You may wonder if a man period is real, or if this is just another way to limit the differences between the two sexes. Will this label give men an excuse to be grumpy? Or, will it give you a better understanding of how to help him deal with his intense emotions?
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While men do not prepare a uterus for an egg, nor do they bleed from their private parts, some men do experience monthly mood swings. This man period does not appear to be an urban myth and if you are in an intimate relationship with a man, or plan to be in the future, your understanding of his emotional cycles is just as important as his understanding of your monthly mood swings.
Women menstruate once every 28 to 31 days. This cycle follows the cycle of the moon and is part of the natural process of life. It isn’t unrealistic to think that men’s moods can fluctuate based on the moon as well. After all, the moon has a dramatic pull on the ocean’s tides, so it can affect all of human nature.
Not all men are comfortable experiencing or explaining their emotional mood changes. These changes can feel like depression, sadness, anxiety, irritability or anger. According to the University of Minnesota, men and women experience depression in different ways.
If you don’t think your man is depressed, look for restlessness or anger instead. Women are more likely to show depression as sadness or guilt, so your man’s period symptoms may not resemble your own because of how he’s been socialized. This difference is key to understanding men,
Both men and women have testosterone and estrogen. Men have a higher level of testosterone and women have more estrogen. Male’s testosterone levels fluctuate throughout the day. This level changes based on sexual activity, exercise, food and sleep. A fluctuation is testosterone can affect a man’s mood.
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Too much estrogen in a man also changes his emotional state. An increase in estrogen may leave a man feeling anxious, depressed or irritable. In other words, he may be experiencing a man period. One way a man’s estrogen levels are increased is with excess weight. Jed Diamond, who created the term “irritable male syndrome”, explains that fat cells more readily convert testosterone into estrogen. The more estrogen a man has, the more irritable he is.
Many middle-aged men go through a natural dip in testosterone known as andropause because testosterone is an androgen. This can result in symptoms similar to menopause in addition to a decrease in sex drive. When hormones are at play, it may take more than foreplay to get your man in the mood. You may find yourself struggling to build chemistry. Tips here.
Irritable Male Syndrome
If you think you man is having a man period and seems to experience mood swings on a cyclical basis, consider asking your partner to answer honestly if he has experienced the following feelings throughout the past month, mostly, frequently, sometimes or not at all:
Aside from looking for those moods, you can ask yourself a few questions about your man’s behavior.
- Is your man concerned with his emotional stability?
- Do his mood swings affect your relationship or his family?
- Is your man concerned with his anger and depression?
- Does your man’s sadness affect your relationship?
Your partner may not be ready to discuss his emotions or the regularity of his mood swings, but if these changes are having an effect on your relationship, try to find a low-stress time to open communication. Check out all our relationship advice for helpful communication tips.
Caution: be prepared to have your own emotional cycle brought into the light.
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One of the biggest symptoms of the man period is depression. Men do experience depression, but women still are 70 percent more likely, throughout their lifetimes, to go through depression, according to The University of Minnesota. Look for these signs of depression if you suspect your partner is having a man period:
- Change in sleeping habits- too little or too much
- Change in eating habits- a dramatic increase or decrease in food consumption
- Anxious or irritable — more so than regular sexual anxiety
- Thoughts or expressions of suicide
- Difficulty thinking, remembering or focusing
- Feelings of hopelessness, sadness or guilt
- Reduced feelings of self-worth
- Physical symptoms such as intestinal problems, headaches, pain
- Low energy or increased fatigue
These symptoms are not the only ones to surround depression and these may also be an indicator of other health conditions. Please speak with your physician to rule out any chronic condition such as high blood pressure or diabetes.
To help reduce depression as a symptom of a man period, aim to accept your partner’s emotional needs and help him find ways to feel better. These methods also have the added benefit of helping to prevent infidelity if your man is looking for a spark outside your relationship due to depression.
Suggest deep breathing techniques or meditation practices to center the body and the mind and help your partner get in touch with who he is. Consider talk therapy with you, if your intimacy level allows, or encourage him to see a professional to release his feelings and learn ways to process and deal with them.
Depression can be alleviated with adequate sleep. Sometimes tiredness increases emotions and your partner may feel more anger, anxiety or sadness when he is tired- which also affects hormonal levels. Encourage your man to spend time in nature or doing other things he enjoys such as fishing, playing sports or listening to music.
Speak with a trained health professional regarding your partner’s depression. The cure may be a simple change in diet or medication or the addition of a hormone-balancing cream.
The Mayo Clinic suggests exercise as a strong depression reliever. Source.
The combination of physical and mental benefits reduces symptoms of depression and anxiety that may accompany a man period. Exercise works by:
- Releasing endorphins which are “feel good” hormones, including oxytocin, which is released during cuddling. This can improve the hormone fluctuations that your man experiences.
- Increasing self confidence in a body that is strong and healthy. This improves self-esteem and reduces anger and anxiety.
- Elevating core body temperature. A warm body often feels more comforted and this can improve positive feelings and reduce sadness.
- Distracting the mind. Your partner may find he is better able to concentrate on your relationship or on work after he exercises.
- Increasing testosterone levels in men which can help even-out his emotional fluctuations.
Suggest a regular exercise session and this can be something you can do together. Take a walk, go for a bike ride, cross-country ski, jog, skate, dance, purchase a gym membership and use the cardio equipment for 20 to 30 minutes of consistent, aerobic exercise. Aim to do this at least five days a week. Plus, perform strengthening exercises such as squats, sit-ups, push-ups and lunges or use strength-training equipment to stimulate muscular growth and increase testosterone levels.
A Bad Day
We all have bad days. We all have days that don’t go as well as others and situations that make us anxious, angry, depressed or scared. This is different than the emotional roller-coaster that accompanies a bad female or male period. If there are more bad days than good, it might have you doubting your relationship, but a man period could be one reason.
If your man’s feelings and emotions seem to vary one week, or a few days out of every month, you may be experiencing a man period. Whether you label this “irritable male syndrome”, “man period”, or something else, it is still worth addressing with your mate.
Just as pre-menstrual syndrome is not comfortable for you and you want those around you to be extra sensitive and supportive, you want to be there for your man. Feelings of PMS can leave you not wanting to be around yourself let alone be around other people. For your man, IMS can be the same thing. He needs extra support, love and maybe some time alone until his hormones and emotions even out and he returns to you as his fun, happy, loving self.
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