How Does Estrogen Work in Men

How Does Estrogen Work in Men

Estrogen and testosterone are the two primary hormones in the body responsible for bodily function. To have proper sexual performance and overall heal

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Estrogen and testosterone are the two primary hormones in the body responsible for bodily function. To have proper sexual performance and overall healthy life, estrogen and testosterone levels need to be balanced.

Estrogen is typically referred to as the female hormone, while testosterone is referred to as the male hormone. However, it’s essential to know that these hormones are present in both genders just in different amounts.

Women have higher levels of estrogen than men, while men have higher testosterone levels than women.

Estrogen is the major hormone responsible for females’ sexual and physical development during puberty, including menstrual and reproductive cycles.

Estrogen plays a vital role throughout women’s lifespan, and this is very similar in men as well. For men, a specific type of estrogen called “estradiol” is essential for the functionality of male sexuality.

It is well known that testosterone is responsible for male sexual function and development, but having a balanced level of estrogen and testosterone helps keep in check the sex drive.

Not only that, but both of these hormones also play a vital role in getting an erection and in sperm production.

With age, the level of testosterone in a man naturally decreases. In contrast, estrogen levels increase, but this isn’t something to be bothered about unless your estrogen level is abnormally high.

Overly high levels of estrogen in men can lead to diabetes, cancer, and other health conditions.

Signs and Symptoms of Low Estrogen in Men

Having a low estrogen level isn’t exactly a cause for alarm, but there are similarities with the symptoms of high estrogen levels.

This is because the imbalance of estrogen levels in men can be caused by hypogonadism (low testosterone level), which results in your body not producing enough hormones.

Hypogonadism can drastically lower estrogen levels in men and lead to similar symptoms of high estrogen levels.

Causes of Low Estrogen Levels in Men

Several conditions including: can cause low estrogen that occurs as a result of hypogonadism

  • Undescended testicles
  • Tuberculosis
  • Sarcoidosis
  • Surgery on the penis or testicles
  • The excess level of iron in the blood
  • Kidney or liver problems
  • Diseases that affect the pituitary gland
  • Obesity
  • A tumor growing close to the pituitary gland
  • Rapid weight loss
  • HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus)
  • Radiation exposure
  • Autoimmune conditions like Addison’s disease
  • Genetic disorders like Turner syndrome
  • Insufficient nutrients and vitamins

Signs and Symptoms of High Estrogen Levels in Men

There are various symptoms of high estrogen levels, such as:

Erectile Dysfunction

High estrogen levels in men can create an imbalance in the body and affect the hormones responsible for erection.

This is especially true if you already have low testosterone levels, as it can result in you not achieving an erection, or even maintaining it long enough for sexual activities.

gynecomastiaGynecomastia

Abnormally high level can cause breast tissues to develop too fast in men, a condition called “gynecomastia.” This condition causes breast fat tissues to grow higher than usual.

Delayed Growth

Excess estrogen level can cause boys not to develop fully when they hit the stage of puberty, and it can result in small/short stature.

Infertility

Estrogen is one of the hormones essential in sperm production. However, having high estrogen levels can cause a decrease in the production of sperm, thereby resulting in the creating of unhealthy sperms.

Certain hormonal imbalances coupled with high estrogen levels can result in:

  • Low libido
  • Losing of bodily hair
  • Reduced muscle mass
  • Stunted growth of penis and testicles
  • Reduction of sperm in the semen
  • Loss of concentration
  • Loss of bone density
  • Hot flashes
  • Fatigue

Causes of High Estrogen Levels in Men

Men who have low testosterone levels can also have high testosterone levels. However, it’s important to note that certain medications and substances can increase your estrogen level abnormally.

These include:

  • Medications used for mental related problems. A typical example is “phenothiazines.
  • Certain antibiotics raise estrogen levels in men, so be sure to ask proper questions before placing yourself on any antibiotic.

High estrogens can also be hereditary and some health conditions that put you at a higher risk.

Health conditions, such as:

  • Liver diseases
  • Stress
  • Obesity
  • Conditions that alter hormonal balances, such as hypogonadism

When to See a Doctor

When you notice any symptoms related to high or low estrogen levels, you should immediately consult your doctor. Your doctor can run a test and diagnose the cause, and if its high estrogen levels, it is essential to treat it and the underlying cause.

Many health conditions that arise as a result of abnormal estrogen levels can be treated quickly without any complications arising. Conditions that cause abnormal estrogen levels can also be successfully treated with low chances of complications if treated early.

How a Diagnosis is carried out for Low and High Estrogen Levels

If you feel you have a high or low level of estrogen, your doctor may be required to conduct a laboratory blood test. To carry this test out, you would need to visit a laboratory, and have your blood taken with a needle and kept in a vial.

Your results should be ready in a week, and your estrogen level would be shown in the test results. Once the result is out, your doctor would guide you on the next step to take, depending on the result’s outcome.

If the result turns out to be that you have a balanced estrogen level, then no further step would be taken. If you have a high or low level of estrogen, your doctor will educate you on the right steps to take to have your hormones balanced.

How can Men Control Estrogen Level

There are a couple of treatments your doctor may recommend to you to have your estrogen level balanced. These include:

Medications/Drugs

Aromatase inhibitors are enzymes that prevent aromatase – an enzyme – from turning androgens into estrogen. Theoretically, this should work in maintaining a balanced hormonal balance, but research has shown that it might not have such a noticeable effect.

Although it might not be recommended for treatment, it can help reduce estrogen levels in men if clinically specified. These can be taken as medications in the form of exemestane or anastrozole (Armindex and Aromasin, respectively).

Research has still not been able to show the effectiveness of aromatase inhibitors like SERMS for gynecomastia. However, aromatase inhibitors can have other medical uses, such as in breast cancer.

You can also get aromatase inhibitors in the form of natural herbs like grape seed extract, maca, and wild nettle root. Keep in mind that you need to discuss these natural remedies with your doctor, as it might interfere with some of your prescribed medications.

Lifestyle Changes

Alterations to your diet can balance your estrogen level. Diets that are high in fiber and low in fat can help reduce estrogen levels.

sesame flax seedSome foods that can give you these types of nutrients include:

  • Sesame seeds and flaxseed. Whole grains such as oats and rice are excellent sources of a micronutrient called polyphenol.
  • Green tea, as it is a source of polyphenol.
  • Cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli and kale contain phytochemicals that prevent the production of estrogen in the body.
  • Portobello mushroom is a natural way to reduce estrogen levels.
  • Pomegranates contain phytochemicals that can prevent the production of estrogen in the body.
  • Red grapes contain proanthocyanidin, which stops estrogen production.

There are certain meats that contain estrogen, and when on treatment for low estrogen levels, they should be avoided.

Other products that can increase your estrogen levels, and which should be avoided include:

  • Containers made of plastics that can be absorbed by your food can increase estrogen levels in men.
  • Hygiene products such as shampoos that have parabens which contain estrogen should be avoided when treating high estrogen levels.

Keeping fit can also keep your estrogen level in check.

You can start by:

  • Checking your overall health
  • Making a fitness plan and start steadily
  • Exercise for about 10-20 minutes daily, and gradually increase the minutes as you progress.
  • Switch up your plan and incorporate cardio, and you can do strength exercises as well.
  • Register for a gym to connect with people who have the same goals as you, which would help you be more consistent.

Risks Associated with High Estrogen Levels in Men

Men are naturally born with low estrogen levels, but as they grow older, the estrogen levels begin to get higher.

Having high estrogen levels can increase your risk of developing certain health conditions, such as:

  • Diabetes
  • Stroke
  • Developing big breasts (gynecomastia)
  • Prostate and breast cancer
  • Blood clots

Conclusion

Low and high estrogen levels can cause severe health complications, or it may indicate an underlying condition that needs immediate attention.

If you think you have abnormal estrogen levels, you should contact your doctor as soon as possible.

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