Irritable Male Syndrome: What is it?

Irritable Male Syndrome: What is it?

The term “Irritable Male Syndrome” is defined as unusual levels of low mood and irritability occurring in men as they age and thus have constantly declining testosterone levels. Of course, some men are just born to be grumpy old men, but for others, hormone issues are the cause of many different symptoms in varying degrees. Also for some men, high levels of testosterone can cause aggression, which could be perceived as irritability.

The major symptoms of low testosterone in men are: lowered libido (sex drive), erectile dysfunction, decrease in spontaneous erections, sleep disturbances such as insomnia or daytime sleepiness, physical changes like decreased muscle mass, bone density, and body hair, and also some emotional issues like depression, decreased motivation, self-confidence, lack of concentration, lack of mental acuity, and memory problems.  It shouldn’t surprise anyone that some men going through these issues don’t deal well with them and become irritable.

Another factor in this condition is the estrogen level. Normal estrogen levels in men provide many benefits, such as: bone health, cardiovascular health, mood, and brain function. The brain has many receptors for estrogen. Guys don’t let this get out, but men need a little bit of estrogen to help us think better.  So it follows that if the estrogen is not right, men can have problems with mood and other components of brain function. In fact, low levels of estrogen in men are associated with insomnia, fatigue and an increased risk of dementias including Alzheimer’s disease.  

Elevated levels of estrogen in men are associated with increased body fat, risk of Benign Prostate Hypertrophy (BPH), decreased libido, decreased mood, decreased energy levels (which is made worse if the man also has low testosterone), and insomnia. The insomnia is directly related to high estrogen and BPH. BPH is responsible for men having to get up during the night to relieve themselves, which interferes with sleep. 

So is Irritable Male Syndrome directly caused by these hormone issues, or is it a result of the accumulation of health issues causing the man to be upset about them? If your libido is lower and performance problems occur, is that why you become irritable? If you have a big belly from poor diet and estrogen being high, which then causes back pain that keeps you in a bad mood, which is the actual cause? I think you will find then any of those issues could be the cause of irritability in men. 

If you find yourself experiencing unusual amounts of irritability (or you are getting this from the man in your life), and you can’t otherwise explain the problem, it is time to see your doctor for some testing and explore the possibility of hormones being unbalanced or low. Getting back in balance will make life better for you and those around you.