PMS: Not just for the ladies

By Nick Arhos

It can devastate a life – yet it’s hardly ever taught to young men.

Unlike girls, who are taught about PMS and learn how to deal with the fluctuating hormonal levels they have to endure every month, men don’t know how to deal with their hormonal imbalances because many aren’t even aware that they, too, have PMS.

Male PMS is called IMS – irritable male syndrome.

Now, we all know about PMS and how it can turn a sweet and beautiful girl into a drooling and raging pit bull with lipstick each month.

It’s also important to learn about IMS and try to prevent the devastating impact it can have on one’s life and family if unchecked.

Patrick Dickinson cites well-known urologist Larrian Gillespie in his article on

According to Gillespie, IMS is caused from a lowered testosterone level and/or an increased estradiol (usable form of estrogen) level.

Diet, environmental factors and stress trigger the drop of one’s testosterone level.

Interestingly, IMS can, in many respects, be worse than PMS.

“Men’s hormones pulsate hourly, compared with every 28 days for women,” Dickinson said.

IMS, unlike PMS, can occur at any time.

So hormone imbalances in men are more dramatic than in women.

That’s why men can be fine for one hour and cranky the next – all the time.

Dickinson lists other symptoms of IMS such as exhaustion, unexplained weight changes, snoring, bone loss, impaired thyroid function, skin problems, loss of muscle or stamina, softer erections and of course, irritability.

Denise Mann, of “Woman’s World,” wrote in a Feb. 12 article for WebMD that depression, fatigue, loss of sexual drive and hot flashes are also symptoms of IMS.

Indeed, if the symptoms of IMS sound bad, the effect it can have on relationships is much worse.

IMS can be “very confusing” because men “don’t know what’s going on inside them,” Mann said.

In situations when men who suffer from IMS are supposed to feel romantic and physically intimate, they just don’t.

Mann cites a study of 10,000 men in which 46 percent say they are almost always stressed, 55 percent say they often or almost always have a strong fear of failure and 40 percent report they are rarely or never sexually satisfied.

These are the kinds of sentiments that germinate into divorce, suicide and other problems. They literally destroy lives.

So Mann quotes Gillespie on ways to keep testosterone levels boosted. This includes avoiding white bread and high-glycemic carbs, consuming lean meat, vegetables and whole grains and exercising 30 to 40 minutes daily. Applying testosterone creams also may be beneficial.

IMS, like PMS, is a dreadful reality – and actually may be even worse than PMS.

So, guys, ask yourself: “Am I IMS-ing?”

Because men must acknowledge and stand up to IMS before it hurts them and the relationships they’ve built over a lifetime.

Columns reflect the opinion of the author and not necessarily that of the Northern Star staff.