Premenstrual syndrome is the bane of many a woman's existence. Between the bloating, food cravings, bloating, headaches, bloating, exhaustion and cramps (did I mention bloating?), it can be worse than the actual menstruating part. But apparently this isn't just a female problem like we've all thought — according to a new study, 26 percent of men say they get a "man period" every month.
Don't worry — they're not spontaneously bleeding out of their nethers. Rather, these gents say that they experience hormonal fluctuations over the course of the month that lead to classic PMS symptoms. The most commonly reported man-period symptoms were irritability, exhaustion, increased cravings, ravenous hunger and emotional sensitivity. In fact, it's such a common issue that it's even earned its own, more manly, acronym: IMS, or Irritable Male Syndrome.
On one hand, yeah, OK, I can buy that. We live in a world chock-full of pollution, pesticides and other endocrine disruptors. It makes sense that lady hormones wouldn't be the only ones affected by this toxic stew. There is some scientific evidence that certain outside stressors, both physical and mental, can cause a man's testosterone to drop, leading him to experience symptoms similar to PMS. And there are real-life consequences: The study reported that men with "man periods" spend an extra $124 a month on things to help fix the pain and cravings.
Has a man ever bled through his favorite pair of jeans? In public? And then had to ask a stranger to borrow a tampon? That he then shoved up an orifice, hoping it would last long enough to get him home to the safety of his own bathroom?
Has a man ever had his "man period" used against him, as a way to insult his intellect, beliefs and composure — the way Donald Trump accused Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly of being a bad Republican debate moderator because of "blood coming out of her wherever?"
Has a man ever been banned from coming to school or church or even into his family home because he might be on his man-moon-time?
Until that happens, they are not allowed to call it a "man period."
It's not that I'm unsympathetic. It sucks to have a time every month where you already know you're going to be overly sensitive, craving every type of junk food and possibly in physical pain. I wouldn't wish that on anyone, man or woman. Indeed, in the study 43 percent of the suffering men said their partners supported them during their monthly trouble. (And only 33 percent of the supportive women said they told him to "man up" already.) And hey, if it means we can swap out the Avengers movies for Nicholas Sparks one weekend a month, it might actually be a positive.
So I say we let the dudes have their IMS. I'll even share the pint of Ben & Jerry's. But until they show us the blood, it is not a "man period." Period.
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