Do men have monthly hormonal cycles?

Erica Digap, Maurice Beer M.D.
February 14th, 2022 · 5 min read
Medically Verified

Male hormone cycles: do men have a “time of the month” too?

Hormone-related mood swings have been painted as a “female issue” for years, but modern science is finally catching on to the possibility that fluctuations in men’s hormones can cause mood swings as well. In this article, we’ll explore questions such as these: Do men have hormonal cycles? Do men get monthly periods? How can at-home testing be used to better understand your hormones? (Spoiler alert: Given that mood swings can stem from all kinds of issues, lab testing can in fact give you valuable insights into what the problem really is.) Keep reading for more answers…
A quick note: this article will mainly be discussing topics related to cisgender men when we refer to “men” or “male hormones”. We recognize that gender and “biological sex” are complex and multifaceted. 

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Do men have hormonal cycles?

Anyone who hears the words “hormonal cycles” will probably think of menstrual cycles. After all, aren’t women the ones who experience mood swings because of their hormones? Not necessarily - it happens with men too!
However, there are a couple of major differences here. First of all, let’s consider the hormones that are involved: instead of estrogen, men’s primary sex hormone is testosterone. The second difference would be the timeline. Menstrual cycles last an average of 30 days, while men’s hormonal cycles follow a 24-hour period. That’s right - men deal with hormonal swings every single day! They may not be accompanied by the same outward signs as a menstrual cycle, but if a man is dealing with imbalanced hormones, there can be just as much drama.
There are some indications that men also experience seasonal hormonal cycles, but let’s save that for later.  For now, let’s explore the 24-hour male hormonal cycle. In this cycle, testosterone levels slowly build during sleep, peaking in the morning. As the day progresses, testosterone levels slowly fall to their lowest point in the evening. Bedtime arrives, the body starts producing more testosterone as it sleeps, and the cycle starts all over again. Pretty simple, right?
Yes - or at least it would be if this is what always happened. Unfortunately, sometimes hormonal imbalances show up and ruin everything, including what could have previously been a peaceful state of mind. If a man’s body doesn’t produce the right amounts of testosterone at the right times, the daily cycle will be knocked off-balance; this can cause all kinds of problems for energy levels, sexual performance, mood, and much more.

Do men get monthly periods?

Hormonal mood swings may be inextricably linked to menstruation, but if you’re an individual assigned male at birth (AMAB), then no, you won’t have a monthly period. Transgender men can have periods, though; having a menstrual cycle is really just a question of whether or not you have a uterus.
That being said, “menstruating” isn’t the same as having a “monthly hormonal cycle”, and according to some, male hormones follow a monthly cycle just as much as female hormones. However, nobody’s been able to replicate the one study that indicated a male monthly cycle, so the findings haven’t been accepted by the medical community at large.
The same can’t be said about yearly hormonal cycles, though. Even though many of the study results contradict each other, some of them have actually shown testosterone peaking in the fall or winter and reaching its lowest point during summer. These results should be taken with a grain of salt, however, because another (much, much smaller) study found that the testosterone levels of the men tested reached a yearly peak in June, falling to the lowest point in August. You can still see a yearly pattern that was followed by the whole test group, but one group followed an entirely different schedule from the other. Meanwhile, other studies done along the same lines have failed to demonstrate an annual hormone cycle in men.
The results are far from conclusive, but they still point to the need for further investigation. One reason for the interest in men’s yearly hormone cycles is the possibility that they, like some animal species, are wired to conceive with a mate at a certain time of year. The idea is that if the babies can be born in the spring or summer, they’ll have a better chance of survival. Obviously, that isn’t as much of a concern as it may have been during the cave-man days, but if that’s a part of human biology, it’s certainly worth exploring.

Common causes of mood swings in men

Male hormone cycles - or more specifically, imbalanced male hormone cycles - aren’t always responsible for chronic mood swings, but they’re usually at least implicated in them. Men can suffer from an unstable mood because of:
  • Stress - feeling stressed because of one thing often means you’ll feel stressed about everything. This can result in moodiness or irritability, even if everything seems to be fine in the moment.
  • Male menopause - also known as andropause, isn’t nearly as well-defined as menopause; some even say it’s a myth. It’s essentially a term that describes the gradual decrease in testosterone levels that most men start to experience around the age of 45 or 50.
  • Low testosterone - this isn’t always a consequence of aging; sometimes it happens because of a medical condition, a nutrient deficiency, or an overall unhealthy lifestyle. Men of advanced age may have low testosterone simply because their system isn’t as vigorous anymore, but it can also happen to men in their 20s and 30s. If that’s the case, it’s probably best to take care of it ASAP, as low testosterone in men is bad news for a lot more than just mood stability.

Using at-home testing to better understand your hormones

It’s possible to look for specific outward signs that tell you about the state of your hormones, but if you want to know e
xactly where you’re at, you’ll need lab testing. Plus, thanks to the availability of accurate at-home lab tests like Base, you won’t have to worry about appointments and big needles. But first things first: what are the signs of low testosterone?
  • Poor or absent libido
  • Sexual dysfunction
  • Fatigue
  • Hair loss
  • Depression
  • Mood swings
  • Loss of muscle mass
  • Increased body fat
If more than a couple of these symptoms are present in a man, the chances are pretty good that they’re caused by declining testosterone levels. So what’s next? Finding out where your current levels are at through testing, and then fixing them. Base’s sex drive test plan not only checks testosterone levels, but other key sex hormones that are vital for a stable mood, good energy levels, and much more. Plus, you don’t have to come up with your own action plan after getting the results back; you’ll also get expert recommendations after each test.
If you’re experiencing a hormonal imbalance that’s strong enough to cause daily mood swings, there won’t be a one-size-fits-all solution - but in the majority of cases, there will be a solution of some kind. Looking for answers isn’t always easy, but once you’re on your way to better health, you’ll be glad you decided to try!
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