What Your Doctor Won’t Tell You about Male Hormonal Cycles

A man rides a bicycle through an office.Let’s face it: Every woman on the planet knows about hormonal cycles. They’re difficult to ignore. Most men, on the other hand, are taught from the time they are born that being manly means denying anything in us that might be viewed as “feminine.” I still remember the taunts when I was a kid. “What’s the matter with you, Diamond, you throw like a girl.” Or, “Look, he’s going to cry, just like a little girl.”

It’s no wonder guys grow up convinced that we’re not “hormonal.” But is that true? Many of us know intellectually that we have hormones. We know we’ve got testosterone. Many of us have a vague idea that we also have estrogen coursing through our bloodstream—a fact we’d like to ignore. Hormonal cycles? That sounds too “fem” for many of us to even contemplate.

Midlife Hormonal Changes

I first began to recognize that there might be more going on inside me when I began doing research on andropause, or male menopause, in the early 1990s. I was seeing changes going on with midlife men at my health clinic that seemed similar to what I saw with women going through menopause. Many of the men were having “night sweats” and “hot flashes.” Others were on an emotional rollercoaster, up one minute and down the next. Some were having unexplained joint pain, and others were having problems becoming aroused or having intercourse.

I began interviewing midlife men and women to find out what they were experiencing. Most of the men thought the idea that they were “hormonal” was ridiculous. Most of the women had a different view. “Well, it’s about time you guys finally figured out you’re hormonal,” one woman told me. Eventually, I interviewed more than 1,000 men and women, and 30,000 filled out a questionnaire I developed. The results were published in my books, Male Menopause, in 1997, and Surviving Male Menopause: A Guide for Women and Men, in 2000.

Do Men Have Hormonal Cycles?

Although most of us now accept that women and men have “male” and “female” hormones, it is more difficult to accept that men also have hormonal cycles. According to endocrinologist Dr. Estelle Ramey, professor at Georgetown University Medical School, “The evidence of them may be less dramatic, but the monthly changes are no less real.” But if men do have hormonal cycles, why don’t they recognize or talk about them? Dr. Ramey believes it is because men respond to their cycles in a way that is a function of their “culturally acquired self-image. They deny them.” This denial is the main reason she believes the largely male scientific and medical communities have taken so long to recognize hormonal cycles in men.

Winifred Cutler is one of the world’s leading experts on hormonal cycles. She has published more than 35 scientific papers, is co-inventor on five patents, and has authored eight books, including Love Cycles: The Science of Intimacy. “Now it is known that men show a hormonal rhythm,” she says. “A rhythm I call the hormonal symphony of men.”

A cycle might last a few minutes, a day, a week, a month, a season, a year, or a lifetime. When we go to sleep, our testosterone levels rise hour by hour until, by the time we awaken, they are at their highest (morning erections, anyone?). By the early and late morning, our levels typically level off and begin to decline. By late afternoon, our testosterone is usually at its lowest ebb. No wonder it’s more difficult for me to get up for the “afternoon delight” my wife thinks is wonderful, while I’m more interested in a morning romp.

Men’s hormones cycle throughout the year. In studies conducted in the United States, France, and Australia, it was found that men secrete their highest levels of sex hormones in October and their lowest levels in April. There was a 16% increase in testosterone levels from April to October and a 22% decline from October to April. Interestingly, although Australia, for example, is in its springtime when France and the United States are in their autumn, men in all three parts of the world showed a similar pattern of peaks in October and valleys in April.

Men also have monthly hormonal cycles, though there are some interesting differences and similarities between women’s and men’s cycles. Women’s monthly cycles are more predictable and synchronous. Women who live in close proximity find that their monthly cycles begin to align. Men’s cycles seem to be more unpredictable and individual. A study of young men showed that the majority had a discernible cycle of testosterone with repeating rises and falls, but each man who did show a cycle had a cycle unique to himself.

“Testosterone levels oscillate every 15 to 20 minutes in men, and also follow daily, seasonal, and annual rhythms,” says Theresa L. Crenshaw, author of The Alchemy of Love and Lust. “The morning highs, daily fluctuations, and seasonal cycles whip men around. Think about the moment-to-moment impact of testosterone levels firing and spiking all over the place during the day and what this must be doing to a man’s temperament. Men who so strongly need to feel in control are in fact in much less control than they realize. No wonder they can be so, well, testy!”

I suspect that we’d all be better off if we recognized that men, like women, have our own challenges dealing with our hormones. The great philosophers tell us to “know thyself.” Knowing and accepting our hormonal cycles may be the most important knowing we can have about what it means to be a man.

© Copyright 2012 GoodTherapy.org. All rights reserved. Permission to publish granted by MenAlive writer Jed Diamond, PhD, LCSW

The preceding article was solely written by the author named above. Any views and opinions expressed are not necessarily shared by GoodTherapy.org. Questions or concerns about the preceding article can be directed to the author or posted as a comment below.

  • Leave a Comment
  • vry

    October 9th, 2012 at 12:37 PM

    I have heard a lot more people talking a little more openly about this issue recently than I would have ever heard of before, amybe 20 years ago or so.

    But I still think that a lot of men will be hesitant to talk about it ebcause they know that this will lead to a lot of eye rolling from the women in their lives.

    Sometimes it is easier by far to just keep it to yourself than listen to someone telling you that it’s all in your head.

  • Jed Diamond

    October 9th, 2012 at 1:57 PM

    I tell guys, “forget about the eye rolls from people who don’t understand. This is information that can improve your health, make your sex life more exciting and fun, and prolong your life.” Believe me, its worth a few eye rolls.

  • Benny

    October 9th, 2012 at 3:07 PM

    I did experience these same kinds of hormonal fluctuations a few years ago, but had no idea who to even talk to. My doctor acted like I was crazy and so did my wife so I felt a little helpless. If this is something that is actually happening, then why aren’t there more science based materials talking about this? I mean, maybe so many of us wouldn’t be going around feeling totally crazy if there was more information available for us to consult.

  • anderson

    October 9th, 2012 at 4:01 PM

    never heard about male hormonal cycles before.but an interesting thing to know.if we do have hormonal cycles then why is it that we are still not showing mood swings and other issues that plague women?is there a difference or is it that they are reading too much into the natural changes in hormonal levels?

  • Jed Diamond

    October 9th, 2012 at 9:26 PM

    Anderson, Clearly not all women experience mood swings when their hormones begin to change and neither do all men. But a significant number of both women and men do experience mood swings. Some people have them and they are less severe than others, and some people cover them over by using alcohol, overworking, in finding other ways of escape. I’ve found that both men and women can learn more about our hormonal cycles and how they impact our lives.

  • DALE

    October 9th, 2012 at 11:28 PM

    So feeling groggy and ‘different’ in your late 40s is not something unusual? How I wish my doc reassured me with this! I have experienced many things that have been discussed with regard to male hormonal levels and I’m happy to know it is completely natural and nothing that affects just me. Not too many men I have spoken to know or even observe this and I was left bewildered when my doc couldn’t give an accurate reason.

    This definitely needs more exposure,this issue. There not being wide awareness can be a very big blow for those of us that experience its effects on a bigger scale!

  • Julian

    October 10th, 2012 at 3:01 PM

    The one thing that I woukd like to contribute is that perhaps more doctors do not talk about this because they themselves are not so well informed to know that this could be a real issue. For so many years the medical community has only focused on viewing the hormonal issues of women and they have neglected to follow up on the evidence that this is something that many men have to live with through. For once, the needs of men have been overlooked by medicine and have been relegated to the back burner. Now we are more open to having this conversations that these hormonal fluctuations could indeed be something that is plaguing many male patients, but we are rarely equipped with suggestions and changes that men can make to help them regain their old vitality and health.

  • Barbara S.

    January 17th, 2016 at 3:35 PM

    You know maybe it is sort of a good thing guys were kicked to the side in terms of male hormone problems, after all they for generations (and still plenty continue to do so to this day) have disregarded females to the varying extents that they have. May be this is the Achilles heel that will make those with asymmetrical chromosomes give in and admit that both men and women alike have their strengths and weaknesses, alongside their riches and shortcomings.

    Although I must admit, if I am fortunate enough to find the kind of man I want, my hopes are that I can keep him for as long as possible. So, ultimately, I honestly do hope and pray for this to be recognized, addressed, researched, and treated like they do for us ladies with our endocrine hassles and drawbacks.

  • Reenie

    October 10th, 2012 at 5:27 PM

    Are you serious?
    Now they are jumping on this bandwagon too?
    Don’t they already have Viagra to solve this issue?
    Why do men always gotta be acting like they have something more affecting them than we do?
    I am all for the sensitive man but I’m not into this at all.

  • Ronnie B

    October 11th, 2012 at 4:16 AM

    Do you think that this could be what all of these mid-life crises that we usually associate with men of a certain age could be all about? I mean if the hormones are throwing them into a tailspin, then this could be a cause to pinpoint that right there.

  • Tram Nguyen

    April 27th, 2013 at 10:33 AM

    To Jed Diamond:
    I’m a student journalist who’s writing a column on male hormonal cycles.
    Could you please give me the exact names of the studies that you mentioned in this article? (You said there are studies in United States, France, and Australia, what are those studies and who conducted those studies?)
    About the monthly cycle, I’ve read on the Internet that men experience internal flow of blood from certain glands. But to my knowledge, glands do not have blood to produce. So could you please explain to me if that is true, and if not, then what actually happens to the monthly hormonal cycle in men?

  • Josh

    October 10th, 2014 at 5:16 PM

    Your introducing statements assume that emotional status is related to hormones only or that crying is the only emotional state.

    Emotional anger is related to testosterone and can lead to physical aggression… This is sometimes not perceived as emotional but it is.

    Emotional crying is related to oestrogen and progesterone. The problem in identifying this is that oestrogen and progesterone are at there peak days ahead of the lady’s menstrual flow. Secondly the menstrual flow itself may cause irritation, however, this is not the result of hormones but discomfort.

    So yes on the whole, women are more likely to be perceived emotional but this is understandable.

  • Leon

    October 26th, 2014 at 11:20 PM

    Men should understand very well about the male hormone cycle which is a serious matter for men. Generally doctors do not elaborate much about it but few doctors explain each and everything about this problem to the patient. At Pillen-palast people can find better knowledge and information about it.

  • Melvin R.

    September 12th, 2015 at 12:14 PM

    Excellent website. Plenty of helpful information here. I am sending it to a few friends ans additionally sharing in delicious. And certainly, thanks to your effort!

  • Barbara S.

    January 17th, 2016 at 3:20 PM

    I looked into this topic because I like to be prepared for things I may do in the future (like finding my true love) and so I study various subjects associated with them. It is nice to know that the is even more that make men equal to women. Hopefully this can spread around like the plague and women’s rights and equalities will be promoted even more.

  • ronaldodack

    January 22nd, 2016 at 3:44 AM

    nice blog i never red before

  • Dave W

    September 7th, 2016 at 10:29 PM

    I am on a weight loss program and measure my weight and calorie intake daily. From this information I am able to calculate my metabolic rate. From the graph I have managed to identify 4 cycles in a approximate monthly period. The timings vary somewhat, but the cycles are accurate enough for me to predict the next day’s weigh-in. I can also predict a weight loss slump. I am also starting to see a three month pattern. Being able to predict slumps helps enormously with the mental aspect of dieting.


  • JerryN

    January 19th, 2017 at 12:19 AM

    Although most of us now accept that women and men have “male” and “female” hormones, it is more difficult to accept that men also have hormonal cycles.

  • ludovico

    March 17th, 2017 at 2:35 AM


    Do you have the pubmed sources and original articles for the male hormonal cycles? I would be interested in doing further research on the topic!


  • joseph

    April 7th, 2017 at 3:37 AM

    nice article about testosterone

  • Deepak

    July 9th, 2017 at 10:03 PM

    Hi..i’m 35 year old men but my thinking like a woman and expecting as same like her..its possible can I change my thinking via take some men hormones more..or any other option please advise now I’m married and very diffcuit to arrange ..thanks

  • Jamel

    October 3rd, 2021 at 9:07 AM

    I notice my monthly cycle. I’m so embarrassed to talk about it. This is my first time EVER talking about it. I have a monthly cycle. This is kind of funny, but every month, for about one or two weeks, my penis gets bigger. Not longer , but swollen like… in a good way ( currently smiling as I write this ). And I’m not small. I get really horny, mean and sometimes depressed. I Intuitively knew that I was getting monthly cycles but wasn’t sure. I think it has something to do with the cycles of the moon. And I’m a Virgo . I never know when it’s coming. I notice it’s happening because I’ll have what men will call a “chub” all day. A chub is when your penis is not hard, but not soft. This will last for about two weeks. I can’t help but to ejaculate. My erections are swollen in a good way. Now listen, I know my penis. Seriously. My mom told me that the doctors thought I was a girl, but came out a boy. Sometimes I feel as if my Masculine and feminine energy’s are equal. I’m HIGHLY creative and was born an artist. I can draw , charcoal art, and more. Some men even see the feminine qualities about me. But I’m not gay at all. I don’t even act gay or feminine. I’m very intuitive as well. So intuitive that if I have one conversation with you, I can read your life. It’s so hard to explain. Idk if any of that has to do with this topic. I’m not gay or attracted to men. But I do see the beauty in everyone , including men. I came across some knowledge that says women are the ones who enlighten men. Because of sexual energies, But I’m not sure if that’s true. If I can raise my own sexual hormones without a woman, then I don’t need a woman. Or maybe I’m looking at it wrong. I mean , I do desire a woman when I’m going through it. I feel that if I don’t ejaculate during my monthly cycle, then my energies will raise during meditation and then boom! Enlightenment. Because the desire to Ejaculate feels like if I don’t then I’ll explode! Sometimes it comes out in my sleep. Idk how to control it. I’m I making sense? I’ll REALLY REALLY like to her some feedback. I’m I crazy? Oh, after my cycle is over, I loose my sex drive. I penis goes back to normal (so sad) and I continue on with my life.

  • Tom

    February 11th, 2022 at 1:08 PM

    Jed Diamond, thank you so much for translating this onto the web. So I am 55, back in highschool grad 84, I began to see a lull in February, although I thought this was related to daylight, living then in Portland Oregon. I was once again refreshing myself on the 3 meno phases for my 52 yr old wife. Between 2000 & 2005 I wrote a still unpublished book on the age accountability from a Christian perspective, hotly contested within Christian Circles. After getting turned down at 15 publishers the Holy Spirit finally released me my own ministry planting a church on a street corner, 15 years later and 370 messages later and uncounted number of quite unscientific honk surveys from Market & Lancaster. All this to say I am an avid writer, photographer and video taker with a YouTube channel of 2k videos. As I began to read your article I was pleasantly surprised that the highest amount for men is in October, when God the Father created the Universe about 6k years ago and at the same time Jesus was born and Christmas is about when the Holy Spirit made Mary pregnant. So I was further surprised into your article that the low spot was in April (it seems to me men might have ability to regulate as we go low as we dip in February) at Easter/Passover. All this to say, evidence of how God created man first on day 6, then the mammals then woman out of man but really amped up their hormones or maybe when we ate the apple.

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