Have you ever felt moody, angry, frustrated, depressed, or aggressive for no apparent reason? Have you noticed a decline in your energy, sex drive, confidence, or physical fitness? If you are a man over 30, you may be suffering from irritable male syndrome (IMS), a condition that can affect your health, well-being, and relationships.
Irritable male syndrome is a term used to describe mood swings and other emotional changes in men caused by hormonal fluctuations, stress, biochemical changes, and loss of male identity. IMS is often linked to low testosterone levels and high cortisol levels in men during andropause or aging. IMS can also be caused by high estrogen levels due to weight gain or other factors.
IMS can have a big impact on your relationships. It can lead to difficulty concentrating, trouble sleeping, reduced energy, lower sex drive, erectile dysfunction, and poor self-confidence. Moodiness and a change in libido can interfere with what was once a loving relationship. You may become more irritable, impatient, sarcastic, anxious, hostile, argumentative, unloving, frustrated, withdrawn, demanding, defensive, sad, or dissatisfied.
So how can you cope with IMS and improve your relationships? Here are some tips:
- Get your testosterone checked. Having your testosterone checked is a good first step toward diagnosing any mood shifts that may be due to age-related hormone changes. It can be done as part of a regular blood test that checks your cholesterol, blood sugar levels, and other markers. You may have to ask your doctor to include a check for testosterone level on the order for blood work. The level of testosterone in your blood can let your doctor learn your hormonal situation and provide possible clues to changes in your mood. Your doctor may be able to tell you more based on a physical examination and a conversation about your symptoms. Other underlying conditions could also be responsible for your symptoms.
- Consider hormone replacement therapy. If your irritable male syndrome is caused by a decrease in testosterone levels, one of the main treatment options is testosterone replacement therapy. Regular injections of a synthetic version of the hormone can often help restore vitality and other characteristics affected by declining hormone levels. However, hormone replacement therapy is not without risks and side effects. You should consult your doctor before starting any hormone treatment and monitor your health regularly.
- Make lifestyle changes. There are many things you can do to improve your mood and health without taking hormones. Some of them are:
- Eat a balanced diet that includes plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean protein, healthy fats, and water. Avoid processed foods, sugar, caffeine, alcohol, and tobacco.
- Exercise regularly. Physical activity can boost your mood, energy, fitness, and sex drive. It can also reduce stress and improve your sleep quality. Aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise most days of the week.
- Manage stress. Stress can trigger or worsen IMS symptoms. Find healthy ways to cope with stress, such as meditation, yoga, breathing exercises, hobbies, music, or humor.
- Get enough sleep. Lack of sleep can affect your mood, concentration, memory, and immune system. Try to get at least seven hours of quality sleep every night. Avoid caffeine, alcohol, nicotine, and screens before bedtime. Stick to a regular sleep schedule and create a comfortable sleeping environment.
- Seek counseling. Sometimes you may need professional help to deal with IMS and its effects on your relationships. A counselor can help you identify the causes of your mood swings and provide you with strategies to cope with them. A counselor can also help you communicate better with your partner and resolve any conflicts or issues that may arise due to IMS.
- Join a support group. You are not alone in experiencing IMS. Many men go through similar challenges and feelings as they age. Joining a support group can help you connect with other men who understand what you are going through and offer you support and advice. A support group facilitator with over 10 years of experience says: “In my line of work, I have seen firsthand how important it is for men to come together and address issues affecting them and get the support and advice they need to overcome these issues.” You can find online or offline support groups for men with IMS or related issues.
Irritable male syndrome is a real condition that can affect your health and relationships. But it does not have to ruin your life or happiness. By recognizing the symptoms of IMS and seeking help if needed, you can cope with the condition and improve your relationships.