycle dysfunction and, specifically, secondary amenorrhea.  Even more specifically it looks at the cause of that dysfunction as it occurs in exercising women.  Early theories revolved around body fat percentage although it would turn out that energy availability (EA) played a much larger role.

Some Definitions

Since this is a short excerpt from a much longer chapter, I want to define a few terms so it will make sense.

When a woman is menstruating “normally” this is called eumenorrhea (“eu” = good).  In contrast, the lack of a menstrual cycle is termed amenorrhea.

Primary amenorrhea is when the onset of menstruation (called menarche) is delayed.  As frequently as not this occurs in females involved in sports such as gymnastics, ballet, ice skating and other sports that “emphasize thinness” (as the literature puts it).  Their intense training and dieting simply delay the normal onset of menstruation.… Keep Reading