Anyone who’s made it as far as grade-school health class knows what PMS is. And once you know about this phenomenon, you start recognizing how frequently our society refers to it. Whether it’s treated as a punchline on sitcoms or a scapegoat for undesirable actions, PMS seems to be treated as an all-purpose insult or joke.
We’re all aware that women have monthly cycles. But what about men? They have hormones too, so surely they must experience the fluctuations and consequences of these hormones running through their bodies. Yet this male cycle is something that no one talks about.
Living in a house with nothing but the male species in various stages of manhood, I may be a bit more curious about this than the average mama bear. I’m cool with that. Self-preservation is a powerful thing, and if I can arm myself with some knowledge that will help me maneuver through my everyday life, I’m in.
That being said, let’s start the conversation. Right here, right now.
Men definitely have a male hormone cycle, but it runs its course daily rather than monthly, and it’s driven by testosterone. In simple terms, male testosterone levels peak and valley throughout the day, affecting men’s moods and ability to successfully complete various tasks and activities. Sneak peek…morning is when testosterone levels are highest, meaning men feel more impulsive and focused. This is a good time for working on projects—or a little hubba hubba. 😉
So, what about the male equivalent of PMS? Having experienced PMS myself, it seems miserable to go through something like it every single day. Licensed psychotherapist Jed Diamond authored an entire book on this subject: The Irritable Male Syndrome. IMS exists, people. Pretending it doesn’t may lead to some unease in your daily life, including your relationships.
Diamond posits there are two stages in a man’s life when he’s more susceptible to the turmoil of IMS: puberty and midlife. Bigger testosterone swings during these times bring on more feelings of aggression, anxiety, and dissatisfaction. If men remain ignorant that these are natural hormonal changes, they’ll often think the cause is external—that their careers or significant others are to blame. As a result, some men believe the obvious solution is making big changes in these areas of his life. Guess what?! The hormone issues are still there.
Now that we’ve come this far, what about the male version of menopause? It stands to reason that when male reproductive hormones wane with age, men will go through changes of one kind or another. Right? But have you ever had a conversation (or even overhead one) about male menopause? I’ve never heard someone say, “Oh, he must be going through his change of life.”
The fact is, men don’t miss out on this phase either. The male version is called andropause since it kicks in once men start producing lower levels of testosterone, or androgens. The decline in hormone production is fairly gradual for men, typically starting around the age of forty. Andropause symptoms include changes in mood, physique, and libido.
Of course, just like women, men experience their cycles in different ways and to varying degrees. An overall healthy lifestyle, including a nutritious diet, movement on a regular basis, and effective stress reducers, can play a huge role in how men cope with their cycle. And when men cope better, so do the women in their lives.
Not sure where to begin looking for help with managing your male cycle? Start by talking to a Standard Process health care practitioner well-versed in a holistic approach to health and wellness.
Image from iStock/SIphotography.