Estrogen which is a female sex hormone has its own importance in men’s body and reproduction system. Most men neglect the presence of this hormone in their body which can lead to hormonal imbalances causing medical problems. Any hormone in the human body is important and imbalances in one hormone can cause imbalances in other hormones that are associated with it. This article is going to discuss the importance of estrogen, the effects, causes, and symptoms of estrogen imbalance in men.
What is Estrogen?
Estrogen which is also known as Oestrogen is the female sex hormone in men. Testosterone is called the male sex hormone but Estrogen and Testosterone are present in both men and women. Testosterone is predominant in Male bodies and Estrogen is predominant in females bodies. In men, it’s about 80% testosterone and 20% estrogen so as we age testosterone decreases, and estrogen increases.
There are different types of Estrogens present:
- Estrone: Estrone is a weaker form of estrogen and one that the body can convert to other forms of estrogen, as necessary.
- Estradiol: Estradiol is the most common estrogen present in both male and female bodies. Higher levels of Estradiol can cause acne, loss of sex drive, and depression. Whereas lower levels of it can cause weight gain.
- Estriol: In female bodies levels of estriol rise during pregnancy, as it helps the uterus grow and prepares the body for delivery. Estriol levels peak just before birth.
What are the functions of Estrogen in men?
- The main function of Estrogen in men is to stimulate the growth and development of sexual characteristics.
- Estrogen serves to regulate several metabolic processes including cholesterol levels and bone growth.
- Estrogen improves bone density and reduces the risk of osteoporosis for both women and men.
- Estrogen does assist in the growth and maturity of the sperm.
- Estrogen also boosts libido and sexual drive.
Normal Levels of Estrogen in men
Predominantly in men, there are two types of Estrogens, they are Estrone and Estradiol. The normal levels of these are measured in picogram per milliliter (pg/ml).
|Prepubescent male||Undetectable–16 pg/ml||Undetectable–13 pg/ml|
|Pubescent male||Undetectable–60 pg/ml||Undetectable–40 pg/ml|
|Adult male||10-60 pg/ml||10-40 pg/ml|
The above mentioned are the normal levels of estrogen in men depending upon their age. Anything above or below these levels is considered High and Low levels of estrogen.
What happens if a man has high levels of estrogen?
High levels of estrogen in male bodies can cause Gynecomastia(Man boobs), blood clots, diabetes, and in some serious cases it can cause prostate cancer. So there is a need to detect it in the initial stages and get rid of the condition.
High levels of estrogen are somewhere around 15-60 pg/ml.
Some of the symptoms to detect high levels of estrogen are as follows
Symptoms of High estrogen levels in men
- Sexual dysfunction: High levels of estrogen in men causes a decrease in libido, morning erection, and erectile functions.
- Infertility: High levels of estrogen slow down the production of sperm which can cause infertility.
- Gynecomastia: Gynecomastia or Man boobs is caused due to an increase in levels of estrogen in men.
- Visceral fat: High levels of estrogen increases abdominal fat which is also known as Visceral fat.
- Loss of muscle mass: Muscle mass decreases with an increase in the estrogen levels in men.
- Diabetes: High levels of estrogen will preempt a man with Type 2 diabetes.
Causes of High Estrogen Levels in men
- Aging: As one gets older the testosterone levels gradually decrease and inversely estrogen levels increase. There is an enzyme that converts testosterone into estrogen which is known as Aromatase.
- Increased fat: Fat tissues contain Aromatase which converts testosterone into estrogen so more fat directs more aromatase so increases the levels of estrogen.
Food: GMO foods and dairy foods cause a high level of estrogen cause 90% of GMO(Genetically modified food) food is estrogen laced.
Treating High Estrogen
LevelsCruciferous vegetables: Eating Cruciferous vegetables like Broccoli, Cauliflower, Cabbage, etc will help you decrease the Estrogen level in your system.
- Phytoestrogen foods: Decrease eating Phytoestrogen foods like Soybeans, Tofu, and drinking Beer. Soy is man’s worst friend. Beer stimulates the estrogen receptors in male breast tissues that increase estrogen and that’s why you can never see a fit and trim man who is an avid beer drinker.
- Increase fiber, Exercise, and decrease body weight: When you do these things like exercising and decreasing body weight you naturally decrease the estrogen level because while doing those you increase testosterone levels which increases the muscle mass so inversely decreases estrogen levels.
Indole-2-carbinol 200 grams daily.
DIM Supplement 100 grams daily.
Vitamin B-12, Folate, and Choline regularly.
What Happens if a man has low levels of estrogen?
Low levels of estrogen in men will be harmful in many ways like affecting behavioral health, sexual desire, and compromising bone health.
Low levels of estrogen can cause Hypogonadism, a condition that results in a lack of testosterone in your body.
In youth, without estrogen, your bones cannot properly close their bone plates which results in long and insufficiently thick bones. Low estrogen may even result in slow healing of fractures.
Some of the symptoms to detect low levels of estrogen are as follows
Symptoms of Low Estrogen levels in men
- Trouble Sleeping: Having trouble sleeping like waking up 3-4 times throughout the night, this happens to cause your body is trying to rebalance the hormones simply because estrogen is out of work.
- Fatigue: One can notice extreme fatigue in the afternoon, sometimes this is because of poor sleep and also cause the rise and fall of hormones resulting from low estrogen.
- Waterways: If you have low levels of estrogen then you end up having a lot of water retention or when you eat a salty meal you will be much more sensitive to it.
- Stress fracture: If you are a bit old and you’re having a stress fracture then it is an indicator of low levels of estrogen.
Causes of Low Estrogen in men
- Excessive Exercise: Exercising too much can increase testosterone which decreases estrogen.
- Weight loss: Rapid weight loss can also result in low estrogen levels as fat tissues are the ones that regulate the estrogen levels in the body.
- Lack of vitamins and nutrients: Deficiency of nutrients and vitamins also causes an imbalance in the hormones which would result in low estrogen levels.
- An overabundance of iron in blood: If the iron content in the blood is way too much then it might cause low estrogen levels.
Treating Low Estrogen Levels
- Phytoestrogen foods: Increase the consumption of Phytoestrogen foods like Soy and Flax. The isoflavones in these phytoestrogen foods actually trigger the release of estrogen within the body.
- Chill out on Exercising: Excessive long workouts will plummet your hormone levels. When you overtrain there is an increase in cortisol and Cortisol in inversely proportional to estrogen but we do not need estrogen to be too low, so you have to balance your training.
- Check testosterone level: Estrogen and testosterone work hand in hand, So we have to keep testosterone moderately high and estrogen moderately low but not super low.
- Herbal Supplements:
Evening primrose oil, are some of the Herbal supplements which help in increasing the estrogen levels
Managing Estrogen levels in men
Estrogen levels in men can be controlled by a diet with low fat and high fiber in it. Staying in shape can also keep your estrogen levels in check.
Both high and low estrogen levels can cause some long-term complications or indicate that there’s an underlying condition that should be treated.
See your healthcare provider as soon as possible if you think you may have abnormal estrogen levels.