Ready for the wrap up of our Virtual Book tour with Dr. Jed Diamond? Thanks to those of you who tuned in to the spirited discussion yesterday. And for the newcomers, you can read the Q&A on Thursday’s blog. What follows is a summary of our readers’ questions:
We hear so much about estrogen loss at menopause and the controversy around using hormones. Are there similar issues for men with low testosterone?
There are a number of similarities between the hormonal changes women go through at menopause and the changes men experience at Andropause. One difference is that hormone replacement for women have often involved using replacement hormones such as Premarin (a synthetic estrogen), which are not bio-identical to what the body produces. For men, adding testosterone is bio-identical.
Since you can’t patent a natural substance like a hormone, the pharmaceutical companies used synthetic estrogens for women, but for men used natural testosterone and patented the delivery system such as the patch, cream, or gel.
Many practitioners believe that bio-identical hormones are better than synthetic. Compounding pharmacists can make bio-identical hormones for women, so women, too, have a choice.
Several readers had concerns about their partner’s resistance:
I KNOW my husband is having problems but he won’t have any part in discusssing it. Stepping back and taking a deep breath doesn’t cut it anymore – I’m thinking about a divorce. Any suggestions?
Jed had a lot to say about this one:
One of the main reasons I wrote the book was to give women specific things to do when the guy doesn’t want to talk about what is bothering him.
Many men are afraid that talking about the problem will make things worse or it will increase their feelings of shame and failure.
One of the tools that is most effective for men is to take the quiz which is in the book and at www.IMSquiz.com. It’s a non-threatening way to assess what is going on.
Often when men get their score they are much more willing to talk, particularly if they feel that they won’t be judged.
I help women and men, find better alternatives than divorce. No one wants to end a marriage. They just need help to see how problems can be addressed and resolved.
You talk about declining male hormones causing irritability but I’ve heard that men who take male hormones and steroids can get very angry too. What’s the difference?
Our research shows that declining male hormones, particularly testosterone, is one of the causes of Irritable Male Syndrome.
A few men who use high doses of anabolic steroids to increase muscle mass get more irritable. It’s called ‘roid rage.’ But the much more common experience of most men is that is we age our testosterone levels decline. If they get too low, we become more grouchy and irritable.
Fortunately there are a number of excellent ways to increase testosterone, including diet, exercise, and hormone restoration.
What many women want to know:
How can I tell if my husband is really experiencing IMS or is just using it as a cop out – trying to blame anyone or anything else for his behavior?
Many ask how they can tell if a man is experiencing IMS. The best way is to take the quiz I developed. Its in the book. You can also take it on line at www.IMSquiz.com.
More than 60,000 men and women have taken it. You can get a score which compares your answers to all those who have taken it. Many men reach out for help after realizing that they have a high score.
Kathy and Brianna wanted clarification:
Dr. Diamond, can you tell me a little more about what you call woundedness?
According to Jed:
By woundedness, I mean all the psychological, physical, and social, pain that men carry in their bodies, minds, and spirits.
For instance, many men feel a great deal of shame, as economic dislocations force more and more men out of good paying jobs.
Men also feel a great deal of pain because their relationships with their partner and family is not working and they feel bad that they aren’t able to give their families what they want and need.
Men often keep a lot of pain bottled up inside and it leaks out as anger and blame.
Irritable Male Syndrome is not a sign that men are “mean,” but rather a sign that they are “men in pain” who are doing the best they can.
I’m happy to offer a whole host of interventions to make life easier for the men and the women who love them.
What’s a velvet bulldog?
The Velvet Bulldog is a way of relating to the man where you are kind and caring, but you don’t let yourself be walked on or abused.
For instance, you might say, “I love you and care about you and want us to get through this, but I won’t allow you to call me names or put me down.”
Thank you all for your questions and comments. If you’d like to order a copy of the book you can do so by going to MenAlive.com.
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