Men rarely see Thomas J. Weida, MD, for medical tests without prodding from a wife or girlfriend. When they do show up, Weida jokes that he “can see the drag marks on the carpet.”
It’s amusing, of course. But it can quickly turn serious when a man ignores important symptoms. Weida says he knows of men who got away with ignoring chest pain for a couple of weeks. Eventually, though, they died of heart attacks.
You or your partner may be experiencing irritable male syndrome
(IMS), which is marked by plummeting levels of the hormone testosterone while
under stress. As a result, men may feel withdrawn, frustrated, anxious, sad,
and/or lack interest or enthusiasm in just about everything - including
Cupid Is Stupid
And often IMS can be more noticeable around holidays like
"The problem with Valentine's Day for men who are
experiencing IMS is they know they should feel loving and romantic, but they
just don't," says Jed Diamond, author of several books including the
forthcoming Irritable Male Syndrome: Managing the Four Key Causes of Male
Depression and Aggression.
For men, Diamond says, "this very confusing because they
don't know what's going on inside them."
Women also feel the effects of IMS on Valentine's Day, says
Diamond, a clinical psychotherapist and director of MenAlive, a health center
in northern California. "You start thinking about when you first met and
the romance was still there, and now your man isn't terribly romantic and it
seems like everything about you bothers him," he says. "This can be
But you are not alone.
IMS is highly common and affects many aspects of life -- 365
days of the year, according to a new study of 10,000 men. Specifically, 46% of
men say that they are often or almost always stressed and 55% say they often or
almost always have a strong fear of failure. Moreover, 62% have a strong desire
to get away from it all, and 40% say they are rarely or never sexually
satisfied. The full study results will appear in Diamond's upcoming book.