Working with women daily to discuss mood swings, irritability, anxiety, and emotional swings is commonplace at Happy Healthy YOU. It's what we do.
Inevitably, the question gets raised...do men also get hormonal? Well, the answer is YES, but before you say 'I knew it!!'...let me explain in more detail.
From a hormonal perspective, men are very different from women. Women are cyclic. Women are intimately affected by the hourly, daily and monthly hormonal changes and transitional phases such as pregnancy, peri-menopause, and menopause. Men are not cyclic to the same degree as women. Testosterone levels are higher in the morning and lower in the evening, for example, however the fluctuations which women experience, men do not have
Men do go through 'andropause' which is characterised by a reduction in testosterone levels over time. This can leave men feeling less energised, and depressed, gaining weight, reduced sexual interest and performance, and loss of lean muscle mass.
Why are men so grumpy then as they get older?
A man's mood cannot be compared to a woman's hormonal mood swings. They are different things. So when the question gets asked, "Are men hormonal?", it needs to be understood in a different context. Hormones may be playing a role, but men are not experiencing hormonal mood swings similar to women. It is a different mechanism.
Also known as 'mandropause', the level of testosterone drops with age. This certainly can leave men feeling depressed, anxious, fatigued, and grumpy. The way to maintain and build testosterone levels in older men is through exercise. Exercise naturally maintains testosterone levels and is the most effective way to boost levels. A herbal medicine called Withania has also been scientifically proven to increase testosterone levels and build lean muscle mass.
Another important aspect of testosterone as men age is how it breaks down in the body. Testosterone, like oestrogen, can become toxic to the body if it is not broken down correctly and metabolised. Di-hydro-testosterone forms when insufficient zinc and selenium are available in the body and is one of the major causes of prostate enlargement. Therefore, zinc is a critical nutrient for men as they age.
Stress has so many implications for our health, and men are not immune. Stress also reduces testosterone production, which further accelerates the process of andropause.
Stress weighs on the shoulders of men, especially during their 40s and 50s when men often find themselves in high-pressure positions, dealing with responsibilities of finances, children, and relationships. It can be a difficult phase in a man's life as they strive to secure themselves financially, prove themselves professionally, and still maintain healthy relationships.
Men also tend to internalise their stress. Besides the obvious health implications, internalised stress often reflects in their mood. It also impacts on sleep patterns as well. So what may seem like a hormonal mood swing, can often be an internalised stressful situation.
Diet and lifestyle
As men age, exercise often gets neglected or injuries prevent exercise, diet becomes less important and healthy sleep patterns reduce due to stress levels. Fluctuating sugar levels play a role in a mans mood as well especially if he has a sweet tooth or is carrying extra weight around the stomach.
Alcohol and recreational drugs also play a significant role on a man's mood as they have depressive effects on their own.
Digestive health may not seem to be linked with the mental and emotional health of a man, however it does play an important role. Firstly the ability to absorb key nutrients such as zinc, magnesium and selenium. Secondly research is showing the importance of health Gut microbes, also known as your microbiome, in mental wellbeing. 90% of the bodies serotonin levels, which is one of the major feel-good hormones in the body is produced by beneficial bacteria. Several courses of antibiotics, alcohol, sugar and a diet high in processed foods will lead to an imbalance in healthy bacteria and reduced serotonin production.
Sleep is one of the primary pillars towards wellbeing. Without sufficient, good quality sleep, mood swings and mental/emotional wellbeing will suffer. For more tips on how to develop healthy sleep environment and sleep patterns read this important article. 22 Tips to Improve Sleep
1. Improve exercise levels. Exercise boosts testosterone, releases stress and improves sleep levels.
2. Ensure adequate sleep levels and a healthy sleep environment
3. Reduce alcohol and recreational drug use.
4. Focus on eating well, reducing processed foods and increasing fermented foods into the diet. Coconut water kefir is an excellent tonic for men to rebuild beneficial gut bacteria levels. Recipe can be found in our 8 week program.
5. Consider a supportive supplement to calm the nervous system, build testosterone levels and provide essential nutrients. Our Happy Calm contains Withania to encourage testosterone production, passionflower to calm the nervous system and improve sleep and zinc to assist with healthy testosterone breakdown.
Men are from Mars, women from Venus is quite true in this instance. Men do not suffer from hormonal mood swings, however hormones do play a role along with multiple other factors to make men grumpy as they age. With a few simple diet and lifestyle changes, maybe some supplemental support, then men too can live happily ever after.