Online exclusive: He’s on the rag

You probably only acted like such a jerk because you were “on the rag” too.

Dear dudes,

Unless you have been living under the city with the C.H.U.D.s, the constant barrage of commercials from pharmaceutical companies hawking their wares has informed you of the many horrors of the female hormonal cycle. These include a list of physical symptoms that would give Torquemada pause, along with a list of mental and emotional symptoms full of scary words like aggression, withdrawal, depression, sadness, hopelessness, anger, irritability, anxiety, mood swings, decreased alertness, inability to concentrate, hopelessness, guilt, shame, feeling of being mentally ill, feelings of loss of control of one’s life, poor job performance, etc. Naturally, the traditional male response to the monthly biological inquisition of your friends, mothers and sisters is to dismiss the need for empathy or accommodation on your part with a remark about her “being on the rag” and the copping of an impossible ‘tude till she straightens up and flies right.

I have good news for you all, though! You probably only acted like such a jerk because you were “on the rag” too. According to Dr. Jed Diamond, a prominent psychoanalyst, relationship counselor and author of seven books on male emotional health (and presumably, relative of Neil Diamond), men have hormonal cycles that affect their lives in ways similar to female cycles. Refer to the list above for the symptoms, because they are exactly the same. The essential differences between Irritable Male Syndrome (IMS) and Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS) are the causes of the hormonal fluctuations and the ways in which males and females express the symptoms.

According to Dr. Diamond, “…there is the assumption that women are hormonal but men are moved more by logic. But the truth is men are as hormonally driven as women. In fact, men have a number of hormonal cycles:

1) Men’s testosterone varies and goes up and down four or five times an hour. 

2) There are daily cycles with testosterone being higher in the morning and lower at night.

3) Men have a monthly hormonal cycle that is unique to each man, but men can actually track their moods and recognize they are related to hormonal changes through the month.

4) We know that there are seasonal cycles with testosterone higher in November and lower in April.

5) We know about hormonal cycles with males during adolescence, but also the years between 40 and 55 have what we call male menopause or andropause.

6) Finally, we know there are hormonal changes in men going through IMS, related to stress in a man’s life.”

Dr. Diamond goes on to say, “What we’ve found is that one of the primary symptoms is denial. That is, men think the problem is anywhere other than in themselves.” That’s right, guys. You can be a real bitch sometimes. But why? Women have the “miracle” of ovulation and expulsion of the endometrial lining (and the accompanying pain, blood loss and bloating) to account for hormonal fluctuation. Men clearly do not. So what are the causes, Dr. Diamond?

“There are a lot of things that can make hormones go out of whack. Let’s start with something we all do, and that is eating food. If we gain weight, we run the potential of increasing IMS…When we put on weight, our fat cells are more active in converting testosterone into estrogen. The more estrogen we have and the less testosterone we have, the more irritable we become and the less sense of our own manly strength that we have…A second way is that we know when we are under a great deal of stress our testosterone levels drop. The third way they get out of whack is when we use various medications that can have in impact on hormonal levels…[including] herbal remedies that many people think that because they’re natural, they’re safe, or that they’re not real medications.”

Those are just the basic facts and there is a lot more information out there, including ways to tell if you are suffering from IMS and avenues through which you can seek help. Dr. Diamond’s website,, can help start you along in the process, but since you could be suffering from depression or other conditions, remember to consult your own physician before doing anything drastic. We know how you boys can get during your cycles.