T Nation

Differences Between Male and Female HTPA


Given the fact that women are routinely prescribed the contraceptive pill, and that this acts in the same way as anabolic steroids do on the male HTPA, why is there such a perceived marked difference in the ability of both sexes HTPA to regain function?

Female contraceptive use is often for extended periods of time, quite often years. Yet with all that time with a suppressed HTPA, over 90 % are able to conceive normally within one year after coming off.

My thoughts on this;

Female contraceptive use is most often oral, with a short half life, so the drugs can easily clear the system. The dosage is low. I think that the chances of there being a significant biological difference between the female and male hypothalamus and pituitary is very low also.

The other major difference is testicular atrophy in male users. Perhaps long term lack of use causes problems in restarting natural testosterone production that are related to the condition of the testes. I guess in women, the sex organs are maintained by the synthetic hormones, unlike in men.

Any thoughts on this?


There is medical industry / social negative attitute towards pharmaceutical performancement enhancement in general -- by which I mean achieving an improvement in an individual who is not categorized as having a disease state -- whether this is regard to mental performance or physical performance.

E.g., while a doctor can stone an 8 year old kid into uselessness with Adderall and win only a smile from the government and the rest of the medical profession, if he prescribes 5 mg to a non-ADD adult for enhancing his job-work performance, he faces loss of his medical license and perhaps prosecution.

And even moreso for anything that could corrupt the bow-down-and-worship "sanctity of sports," or, ugh, result in more muscle.

In contrast, the Pill only impairs females, besides the intended function of greatly reducing fertility. So that is okay.


Its true, the insanity beggars belief sometimes. Its ok to impair fertility through hormonal intervention, but gain a few pounds of muscle? Only bad people do that. Forget roid rage, what about PILL RAGE. I've met plenty of women who have gone off the rails on one particular brand of contraceptive, yet been fine on others.

And the adderall situation is sick. Which bright spark came up with giving speed to kids again? Isn't that what the authorities are meant to be keeping off the streets and away from children?

Someone needs to inject some scientific common sense into politics and society in general.

I'm glad you responded Bill since I'm really interested to hear your thoughts on this? In theory, there should be little difference between HTPA's among the sexes. Would you say that female contraceptive use is just as bad for the HTPA as male steroid use? Or is there something I'm missing here? Having thought about it, the biggest difference thatI can think of between males and females is the last point I mentioned about female hormones maintaining form and function of the ovaries, whereas in males steroids do nothing similar.


Quoted for truth! Spot on.