- Men's Health & Wellness
Irritable Male Syndrome - The Male Version of P.M.S.
This is a...
The Modern Man
Well, ladies, it's finally happened...and we've only ourselves to blame. After decades of telling our men that we wanted them to be more sensitive to our needs, sharing our favorite hair stylists with them, convincing them that there was absolutely nothing wrong with being manicured, pedicured and waxed, they've taken the final step and gotten their own syndrome.
Unlike our own beloved and much maligned, PMS, however, IMS (Irritable Male Syndrome) is not confined to a single week of the month. Without treatment, it's more like having PMS 24/7 without the gratifying chocolate binge and overwhelming urge to cry during sentimental television commercials. Yes, I know...it sounds horrible, doesn't it? At least if we're caught piggying an entire pint of Häagen-Dazs, we have the luxury of blaming it on hormones even if we claimed the same excuse just the previous week. No sane man would dare question it.
What do men get?
- Erectile Dysfunction
- Flushes & Sweats
- Weight Gain
- Decreased Bone Mass
- Decreased Muscle Mass
- Decreased Libido
- Irrational Jealousy
- Suicidal thoughts
Now I understand that some of these symptoms occur naturally for the male of the species without IMS, such as being a Mr. Cranky Pants and forgetting what a laundry hamper looks like. Perhaps Prince Charming has put on a bit of extra padding because of your good cooking and every once in a while he's just too darned tired to do anything more than operate a remote control from the couch in the living room. Understand that just like our Häagen-Dazs moment, this is not IMS.
Actually, IMS can be rather serious and while I make light of it in this hub, a man displaying a large number of these symptoms should seek the advice of his doctor.
...and this was a worry?
IMS is a hormonal imbalance of testosterone. Unlike, andropause (previously known by the quaint term "mid-life crisis") IMS can strike a man at any age. According to Jed Diamond, a proponent of IMS therapy, many men experiencing IMS know that something is wrong, but because they view a fluctuation or decline in testosterone level as being rather unmanly, they simply choose to deny its existence and refuse to seek the help that they need.
Mr. Diamond points out in his book, The Irritable Male Syndrome, that while it seems perfectly normal to assume that women are hormonal and men are moved more by logic, this is far from the truth. Men are in fact just as hormonally driven as women (and in some cases more so) by hormonal cycles:
- Testosterone levels fluctuate four or five times an hour
- Testosterone levels are higher in the morning and lower at night
- Men have a monthly hormonal cycle that is unique to each man
- Testosterone levels are higher in November and lower in April
- Andropause, or male menopause, occurs in men between the ages of 40 and 55
- Hormonal changes can be related to stress
The medical community is only beginning to acknowledge this syndrome as being possible...which is pretty much how they viewed the theory of PMS when it first began to gain popularity. Fortunately, men are finding a great deal of empathy on the matter in their female counterparts, who seek to understand why a simple request like "Please pass the salt" is met with a response like "take, take, take...that's all you ever do!" We've been there, done that and have the t-shirts to prove it.
Like PMS, certain factors such as being overweight, improper diet, smoking, drinking and use of medication (whether medically necessary or for strictly recreational purposes) can exacerbate the problem. Uncontrolled stress can also lead to the more serious symptoms of IMS. Daily stressors such as work, traffic, the government can provoke feelings of uncontrolled anger and helplessness which unfortunately can make a man overly aggressive with those closest to him. Even worse, the anger can turn inward and force them to harm themselves.
Do not read if easily offended by bad language...
Personally thinking, why should anyone be miserable when there are other options? While milder symptoms of IMS can be controlled through relaxation exercises and diet modification, more serious symptoms can be treated with hormone replacement therapy. Why put your mental health, your relationships and job at risk? It all starts with recognizing the symptoms, consulting your physician and making a commitment to get help.
Still not sure if you are suffering from Irritable Male Syndrome and not Typical Male Syndrome? Feel free to discover this website and take the test.
It's not just for men, by the way. I took it for my own husband. Of course, I'm sure that things are different from his perspective, so I'm curious what his results will be.
At least one good thing has come from this information. I no longer have to put up with PMS jokes...