Irritable Male Syndrome
Women get PMS and men get IMS. While it may be common knowledge that PMS is the psychological and emotional symptoms related to a woman’s menstrual cycle it is not so clear what IMS, or Irritable Male Syndrome, is. The name for the result of a drop in testosterone levels in male mammals may interfere extensively with a man's daily life, causing everything from depression and anxiety to hyper-sensitivity and anger. Jed Diamond, author of “Male Menopause,” specializes in helping men and women overcome negative outcomes of the condition. Diamond describes IMS as being similar to PMS. “IMS is related to the concurrence of stress, decrease in self-esteem, and biochemical changes that can affect a man in adolescence or middle age.” The syndrome that Diamond says can occur at any time in a man's life affects more than just the one experiencing it. The anger, or irritability associated with IMS, may be directed at women. “We can have an almost irrational need to break away and be free.... We often see our partners as the ones who are holding us back,” writes Diamond in his book. A quiz, which can be found on Diamond’s theirritablemale.com website is one way the "MenAlive" founder helps people become more aware of the condition. The quiz lists 50 questions having to do with feelings a man with IMS might experience at an extreme rate. The online quiz requires testers to rank the average amount of times certain feelings were experienced in the span of one month. Instead of trying to fight off feelings Diamond simply wants men to build an awareness, something his quiz does with a few clicks of a mouse. A warning preceding the test tells men to “let the score be a guide, not an absolute indicator that there is a problem or not a problem.” Another professional, Dr. Aimee Aubeeluck of the University of Derby in Great Britain, also studies the syndrome or, as she calls it, “male PMS.” In a 2004 study of 50 men and women, she conducted a similar test to that of Diamond's, recording the results having to do with the frequency of specific feelings occurring in a months time. The results turned out to be complementary to findings by Diamond, demonstrating the symptoms attributed to PMS as being just as frequent in men. She views awareness as a crucial part in the solution to a condition that she refers to as being largely unknown. “This study is very exciting as it not only raises issues in terms of health implications for women who find themselves stereotyped as having PMS but also for men who may be suffering from cyclical changes that are left undiagnosed or untreated due to a lack of recognition,” said Aubeeluck. She suggests that this evidence might also be a factor proving the notion that PMS in women is something that isn’t as uncontrollable as commonly assumed. However, Criminologist Dr Patricia Easteal of the Australian National University mentions PMS in women in her 2001 book "Less Than Equal." She links the energy given off by women experiencing PMS as being contagious in their male partner. Though she doesn’t support the notion of IMS she does label the experience of being around someone who is experiencing hormonal changes as an uncomfortable one. “If you're a man living with a woman who has a very clear mood cycle then it’s inevitable you’re going to be affected by that, but it doesn't mean you have PMS,” she said.