Male PMS: The Irritable Male Syndrome

Male PMS? That sounds absurd because it is simply unacceptable to talk about a premenstrual syndrome in men.

Menstruation indirectly affects men, because they could be affected by
any menstrual disorder affecting a loved one. But does this still
warrant such a description as PMS in men?

Is It True?

Male PMS is simply a colloquial term that describes an increasingly
recognised medical condition called the Irritable Male Syndrome(IMS) or
the Irritable Men Syndrome. It sounds like the Irritable Bowel Syndrome
but it is not. PMS in male is not a medical description but a term used
commonly among non-professionals in common usage to refer to a male
counterpart of the female premenstrual syndrome.

Irritable Male Syndrome is state of emotional and behavioral symptoms
such as hypersensitivity, anxiety, frustration, and anger that occur in
males and associated with hormonal fluctuations and stress.

Note these

  1. It has no monthly occurrence as occurs in PMS. It may follow a rhythm of stress but not a predictable monthly pattern.
  2. It is not related to menstruation of any female around!

Is It Common?

The real occurrence of this syndrome may not be apparent now because
of identification issues. Many people in the first place may not simply
identify the cause of the emotional symptoms they are having.Many of the
symptoms of this male PMS have been described in different percentages
of men- about 46% of some men have reported persistent stress, 55% have a
strong fear of failure and 40% report sexual dissatisfaction.

is even more disturbing is that this syndrome may be causing
significant problems in relationships and yet not be identified.

History of IMS

The irritable male syndrome was first noted in sheep by a Scotish
Doctor, Dr. Gerald Lincoln. He noted fluctuating levels of male sheep
testosterone and concomitant behavioral changes.

A recent book by
Jed Diamond, “The Irritable Male Syndrome: Managing the Four Key Causes
of Aggression and Depression” is one of the first books to be published
on this subject and tries to increase awareness of this condition
among men and clinicians about this condition.

What Are The Symptoms?

The issue about men experiencing the so-called male PMS is that
these men are often in denial. It is often difficult for men to identify
with behavioral changes associated with hormonal fluctuations which are
known to be ‘female issues’.

Symptoms may vary within the day,
worst in the morning and tapering off latter in the day as the levels of
the hormone testosterone similarly vary. They do not follow a
predictable monthly pattern as female PMS.

Men suffering from IMS may be

  • hypersensitive
  • Angry
  • Sarcastic
  • Impatient
  • Hostile
  • Unloving
  • Withdrawn
  • Tense
  • Demanding
  • Argumentative
  • Defensive
  • Dissatisfied
  • Sad

that not every one of these symptoms need to be present for the
diagnosis. If your husband begins to display a combination of such
symptoms, please do consider luring him to consult a physician. He could
be having this treatable syndrome!


Basically, IMS is related to diminished levels of testosterone in
blood. As female hormones make women the female they are, so
testosterone makes men the male they are. Therefore, reduced levels of
testosterone will alter a man’s behavior.

Note these about the hormones of IMS

  1. Men’s testosterone, varies and goes up and down four or five times an hour.
  2. There are daily cycles with testosterone being higher in the morning and lower at night.
  3. Elevated levels of stress hormones like cortisol may also play a role in the origin of this condition.

normal variation does not cause symptoms. Some external factor usually
precipitates symptoms. The most significant factor is stress.

Others include

  1. Certain medications can interfere with the production and/or function of testosterone.
  2. IllnessesPoor diet
  3. Excessive alcohol
  4. Surgery
  5. Lack of sleep

Diagnosis and Treatment

All that is required for you,if you suspect that your man may be
having this syndrome, is to seek medical evaluation. By clinical and
laboratory evaluations, a Physician can make the diagnosis certain and
institute the right treatment.

Essentially, treatment will consist of lifestyle issues like diet and exercise, coupled with hormone replacement therapy.

Home Issues

The Male PMS may be causing havoc in many marriages and yet not be
identified. Of course little knowledge of this condition contributes to
this state. You may want to look at the book below by Jed Diamond if you
suspect this syndrome may be ruining your relationships, past or

Resources For Further Reading

Below are two resources from Jed Diamond, an expert in this syndrome,
that will be of help to you or someone who may be suffering from this

  1. The Irritable Male Syndrome: Understanding and Managing the 4 Key Causes of Depression and AggressionThis book broadens your understanding of two core troubling symptoms of this syndrome.
  2. Mr. Mean: Saving Your Relationship from the Irritable Male SyndromeThis book is a must read if you suspect your relationships may be under the hurtful influence of IMS.

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