I received an interesting array of questions. Here are a few of them:
How did you come up with the idea for Hormonology?
Way back in 1999, I was combing through research for a health article I was writing when I found a study that showed heterosexual women prefer masculine-looking men during their fertile days (Week 2 of your cycle) and more feminine-looking men during other times of their cycle.
This was an amazing study because it illustrated a fascinating way our hormones impact our behavior. And not just our mood. And not simply during our premenstrual phase or during our period.
But, as surprising as this study was, I had a hunch it was only the tip of the iceberg–and if I looked, I’d find hundreds, maybe thousands, of studies that revealed how our hormones impact us in various ways throughout our entire cycle that no one ever told us about.
So, I looked for them–and I was right! For decades, researchers have been studying how hormones impact both women and men. But, the results had been hidden away in dusty medical journals overflowing with indecipherable medical jargon.
Luckily, my specialty as a health journalist is ferreting out little-known research and translating medicalese to plain English. And then I show readers how to make practical use of this great information in their day to day life.
So, I spent years poring over hormone studies and interviewing hormone researchers. And in 2005 wrote about it in my first book, 28 Days: What Your Cycle Reveals about Your Love Life, Moods and Potential.
From there, I developed Hormonology tips, the daily Hormone Horoscope, my Hormone Horoscope app and everything else that’s soon to come your way.
If you want to know more, you can learn about my journey to developing Hormonology here.
You’ve mentioned you currently write for a magazine. Which magazine is it?
I write the “News You Need Now” and “Recession Busters” departments in Woman’s World Magazine, the largest weekly women’s magazine in the U.S. You can see my articles in there every week. The magazine is available at virtually every newsstand and at supermarket checkouts.
What if I don’t have a “regular” cycle–can I still use the Hormone Horoscope?
Yes, you can use the Hormone Horoscope whether you have a “traditional” 28-day cycle, one that’s shorter, one that’s longer or one that varies in length from month to month.
The trick is simply to know when you ovulate. And that’s super-easy. Just follow this easy “road map to your hormones” that I made for you here.
What if I take hormone birth control?
If you take a hormone birth control with synthetic progesterone, you’ll likely notice a “flattened” hormone cycle. Meaning, you probably won’t reach the highest highs in your Week 2 that naturally cycling women reach–so you may not be super-energized, experience that incredible spike in libido and/or get those extra-revved brain skills and memory.
But, at the same time, you might not reach some of the lowest lows that naturally cycling women do–for instance during your period or premenstrually. At least while taking your active hormones. During your inactive birth control days, you experience the same hormonal plunge the rest of us do.
What’s the difference between Hormonology and the Hormone Horoscope?
Hormonology shows you how to live in sync with your monthly cycle–for instance, when to capitalize on high-energy days and make up for low-memory days. And it shows you how to overcome hormonal challenges so every day of your cycle is better.
The Hormone Horoscope is a daily reminder of how your hormones are impacting you today.
Does the Hormone Horoscope have anything to do with astrology?
No. Not even a little. The Hormone Horoscope is based solely on the ups-and-downs of the hormones in your monthly cycle.
I just use the horoscope format because it’s easy to understand and a useful way to dispense hormone information daily.
And, if I’m being perfectly honest here, I don’t believe in astrology. But, if you do, I’m a Libra with Aries rising.
Which is the week in my cycle that’s most like pregnancy?
During pregnancy, your estrogen and progesterone both rise, so the phase in your cycle that would most resemble this would be the second half of your Week 3 (Day 18 to Day 22 in a 28-day cycle). Which explains how the bloating, foggy-headedness, cravings and desire for safety are similar.
How do you come up with a new topic to write about every day?
This was one of the most popular questions, which surprised me. But, my answer is simple: There are a lot of hormone research and topics to write about!
In fact, there’s a lot more research I haven’t written about because it’s super-sexual (yes, even more explicit than the stuff I’ve already written about) so your spam filters would probably implode if I send it via email. Or it’s very specific–for instance, it focuses on certain medical disorders. Or it’s a tad too controversial–anyone remember the study that shows who you vote for in elections is impacted by where you are in your cycle? No? That’s because I didn’t write about it. I get enough hate mail–no need to stoke the fires!
Sometimes, not often, I’ll repeat a topic–but that’s only when the topic is a good one and you’d benefit from hearing it one more time. Or I’m on a serious deadline or I need a (rare) day off.
If you were a man, do you think you’d be doing Hormonology?
I don’t think if a man created Hormonology he’d be taken seriously–whether he was a health journalist or a doctor or the world’s leading expert in hormones. Even though the information is factual, I think he’d be seen as sexist and chased out of town on a three-legged donkey. Or at least have some incredibly derisive memes about him sent around social media.
Why do I say this? Well, it happened to me.
When my book, 28 Days, first came out, a few feminist bloggers wrote incredibly scathing articles about how I was single-handedly setting back womankind 100 years.
They should have called me and asked to comment on their articles. I would have helpfully informed them that men have a hormone cycle, too, and are just as impacted by it as we gals are. But, alas, these columnists were too busy icing their noses due to their knee-jerk reactions to pick up the phone.
Who are you? What’s your story?
I’m a 43-year-old health journalist who’s written health and lifestyle articles for over a couple of dozen major magazines and newspapers around the globe (including CosmoGIRL, Marie Claire and, obviously, Woman’s World) for over 15 years. I was the managing editor of Playgirl Magazine. And, before that, I wrote lifestyle pieces for lesser-known, but not any less worthy publications, including POPSmear (which, despite its title is not about cool things happening in the gyn office) and Bikini Magazine (which, again despite its title, had nothing to do with swimwear).
I’ve interviewed hundreds of leading experts in dozens of health fields, including positive psychology, natural medicine and, not too surprisingly, hormones. Maybe more surprisingly, my favorite interviewee of all is noted microbiologist Chuck Gerba, Ph.D., who taught me that sponges, phones, ATM buttons, shopping cart handles–and virtually everything else–have more grody germs on them than a toilet seat. Because of him, I carry antibacterial gel EVERWHERE. Seriously, if you see me and you need a squirt, I will always have some to share.
I’ve been married to my BFF, Douglas, for almost 18 years. He’s sweet as pie, smart as a whip and at 6’1″ he’s a full foot taller than me so he reaches all the high shelves.
I’m a 5th generation New Yorker and lived in Manhattan up until 2007 when Hubby and I packed up and moved to sunny Saint Petersburg, Florida to be close to the beach, watch gorgeous sunsets sink into the Gulf of Mexico every night and finally live in a home that’s larger than a closet.
I’m a vegetarian, love books on science, photography and autobiographies, am a devoted Tampa Bay Rays baseball fan (Go Rays!) and when not writing a health article or Hormonology tip, can be found taking photos by the beach or walking one of my three rescue dogs, Moxie, Bailey and Chili. Well, Chili walks me. But, we’re working on that.
What’s next for Hormonology?
Videos, the new book, other app stuff. Oh, and in-person appearances.
If you’ve got a question for me that wasn’t answered here, let me know–and I may answer it in a future Q & A.
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