Women’s health is not just about periods and reproduction. It’s about health in general for half the humans on earth.
Until now, we’ve assumed that, apart from reproduction, women’s health is just like men’s health (ie. that men’s health is general health). That’s why medical and nutritional research has been done almost exclusively on men and then extrapolated to women. Any sex differences were assumed to relate solely to breasts and reproductive organs, and that approach was called “bikini medicine”.
The days of bikini medicine are numbered because women’s health is not just like men’s health. Women are different and have different requirements in every aspect of health including mood, sleep, metabolism, exercise, microbiome, and more.
“Women are not small men.” ~ Stacy Sims, author of the book Roar.
Going forward, every medical or nutritional question we ask, we’re going to ask for both sexes. One cardiovascular researcher put it this way:
“My hope is that at the end of every talk I go to, I won’t have to raise my hand and say, ‘That’s great, but did you look at the differences between men and women?’ It will be standard practice.”
Let’s start by routinely considering a woman’s body as if it is the standard model of a normal human body. And let’s consider women’s hormones as if they are a standard, essential part of human physiology (and not something to be switched off with hormonal birth control).
Are you a woman or a man who gives health advice to women? I’d love to hear your thoughts.