The term estrogen dominance in men might take you by surprise, as this is presumed to predominantly be a female hormone.
However, contrary to popular belief, this estrogen hormone does exist in men as well.
It is a combination of both the estrogen and progesterone hormone that maintain the health and functioning of the male reproductive system.
Estrogen dominance in men has become more common in recent years than in the past due to several reasons. Many of these reasons are associated with environmental factors and lifestyle changes.
Scroll down to learn five causes of estrogen dominance in men.
What Is Estrogen Dominance?
The hormone estrogen plays an essential role in both males and females. It regulates numerous body systems like the reproductive system, brain, muscle, bones, and even immunity.
Studies show that at least 15% of the estrogen hormone produced in men is by the testes. In contrast, all the other estrogen required by the body is produced by an enzyme known as aromatase.
As long as estrogen production is moderately produced, it regulates many functions in the male body. However, when this concentration increases above normal levels, it may have several side effects on the body. This condition of excessive production of estrogen is known as Estrogen Dominance.
The estrogen produced is much more than other sex hormones produced in the body like progesterone or testosterone and may have different effects on both males and females. While females with dominance may present with excessive PMS symptoms, uterine fibroid, and breast tenderness, the men may have fatigue, insomnia, weight gain, and erectile dysfunction.
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5 Causes Of Estrogen Dominance In Men
1) Increasing Age
As we grow, our body undergoes several changes. One of these changes is in certain hormone levels like estrogen, testosterone, and even thyroid hormone.
Even though testosterone is a prevalent hormone in men when they are in their youth, these hormone levels fall with age, associated with elevated estrogen. This may lead to relative estrogen dominance.
This was also shown in a study conducted on men who were above the age of 60 years with symptoms of depression. When their hormone levels were measured, comparatively lower testosterone levels were found, while the estrogen hormone levels were higher.
Aromatization is a process in the body by which the hormone testosterone converts to estrogen. This conversion of testosterone to estrogen is mainly facilitated by an enzyme known as the Aromatase enzyme.
It plays a vital role in both males and females. The enzyme can be increased by numerous natural factors in the body, which may lead to increased estrogen hormone levels in males, resulting in Estrogen dominance.
3) Stressful Triggers
When the body is under stress, it produces a stress hormone known as Cortisol. Similar to Aldosterone, Cortisol is also produced by the adrenal gland from the adrenal gland and makes numerous changes in the body to help it adapt better to the trigger.
Stress can lead to elevated levels of Cortisol in the body, which then leads to a higher production of estrogen. Moreover, experts believe that body does not have to be under chronic stress to cause the production of Cortisol.
Still, it can be released by the body only within 15 minutes of the onset of a stressful trigger. This increased cortisol level does not only lead to an elevation of estrogen levels in the body. It may also affect the thyroid hormone levels in the body.
4) High Levels of Fat
The fatty cells in the body can produce estrogen hormone in the body, which can lead to its elevation in men. This is particularly common in middle-aged men because of the increased fat found in their bodies, particularly around the abdomen area.
The association between body fat and estrogen levels is also proven by numerous studies. They show the role of estrogen therapy and synthetic estrogen link with an increased amount of fat in the body.
A possible reason for this is the release of certain chemicals known as TNF alpha and interleukin six from the fat cells in the body. This leads to an increase in the enzyme aromatase – which then causes higher estrogen production in the body.
5) Exposure to Xenoestrogens
Xenoestrogens are certain substances that cause the increased production of estrogen hormone in the body. Exposure to xenoestrogens may either be caused by their presence in plants or fungi or due to their consumption in the form of drugs and pesticides.
The consumption of plants containing xenoestrogens is the most common source of their exposure to the human body. It causes an increased risk of estrogen dominance in men.
They do this by attaching to the estrogen receptors, which causes them to become activated and cause estrogen production.
Many factors can cause the imbalance of estrogen in the body. These include increasing age, leaky gut, exposure to xenoestrogens, stress, aromatization, and high levels of fat.
Due to the adverse effects of such an imbalance in males, it is advisable to consult a doctor at an initial stage when you experience symptoms like erectile dysfunction, increasing the size of the male breast, and failure to conceive.
You may not necessarily be suggested to start medications. You can control estrogen imbalance by changing your diet and consuming natural supplements. The foods that can correct Estrogen imbalance include broccoli, kale, mushrooms, red grapes, pomegranates, green tea, sesame seeds, flaxseeds, and whole-grain items like oats and rice.
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