Hormones are your body’s chemical messengers. They travel in your bloodstream to tissues and organs. They work slowly, over time, and affect many different processes, including metabolism, sexual function, reproduction, mood and much more.
Endocrine glands, which are special groups of cells, make hormones. The major endocrine glands are the pituitary, pineal, thymus, thyroid, adrenal glands and pancreas. In addition, men produce hormones in their testes and women produce them in their ovaries.
While women’s sex hormones (estrogen and progesterone) tend to get more attention because of their relationship to the monthly cycle and to pregnancy, men’s sex hormones (primarily testosterone), are often something of an afterthought (unless a man is experiencing some form of sexual dysfunction or infertility), mostly because they don’t cycle on a monthly basis as women’s do. But interesting research about men’s changing testosterone levels in response to fatherhood shows that men’s hormones drive their brains and bodies as much as women’s. Testosterone appears to have an impact on who men are the same way that estrogen and progesterone do on women.
I assumed that since my first child was conceived so easily that conceiving a second time would be easy as pie. If anything, I was worried it would happen sooner than I would have wanted. So when over a year had passed of trying and still no sign of a positive pregnancy test, I started to wonder if it would ever happen.
Healing After the Loneliness and Heartbreak of a Miscarriage
The National Institute of Mental Health defines postpartum depression as “a mood disorder that can affect women after childbirth,” and symptoms can include “feelings of extreme sadness, anxiety, and exhaustion that may make it difficult for them to complete daily care activities for themselves or for others.” It can be difficult to diagnose in part because it can be challenging to self-determine what qualifies as “extreme” and because part of suffering from PPD means it’s even harder to reach out for help.