Estrogen in men

Estrogen is a hormone which is present in both males and females. This hormone is predominant in females. Males have very low levels of estrogen. Estrogen is essential for the development of secondary sexual characters and menstruation in females. In males, estrogen is related to proper functioning of the reproductive system. It is essential for the formation and maturation of healthy sperm. It is also essential for a healthy libido, proper functioning of the brain, regulation of heart rate and formation of strong bones.

There are three main types of estrogen hormones- Estrone, Estradiol and Estriol. Estrone, derived from the adrenal glands and stored in fatty tissue is a kind of estrogen that is found both in men and women. Estradiol is an active estrogen hormone that is produced in the ovaries of women and the adrenal glands in men. Estriol is an estrogen hormone whose levels tend to rise during pregnancy.

Estrogen plays an important role in men’s overall health just like it does for women. However, the levels of this hormone must be well balanced. Too much estrogen for men does more harm than good. Excess estrogen can cause adverse effects like weight gain, low libido and sexual dysfunction in men. When estrogen levels go above a certain limit, the body tends to shut down production of testosterone. This in turn results in problems of the brain, skin, bones and liver. Excess of estrogen for men can cause them to develop female characteristics like breasts, reduced facial hair growth and a higher voice.

The condition where the male body produces too much estrogen is called estrogen dominance. This can be avoided by maintaining a healthy diet and lifestyle, regular exercise, avoiding alcohol and processed foods.

There are many factors which are responsible for high estrogen levels in men. These include old age, illnesses, obesity, drug use and medications. As you age, testosterone levels tend to decline, giving estrogen an edge. This results in signs of estrogen dominance in men. Steroid containing medications, some antidepressants and antibiotics can also cause estrogen dominance. Obesity is another cause of estrogen dominance. Aromatase, the enzyme stored in fat cells converts testosterone to estrogen. Too much of this enzyme can cause over production of estrogen. Tumors and diseases of the lungs, pituitary glands, testes, thyroid and kidney can elevate estrogen levels, as well. People who drink excessively and use drugs like marijuana and cocaine are more prone to get attacked by an estrogen disorder. Eating meat and other animal products which contain estrogen-like hormones can put men at risk of developing estrogen dominance.

Estrogen for men is not all bad though. There are several cases where estrogen therapy is recommended in men.

Around the 1950’s, estrogen for men was widely used to treat prostate cancer. Supplementation of the estrogen hormone suppresses the production of testosterone. Estrogen therapy stopped being used widely as treatment for prostate cancer because there are some side effects associated with it. These include risk of blood clotting, heart attacks and even stroke. Even today estrogen therapy is used to treat prostrate cancer in men who have stopped responding to traditional medications which work at the pituitary level. There are some side effects associated with estrogen therapy in men. This includes tender or enlarged breasts, skin changes and an increased risk of blood clots or heart attacks.

Some men have a genetic disorder called aromatase deficiency. The aromatase enzyme is involved in synthesis of several hormones in men, including estrogen. Deficiency of this enzyme can cause problems like weakened skeletal system, risk of fractures and osteoporosis. Aromatase deficiency also results in poor growth and low bone mass. This condition can be treated by estrogen therapy.

Last updated on Jul 5th, 2010 and filed under Men's Health. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

3 Responses for “Estrogen in men”

  1. Rick Connelly says:

    I hope you have updated your material. I find that high estrogen in males is the primary cause of prostate cancer. I have 3 friends who have lost theirs all with high estrogen. It is not testosterone that causes prostate problems. Rick Connelly

    • Alan Bowman says:

      The prostate has testosterone receptors which can be blocked by oestrogen since they have almost identical forms. The occupation of the receptors by oestrogen leads to prostate enlargement (and associated urination problems) and possibly cancer. Clearly, the avoidance of oestrogens by the male is very important. It is also thought that inactivation of the excess oestrogens by the liver gives rise to low density lipids (bad cholesterol).

      In addition to avoiding outside agencies that introduce oestrogen, such as plastics, meats from animals that have been artificially fattened with oestrogens, the secret is to inhibit/reduce the body’s conversion of testosterone to oestrogen by the aromatase enzyme. Inhibition of the aromatase conversion of testosterone to oestrogen can be achieved by taking zinc 50mg – 100mg daily. Patients who have BPH (Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia – non-cancerous enlargement of the prostate) can reduce the size of the prostate back to normal and their PSA from 6.38 or more to 2.57.

  2. Harold Boehnlein says:

    How about dosages? Great information,but without proper dosage even the best supplements are useless.

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