A birthday means maturing, evolving, but also experiencing changes in our environment, in our professional life, family life, friendships…
All kinds of transformations for which we may be more or less prepared, but it's not always easy, especially when mood swings get in the way. Such is the case of the age between 40 and 50. A stage in every man's life when testosterone begins to decline, but which can also be accompanied by feelings of lack of energy, low motivation, diminished sexual desire and even major mood swings. It's a picture of constant irritability that hundreds of men in Spain are often confronted with, known as irritable man syndrome or andropause. We explain how to identify it, how to cope with it and how it could affect your relationship.
What is irritable male syndrome or andropause?
First of all, it's important to mention that the term andropause is not equivalent to menopause in men, since it's simply used figuratively to refer to testosterone deficiency in adults. As for the so-called irritable man syndrome or male irritability, it's a picture of depression with four basic characteristics: exaggerated sensitivity, anger, frustration and anxiety. Symptoms that can also be linked to hostility, resentment, anxiety, anger, impatience, diminished affection, feelings of failure… It's a syndrome that affects 50% of men over 45 and, according to data from the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists, 33% of men over 75. A syndrome associated with a series of biochemical and hormonal changes that generate stress and other derived problems, which could also be linked to the popular “40s crisis”, but which doesn't really have a diagnostic age as such in men.
Where does irritable man syndrome come from?
Normally we're talking about a stage full of physical, psychological and social changes, in which there's a low degree of acceptance and adaptation and a certain tendency to underestimate oneself. A behavior that undoubtedly needs to be worked on to get out of it, and which is also generally associated with certain changes.
In some cases, a drop in testosterone levels can be linked to increased irritability. This male sex hormone plays several roles in the body, such as regulating mood and behavior. This decline can occur naturally with aging, but could also be linked to other medical conditions, hormonal disorders, testicular damage or even the use of certain medications.
Biochemical changes in brain chemistry
Another substance responsible for these changes is serotonin. A level of serotonin that is generally closely associated with the diet and eating habits we have. In fact, a study conducted at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology revealed that a high-protein, low-carbohydrate diet could lead to increased irritability in men. By drastically reducing serotonin, depression, carbohydrate cravings, sleep disturbances and a tendency to irritability can occur.
Any change in our daily lives, good or bad, is usually associated with a certain amount of stress. Stress which, in this case, can be accompanied by tension, anxiety or irritability.
Emotional problems in couples
Irritability increases when this person also feels disconnected in some way from their partner, which is quite common in some relationships in which routine, stress, lack of communication or emotional distance keep getting worse.
How does irritable man syndrome affect couples?
Unfortunately, irritable man syndrome is also one of the best-known causes of relationship failure. And that's because when one member of the couple is constantly in a bad mood and irritated, it can become quite difficult to establish effective communication and is something that can end up gradually deactivating that complicity between the two people. If this irritability is also linked to a lack of sexual desire, the couple can become even more resentful. Here are some of the most common effects that the presence of this syndrome can have on a couple:
Irritability can make it difficult to communicate effectively in a relationship. In this case, the man with irritable syndrome may react with anger or frustration to everyday situations, and this is something that can create tension and hinder mutual understanding.
Nothing satisfies him or is done well
Normally, if irritable man syndrome is present, the sufferer will constantly find fault with his partner and what he does. This will create a feeling of dissatisfaction and a tense, negative environment that can diminish your enjoyment of each other's company.
Irritability can lead to an increase in conflicts and arguments within the couple. Negative and explosive responses can lead to arguments that can be difficult to resolve.
A couple can feel emotionally distant if one member of the relationship is constantly irritable. This lack of emotional connection can affect a couple's intimacy and closeness.
Impact on the couple's self-esteem
Constant irritability can affect a couple's self-esteem, as they may feel responsible or discouraged by the difficulty of calming or satisfying the other.
The couple may avoid interacting with others out of concern for the irritable man's reaction. This is something that can lead to a certain social isolation and limit social interactions together.
How to avoid irritable man syndrome
Especially in cases where this drop in testosterone is linked to old age, there's not much you can do to avoid suffering from this syndrome, as this drop in testosterone is still something natural in men, just as it happens with the drop in estrogen in women. Despite this, there are a few tricks that can help make this syndrome as unobtrusive as possible in everyday life:
Check your hormones: By taking a hormone test with your doctor, you can see what your levels are like.
- What is irritable male syndrome or andropause?
- Where does irritable man syndrome come from?
- Hormonal changes
- Biochemical changes in brain chemistry
- Increased stress
- Emotional problems in couples
- How does irritable man syndrome affect couples?
- Affected communications
- Nothing satisfies him or is done well
- Frequent conflicts
- Emotional distance
- Impact on the couple's self-esteem
- Social isolation
- How to avoid irritable man syndrome
I am a student and I am part of the editorial staff of thesilverink.com. I have the chance to enjoy writing, however, I also like to discuss all subjects and especially anything related to Science.