Do you think men go through PMS? “Yes”, says Chennai-based Dr. Rohini Rau. “Although men don’t have uteruses, instead of PMS (Pre-menstrual Stress) they go through IMS (Irritable Male Syndrome) This is caused when there is a drop in the Male hormone – testosterone”, she says.
Unlike women, men do not go through a specific monthly hormonal cycle. But testosterone levels can rise and fall, throughout the course of the day too.
Let’s talk about this Irritable Male Syndrome
According to NCBI (National Center for Biotechnology Information), “The irritable male syndrome (IMS) is a behavioral state of nervousness, irritability, lethargy and depression that occurs in adult male mammals following withdrawal of testosterone.”
Men above 35 years of age can experience symptoms like hypersensitivity, frustration, anxiety, and anger which can be associated with biochemical changes, hormonal fluctuations, stress, and loss of libido.
“So there are certain times when the hormone levels drop and there is an increase in stress levels”, Says Dr. Rohini. “These trigger a lot of mood swings, grumpiness, loss of sexual desire or frustration and general irritability. A lot of the time men are misunderstood because of this”.
Men can experience these sort unexplainable cyclical symptoms
Maybe as a woman have you noticed this in your partner. As men age, they get moodier, more irritable, and easily frustrated. The called Andropause or ‘Male Menopause’, was coined by Jed Diamond.
Irritable Male Syndrome, is the term coined by Dr.Lincoln, working at the Medical Research Council’s Human Reproductive Sciences Unit, in Edinburgh, Scotland.
Not only humans but other male mammals that have well-defined mating cycles like rams, deer, elephants, etc also experience a drop in testosterone levels in sexual symptoms, like low libido, poor sexual performance, and erectile dysfunction. Obesity and high cholesterol is one of the reasons for low testosterone. Other causes for IMS include changes in brain chemistry associated at times with a high protein and low carbohydrates, chronic stress, and unhealthy and out of balance environmental living conditions and lifestyles.
Having said this, high levels of testosterone can also produce anger and rage in men, but is rare, and common in male athletes who use anabolic steroids to increase muscle mass.
What can you do to cope?
Male irritability and anger are both contributing factors to male depression. If low testosterone affects the quality of life, hormone therapy can be tried. The treatment can help to improve the mood changes.
However, taking care of overall health is the best way to manage this. Diet, exercise, weight control, abstaining from smoking or drinking helps in the long term. Looking after one’s mental health and getting adequate sleep can help lower cortisol and stress levels.
“Be understanding, make sure to give in to your cravings, if you feel lethargic take some time off and stay in. Talk about your feelings, maybe offer him a tub of ice cream or a fun night”, suggests Dr. Rohini.
It is important to be aware of IMS and women should try and be understanding during this time as this can take a toll on relationships. “Awareness is only the beginning! You also need to take care of yourself! Start by living a healthy lifestyle”.