The endocrine system is responsible for producing and secreting a large number of hormones in the human body.
There are several hormones produced by this particular system. Each hormone plays a specific role in helping to regulate certain features of the body.
In men, one particular hormone that often gains an emphasis would be testosterone. The testosterone in the male body is usually referred to as a sex hormone or steroid hormone.
Several functions in the male body depend on this hormone. While testosterone plays a critical role in men, there are other hormones of interest too.
This post takes a closer look at what can happen when there is a hormone imbalance in the male body.
We will also consider how high levels of estrogen can lead to problems among men. Furthermore, we consider ways that men can potentially reduce estrogen levels in their bodies.
Hormone balance is a term that is often used when looking at the aging male body. Testosterone should be present in relatively high amounts in the male body. A small amount of estrogen production is also needed.
When there is a hormonal imbalance, it generally means that the level of testosterone and estrogen in the male body is not as they should be. In the majority of cases, there will be a reduction in testosterone.
At the same time, estrogen levels may rise.
It is known that testosterone naturally declines as a man ages1. In some men, this decline may happen at a rapid rate.
Usually, a man would not be able to notice the decrease in testosterone. This is because testosterone production declines gradually and very slowly. With a rapid decline, a man may develop a condition known as hypogonadism2. Unofficially, hypogonadism is sometimes referred to as andropause.
There are several ways that a hormone imbalance can affect a male patient. Men will often find that they develop a low sex drive with a hormone imbalance. Testosterone is critical for a healthy libido. When the man’s testosterone declines, so will their sex drive.
There are other signs of a hormone imbalance in men too. This may include:
- Fertility: Problems with sperm health could occur, which may ultimately have an adverse effect on the man’s fertility.
- Erectile Dysfunction: Some men may experience erectile dysfunction symptoms. This is likely due to the poor libido that develops when there is a significant drop in the man’s circulating testosterone levels.
- Prostate Problems: As men age, their production of testosterone naturally diminishes, and their production of estrogen (female hormones) increases. As a result, the body reacts by using this extra testosterone for the production of Dihydrotestosterone (DHT). High levels of DHT is associated with prostate growth (BPH).
- Fatigue: is also prevalent in men who experience hypogonadism. Testosterone does play a role in the production of energy. Thus, low levels of testosterone may have an adverse effect on energy production. This leads to poor energy levels, a constant feeling of tiredness, and frequently experiencing fatigue.
Estrogen In Men
Even though testosterone is generally the focus when it comes to male hormones, one should not overlook the role of estrogen.
Three types of estrogen hormones are present in both men and women. The role of these hormones is seemingly more important among the female population. This does not mean they do not play any roles among men too. In small amounts, the male body does benefit from estrogen hormones.
The three types of estrogen that can be found in men include:
Each of these has a specific role to play in serving the functions of estrogen hormones in men.
The male sexual function actually depends on estrogen. One particular form of estrogen, known as estradiol, has a particularly important role in male sexual function and health.
In men, estradiol, along with other forms of estrogen hormones, assist in the following functions3:
- It helps with the modulation of the man’s libido. An adequate amount of estradiol may ensure the man has a strong sex drive.
- The presence of this hormone is also vital for normal erectile function. When a man has a deficiency in estrogen hormones, there may be problems with their erectile function. This is a similar concern compared to low testosterone levels in the male body.
- Spermatogenesis also relies on estradiol in the male body. When there is an insufficient amount of estrogen hormones, then the man may lack the sperm quality and health needed for reproduction to be possible.
Several nonreproductive organs also rely on estrogens. One study4 explains that estrogens interact with multiple receptors in the male body.
The receptors that are noted in the study include:
- Main nuclear receptors, including ESR1 and the ESR2 receptor.
- G protein-coupled estrogen receptor, also known as GPER
- There is one particular issue that should be noted here. While adequate amounts of estrogen are useful for a man, high levels of the hormone can be problematic. Many problems can develop when there are too many estrogen hormones in a man’s body.
A man is at risk of the following complications when they have high estrogen levels:
- Infertility can develop. High levels of the hormone can cause sperm production to slow down. This makes it more difficult for the male body to produce healthy sperm.
- Erectile dysfunction is another complication to be taken into consideration. The risk of erectile dysfunction is coupled with the fact that high estrogen most often means a man has a low level of testosterone.
- When high estrogen is present during puberty, a boy may not grow at an adequate rate.
- Gynecomastia is yet another concern that should be raised. A man with high estrogen can develop the condition. Gynecomastia refers to a condition where there is excess growth of breast tissue. This causes the man to develop larger breasts. The reason for this is an increase in fat tissue in the man’s breasts.
- Men with high estrogen levels will often feel tired and exhausted. They may notice a reduction in body hair, as well as shrinkage of their lean muscle mass.
- In some cases, high estrogen can cause the penis and the testicles to shrink in size.
- Some men also tend to experience hot flashes.
- Concentration difficulties is another possible issue that a man with high estrogen may face.
Natural Estrogen Blockers For Men
When a man has signs of high estrogen, then it might be time to considering using an estrogen blocker. These products work in different ways to reduce the level of estrogen in the male body.
In many cases, they will inhibit the conversion of testosterone to estrogen. This can target two problems at the same time. It can decrease estrogen levels, and at the same time, there may be more testosterone available in the body too.
When a man decides to use an estrogen blocker, they should research the available potential options. There are both natural and pharmaceutical estrogen blockers available.
It is essential to consider both options. In this section, we focus on natural estrogen blockers that men may consider.
We take a closer look at some of the most researched products that may help to reduce estrogen levels in the male body below:
- Cyperus Extract (Tiger Nut)– A potent estrogen lowering extract that is also used to treat impotence and combat bacterial infections.
- Diindolylmethane dim– Diindolylmethane (DIM) is a naturally occurring compound that can be found in a plethora of vegetables, including broccoli, kale, and cauliflower. It has potent effects on estrogen metabolism and had been shown to help maintain hormone balance.
- Calcium d-glucarate – Calcium-D-Glucarate allows the body to excrete used hormones, such as estrogen, before they can become reabsorbed.
- Astragalus– An adaptogenic herb that helps your body to adapt to stress and control cortisol levels, which may help reduce elevated estrogen levels.
Pharmaceutical Estrogen Blockers
There are a few concerns when it comes to looking at the use of pharmaceutical estrogen blockers. Some of these products may have adverse effects that can be unpleasant for a patient.
Additionally, certain complications may be worrisome to a male patient who decides to use a pharmaceutical product to block estrogen conversions.
A few pharmaceutical products have been introduced to be used as estrogen blockers. The specific option that may be useful for a patient depends on a few factors.
There are cases where testosterone treatment (hormonal therapy) may be used. Unfortunately, this comes with potential side effects.
Currently, clomiphene is one particularly popular pharmaceutical estrogen blocker. The drug is often sold under the brand name Clomid.
Some medications are used off-label as a way to reduce estrogen in the body. These drugs are called selective estrogen receptor modulators. They are sometimes also referred to simply as SERMs.
The primary purpose of SERMs is to assist in the treatment of breast cancer. Research supports the use of these drugs among men with high levels of estrogen, too, however.
There are a few potential side-effects that may come with the use of pharmaceutical estrogen blockers. This is why men need to consider their options carefully. A man should thoroughly understand what to expect when they decide to use an estrogen blocker drug.
We take a look at some side-effects that men can experience when they take Clomid below:
- Blurry vision
- Visual disturbances
More severe side-effects have also been noted in rare cases. Men should contact a doctor if they experience chest pain or shortness of breath. Serious side-effects may also include a stroke or seizures. Men with a history of these conditions should be cautious about using this drug as an estrogen blocker.
Lifestyle Changes To Restore Hormone Balance
It is sometimes useful to take an estrogen blocker to reduce levels of this hormone in the male body.
Some men, however, may find that the risks are simply too great. This leads them to look for alternative options.
The good news is, When a man has signs of high estrogen, then it might be time to considering using an estrogen blocker. , possibly. A man should start by looking at their own lifestyle. This allows them to identify factors causing high estrogen in their body. It also allows the man to determine what steps may prove useful for them.
Here are some tips that men may consider:
- Losing weight may be one of the most important lifestyle changes. Obesity is known to contribute to low testosterone. High estrogen is also more prevalent among men who are obese. Losing excess body fat could possibly reduce estrogen levels. This technique may also help to provide a better balance in hormones.
- Avoiding certain environmental estrogens may also be a highly effective strategy. There are several environmental estrogens that men are exposed to each day.
- In many cases, the man does not even notice their exposure to these estrogens. Parabens contained in toiletry products, including shampoos – this is just one example of environmental estrogens. By reducing the exposure to these products, it is possible to experience a reduction in estrogen levels in the body.
- Men who drink too much alcohol should try to limit their intake of these beverages. Alcohol may harm kidney function. Alcohol also adversely affects the liver. The effects of alcohol on these organs can cause problems with how estrogen is regulated in the body. In turn, this may cause a higher chance of excess estrogen in the male body.
- Eating certain foods may be able to improve estrogen regulation in the male body too. Cruciferous vegetables may be able to assist with the regulation of estrogen. Examples of such vegetables include kale, Brussels sprouts, and broccoli. The zinc content that is found in these foods may also be beneficial for raising levels of testosterone.
Hormones have different roles to play in the male body. Testosterone is the hormone that gains the most recognition among men. On the other hand, estrogen is considered the primary female sex hormone.
Estrogen still plays a role in the male body. In high amounts, however, estrogen can lead to potentially adverse effects. Estrogen blockers can be used to reduce the level of estrogen in men. Men should understand how estrogen blockers work, what their options are, and the potential side-effects that may occur.