The Female Brain

AOL Health

By Michelle Burford Aug 26th 2010 3:00PM

She’s a contradiction in heels: fearless one day, weepy another and keenly intuitive every day in between. Dr. Louanne Brizendine, author of “The Female Brain” and founder of The Women’s Mood and Hormone Clinic in San Francisco, says that a woman’s unique hardwiring and hormonal makeup can turn her into a different creature with every passing day and decade. Here are six things men should know about how women’s minds work.

She’s not being rude when she cuts you off.
Pair two gal pals over brunch together, and even without a mimosa in hand, they’ll usually create an immediate gabfest in which they’ll complete each other’s sentences. “When females talk to each other,” says Brizendine, “they often engage in overlapping speech. But when a woman interrupts her man, it can shut him down.” The point: While we should voice and respect one another’s communication needs, Brizendine encourages men to not take this female habit too personally. There’s no hormonal cause for this tendency, says Brizendine, but, she adds, “Scientists believe it has to do with a difference in our brains” (women’s brains usually process language rapidly) and in our socializations (it’s socially acceptable for women to openly share their emotions with one another).

Her focus shifts during the final part of her pregnancy
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While she’s pregnant, a woman goes on a roller coaster of emotional and physiological changes — from a brain that can become up to 4 percent smaller to progesterone increases that make her feel exhausted during the first trimester. But there’s an oft-overlooked change that occurs about one month before delivery: “A woman starts some nesting behavior — she prepares the baby room, the bassinet, the clothing,” Brizendine says. It is a particular mix of progesterone and estrogen in the final stage of pregnancy that causes this shift in mothers — “and when men start feeling a little left out,” adds Brizendine, “they should remember that it’s a natural hormonal response.”

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Author: Leslie Carol Botha

Author, publisher, radio talk show host and internationally recognized expert on women's hormone cycles. Social/political activist on Gardasil the HPV vaccine for adolescent girls. Co-author of "Understanding Your Mood, Mind and Hormone Cycle." Honorary advisory board member for the Foundation for the Study of Cycles and member of the Society for Menstrual Cycle Research.