Crimson tide. Shark week. Moon cycle. The 'time of the month'. Women have been using creative and punny terms to describe their periods for decades. In some cultures, a girl's first period is a sacred and special time. An important life experience that marks her maiden voyage into womanhood. A journey fraught with emotional turmoil, surely not something that men have the capacity to understand, right? Popular culture has groomed us to believe that women are slaves to their hormones. But what about men? Could they too be experiencing something similar? In this article, we'll be answering another burning question that women may have for men. Do guys have their own version of 'the time of the month'? Read on to find out. The Myth of the 'Man Period' While periods have and will always be part of the female experience, many people often make remarks about the existence of the 'male period'. The 'male period' is a hypothetical window of time when a man supposedly experiences their own version of a menstrual cycle\u2014with symptoms comparable to those of women. And we're using the word menstruation here very loosely. Despite having the word 'men' in it, menstruation is biologically impossible for men to experience. However, if you're a woman who has been living with a man for most of your life (brothers, fathers, husbands, sons), you may start seeing relatively subtle patterns of this phenomenon. Patterns that bear a striking resemblance to your own PMS symptoms (mood swings, cravings, fatigue, irritability, sleep problems, etc). They may often not always be obvious and predictable, but still noticeable enough to raise eyebrows. This is because just like women, men have hormones too! The most important one being testosterone, which greatly affects how we function physically, mentally and sexually. And just like women, our hormones rise and fall according to certain times. The (Men)strual Cycle To answer the question of whether men get periods: to put it simply, no. But we do go through hormonal fluctuations, although to a much lesser extent. Men typically have a 24-hour hormonal cycle compared to women who experience both daily and monthly changes. This is the basic lowdown of a man's daily (men)strual cycle. Early Morning This is when men experience the highest level of testosterone in their body, marked by the tell-tale 'morning wood', which is a good indication of a man's sexual health. The morning is when your man is at their best (and sometimes their worst). We are often more confident at this time of day. More assertive, energetic, focused and driven (but also sometimes a little bit aggressive and competitive). By the way, we also have a higher libido in the morning. Midday Our testosterone dips a little come lunchtime, when we start to mellow out. But only by a fraction. Not nearly enough for anyone to see a difference. We still have a lot of energy, motivation and focus to carry on being productive at work. But we're also a bit more receptive and cooperative with others. Evening As the evening approaches, our testosterone dips and we start to get tired and have trouble concentrating. Depending on how the day went, we may be a lot more agreeable, gentle and nurturing. This is usually the time when you can ask for favours or requests. We usually have our guard down when our testosterone levels are low. The Irritable Male Syndrome Coined as an antithesis to PMS (Premenstrual Syndrome), IMS is the colloquial term for when a man experiences his (man)struation. A period of relatively low testosterone marked by depression, weight gain, and of course irritability. However, unlike the female period, men do not go through consistent bouts of PMS, although they do share many similarities: \tdepression or low mood \tlow libido \tinsomnia \tirritability and mood swings \tweight gain \tfatigue \theadaches \tfood cravings \tchanges in appetite However, these symptoms may vary between each individual. This is because not everyone is exposed to the same stressors and triggers. In this case, the male hormonal cycle is significantly more susceptible to our environment, habits and way of life. Stress, sleep, diet, physical activity, weight and age all affect our testosterone levels. Which is why the typical 'man period' symptoms are more apparent in some men than in others. If you suspect your man is suffering from low testosterone, here are some things that can help him out. Other Factors that Affect Testosterone Levels To make things even more complicated, temperature, weather and sun exposure also affect the male hormonal cycle\u2014with hotter and sunnier seasons resulting in higher testosterone levels. Studies also show that in seasonal countries, testosterone is generally higher in the spring and summer and plummets during the autumn and winter months. Certain activities are also thought to either increase or decrease testosterone levels. Working out, playing video games, watching an action movie, and abstinence (sperm retention) are thought to boost testosterone. On the other hand, stress, poor sleep, and obesity are thought to lower testosterone. There are also some studies that show fatherhood can cause a man to experience lower testosterone compared to unmarried or single men. This is when they start gaining a few extra pounds here and there. So, you can see why the 'man period' is an unpredictable, inconsistent phenomenon that is poorly researched. Men Have Hormones Too At the end of the day, we are all at the mercy of our hormones. For men, their surroundings and life events may play an even more important role in how their hormonal cycles wax and wane. When it all comes down to it, the 'male period' is not a normal, healthy biological phenomenon. Not in the way female menstruation is. For women, periods are a natural part of their reproductive function. It prepares their body for the creation of new life. For men, having a 'period' is a warning sign of much more serious underlying causes that need to be addressed. Whether that's poor sleep, poor diet, stress, and even a legitimate condition that results in naturally low testosterone baseline. So, ladies, if your man is going through frequent or even unseasonable (man)struations, it's time to figure out what's wrong. Period. 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