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Male Hormones: An Overview

Every time you fall asleep or wake-up, every time you are angry, hungry, happy or sad, your body is responding to the same thing: hormones. Hormones are powerful messengers which generate a wide range of biological responses. They move through the bloodstream toward specifically targeted cells and in some way affect nearly all aspects of your physical and emotional well-being.

The most well known hormones are ones derived from cholesterol: steroid hormones. There are three main types of steroid hormones including: 1) estrogens (DHEA, androstenedione, testosterone) 2) glucocorticoids (cortisol, cortisone) mineralcorticoids (aldosterone) and 3) progesterone. While estrogen and progesterone are sometimes referred to as “female hormones” and testosterone as the “male” hormone, the roles of these hormones are not served solely in the reproductive systems. In fact, new research points out that these hormones play an important part in development and changes in the male and female brain.

While it is accepted for men to be more aggressive by nature, much of this “nature” proves to be, yet again, hormones. The higher the level of testosterone in men, the more aggression is typically displayed. Aggression itself can display itself in good ways; as in when it leads to assertiveness. A certain level of assertion can be helpful when conducting business, when building and solidifying relationships, and in many other steps and stages of life. However, aggression can also be displayed in a negative format; as in a violent way. While higher levels of testosterone do not prove that the man will be violent or even overly assertive, it remains a commonality. Also, when this commonality does exist, so does the likelihood that such men will be involved in violent crimes. Thus, these patterns can lead us to a greater understanding of the statistic proving that most violent crimes are committed by men.

According to the article “High Testosterone Linked to Crimes of Sex, Violence”, “James Dabbs, Jr., studied 4,462 men in 1990 and found that "the overall picture among the high-testosterone men is one of delinquency, substance abuse and a tendency toward excess." These men, he added, "have more trouble with people like teachers while they are growing up, have more sexual partners, are more likely to have gone AWOL in the service and to have used hard drugs…"

Testosterone, however is not the only factor linked with aggression. Research performed on rats, (animals that have been proven to have similar physiology to that of humans) proves that there is a strong link between increased stress and increased aggression. While this link seems extremely likely, if it can be proven, it will also prove how the ever increased stress during work-hours, at home and while driving can easily lead to an expression of aggression and even bursts of violence such as “road rage”.

Stress and cortisol have also been linked together in that they tend to make men pack on body fat around their mid-sections, contributing to the classic "apple" shape. Carrying a lot of fat around your middle puts you at increased risk for cardiac disease.

You many not be able to control your hormones but you can monitor those behaviors, such as overeating and under-exercising, which could signal a hormonal response.

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