Planet Estrogen: Hormone Therapy, Training and Diet

This entry is part 1 of 3 in the series Planet Estrogen

A common concern amongst many women is how their hormones affect their exercise training and diet. Women’s bodies are influenced by fluctuations in hormones not only throughout the normal monthly reproductive cycle, but also throughout their entire lives. Both men and women experience a significant change in hormones at the onset of puberty and sexual maturation. For the remainder of their lives, men normally have less significant fluctuations in their sex hormone levels until approaching middle age. Studies document a gradual decline in sex hormones past the age of 40 years. Women, however, may see great fluctuations in sex hormone levels throughout their adult lives depending on physiological state, contraceptive methods, and menopause. [Read more…]

Planet Estrogen Part 2: Apples and Pears

This entry is part 2 of 3 in the series Planet Estrogen

“At the same time that hormones challenge the pubertal brain, they change the body. A girl’s high estrogen content helps in the deposition of body fat on the breasts, hips, thighs and buttocks, subcutaneously, everywhere. Because of estrogen and auxiliary hormones, women have more body fat than men…..We can look at the deposition of body fat that comes with womanhood and say it’s natural for girls to fatten up when they mature, but what ‘natural’ means is subject to cultural definition, and our culture still hasn’t figured out how to handle fat.” –Natalie Angier1 [Read more…]

Planet Estrogen Part 3: The Menstrual Cycle and Athletic Performance

This entry is part 3 of 3 in the series Planet Estrogen

While the participation of women in sports has increased significantly over the last several decades, research of women in sports has lagged behind that of men. This is particularly true in matters related to reproduction and menstruation. Up until even recent years, women were cautioned not to partake in sports while pregnant or during menstruation because exercise during these times was thought to be detrimental to a woman’s health. While there certainly are precautions recommended for pregnant women, recent studies show that modified participation in exercise and sports activities is beneficial. As well, menstruation has become less of a roadblock in achieving sports goals for women. Nevertheless, there is still much we do not understand regarding women and gynecological issues. [Read more…]