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 "Male PMS and Low Testosterone Levels Linked"

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Male PMS

Stomach cramps, mood swings and hot flashes. Yes, it's that time of the month again.

But these are symptoms reported by men, not women. New research suggests men suffer from pre-menstrual-style symptoms, in some cases as badly as women. The news is bound to be greeted with snorts of cynicism by most females.

But the study published today shows that the majority of men claim to suffer from a range of symptoms most usually associated with pre-menstrual syndrome (PMS).

Dr Aimee Aubeeluck of the University of Derby, who carried out the study, said: "We asked 50 men and 50 women lots of questions about symptoms normally associated with PMS and we found men actually scored higher than women in everything apart from water retention."

The men admitted to feeling antisocial and suffering poor concentration; depression; lack of arousal; hot flashes and pain - including stomach cramps, back pain and headaches. The team believes that the reason that men complained more than women may be because of their alleged lack of forbearance when it comes to illness as well as not understanding the effects of hormone imbalance and aging.

Dr Aubeeluck, who is presenting her findings to the British Psychological Society conference today, said there is some evidence to suggest that pain thresholds differ between men and women so it could just be perception of pain.

It could be women experience more pain but don't give it as much attention.

"When you are asking people to rate their experiences it is a little bit subjective." What causes the men's symptoms is, at present, a mystery. They may be triggered by stress but Dr Aubeeluck said the findings were significant enough to warrant further research.

She and colleague Joanne Worsey will now study couples over several months to discover if symptoms are cyclical for both men and women. She said "if men are experiencing big changes in mood, surely that should be addressed."

While some may be coping, others may be wondering why they feel so down. "It's really important for men that if they are suffering they feel they can talk about it and seek treatment."

The suggestion that men suffer from a form of male PMS is bound to divide opinion - as has the theory of the male menopause. Many doctors, including some British specialists, believe middle-aged men experience a sudden fall in testosterone - a hormone responsible for sex drive, sperm production and muscle tone.

However, a American study said that those who complain of hot flashes, excessive sweating, depression and a lack of sex drive are probably suffering the side effects of being overweight, lazy, smoking and drinking too much.

More than 50 per cent of men in their fifties are thought to suffer lethargy, lack of interest in sex, mood swings and even hot flashes, all of which could be caused by a lack of testosterone. Yet in the study, of 1,700 men from Massachusetts, testosterone was found to decline very gradually with age, at about one per cent a year. The team concluded it was their unhealthy lifestyle that caused the unpleasant symptoms.

Sam Fields

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