According to Jed Diamond, psychotherapist and best-selling author of The Irritable Male Syndrome and Male Menopause, the irritable male syndrome is defined as "a state of hypersensitivity, anxiety, frustration, and anger that occurs in males and is associated with biochemical changes, hormonal fluctuations, stress, and loss of male identity."
IMS is the psychological, physiological, and chemical changes that occur in all men around the age of 40-55 years. This syndrome is also sometimes referred to as the male menopause, andropause, or midlife crisis. IMS can cause a number of mood swings, ranging from happy to sad, lethargic to full of energy, and sensitive to irritable. These mood swings are said to be stronger than those generally seen in women. IMS has broken the myth that only women have mood swings and are emotional.
- Bouts of anger
- Flushes and sweats
- Decrease in bone mass
- Weight gain
- Defensive behavior
- Demanding nature
- Childish tantrums if demands are not met immediately
- Unloving and sarcastic nature
- Decreased libido
- Erectile dysfunction
The main reason behind IMS is a fall in the testosterone levels of the body. It is very important for individuals suffering from this problem to seek medical help, as the mood swings make them irritable and decrease their ability to see things rationally.
In addition to the above symptoms, many hormonal fluctuations also occur in a male body that affect mental, emotional, and physical health of the individual. One may also experience memory lapses and bowel problems. Men suffering from IMS also face many prostate problems, frequent urination, and low stamina. Other symptoms that result due to low testosterone levels include cold hands and feet, constipation, dry skin, and intolerance to cold temperatures.
IMS patients also suffer from many chemical and hormonal imbalances that occur in the adrenal, thyroid, pituitary glands and pancreas. The imbalance in the adrenal glands can lead to arthritis, various allergies, high blood sugar, weight gain, and sugar craving. The symptoms associated with high thyroid function are anxiety, vision changes, fatigue, hair loss, insomnia, sweating, and weight loss.
The pancreas monitor the blood sugar levels in the body, therefore, fluctuations in the pancreatic secretions may lead to high blood sugar levels, high triglycerides and cholesterol, weight gain, increased hunger, poor circulation, and type 2 diabetes. The pituitary gland is the most important gland in the body, as it regularizes the hormones in the body. If there is imbalance in the workings of this gland, the entire endocrine system goes haywire.
The symptoms that men suffering from IMS experience may not be just limited to mood swings and decrease in hormones. The changes may be subtle, causing the individual to experience a rush of emotions never expressed before. Empathy and care suddenly ooze out of him from nowhere. A simple choir song may bring tears in the eyes of a grown man suffering from IMS. There have also been situations where people suffering from IMS have suddenly opted for a change in lifestyle, bought a new sports car, or have even withdraw from society.
Men experiencing the irritable male syndrome are mostly in a state of denial. They usually find faults with everything and everyone other than themselves. Such men experiencing IMS should visit a doctor to check their hormonal levels. A hormone replacement therapy or testosterone therapy may be advised, along with a diet and fitness program, to help lower the mood swings.
It is always better to seek medical advice if one becomes angry or is frustrated with every person he meets. Irritable male syndrome is nothing to be worried about, as it is just a part of growing old.
Disclaimer: This article is for informative purposes only and does not in any way attempt to replace the advice offered by an expert on the subject.