You might have learned about the term estrogen in the context of hormone replacement therapy for women.
But do you know estrogen is found in men too?
The presence of estrogen in men is a normal finding.
However, high levels of the hormone estrogen can lead to several problems.
But what is estrogen? And what are high estrogen symptoms in men?
Keep reading to find out.
Hormones are specialized proteins produced by the body’s endocrine glands responsible for an array of roles.
Estrogen is considered a female sex hormone, while testosterone is regarded as the male sex hormone.
This is because these hormones impart specific sex-associated features (internal and external).
In women, estrogen plays a crucial role in regulating the menstrual cycle.
You will find a high estrogen level in women and high testosterone in men, but that doesn’t mean that they are absent in the opposite sex.
A special form of estrogen i.e. estradiol, is critical for masculinity.
A study found that estradiol carries out the following roles in the male body:
- Regulates the hypothalamic-pituitary-testicular axis
- Controls reproductive function
- Monitors skeletal growth and metabolism
- Modulates body composition
The normal estrogen levels in adult men are 10-60 picogram/ml (pg/ml) of blood.
An estrogen level might be undetectable in prepubescent and pubescent males.
But, when present, you might find up to 16 pg/ml in prepubescents and 60pg/ml in pubescents.
Estrogen hormonal balance is critical for aging men, and levels greater than the average values can be problematic for men.
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High Estrogen Symptoms In Men
Below are some common high estrogen symptoms you may experience:
It was concluded in a 2020 study that higher serum estradiol levels and lower penile rigidity were seen in erectile dysfunction patients, thus establishing a direct link between erectile dysfunction and estrogen levels.
A condition of abnormally large breasts in men is called gynecomastia.
Excess estrogen levels in the body can lead to it.
A study showed that estradiol stimulates ductal and glandular growth of breast tissues in men.
Another study found gynecomastia linked to abnormal hormone levels (estrogen) in young men.
Studies have found high levels of estrogen and low levels of testosterone in sterile men.
It was found in a report that a large number of infertile men had high levels of estradiol.
Thus, it is clear that high estrogen levels may lead to or at least increase the risk of male infertility.
Moreover, it is believed that high estrogen leads to a fall in sperm levels.
Too much estrogen in the blood can delay the normal process of growth in young men.
Young boys suffering from high estrogen often report delayed puberty.
Changes to Physique
The raised levels of estrogen in males can present themselves as what we call unmanly physique and features that are characterized by:
- Shrinked muscles
- Low bone density
- Hair loss (on all parts of the body)
- Reduced growth of reproductive organs (penis and testicles)
- Low sex drive and sperm concentration
- Having trouble concentrating and focusing
High estrogen levels affect muscles, tendons, and associated structures, leading to poor performance and increased risk of injury.
The enlarged breasts and weak muscles act as factors for shyness and low self-esteem in young men.
Some patients have also reported having menopausal symptoms like hot flashes.
Causes Of High Estrogen In Men
Abruptions in estrogen production can be paired with alterations in testosterone levels.
In most cases, a rise in estrogen production links with reductions in testosterone levels.
The major causes of elevated estrogen in men are below:
Aromatase Excess Syndrome
Aromatase excess syndrome is a condition where there is an excess estrogen due to gene mutation.
The main symptoms of the syndrome include:
- Male gynecomastia during peri- or pubertal period
- Premature epiphyseal closure resulting in a short stature
- Elevated levels of estradiol in the blood
Furthermore, mutations can affect aromatase gene expression that can cause excess production of estrogen.
Certain drugs can skyrise the levels of estrogen in your body.
The list of drugs includes:
- Phytoestrogens (such as gingko biloba and ginseng)
Chronic stress directly links to increases in estrogen levels.
Persistent stress leads to the release of the cortisol hormone.
This release then leads to the depletion of testosterone levels in the body.
Therefore, stress and anxiety can be causative agents in the overproduction of estrogen in men.
Research showed that obesity can cause elevated estrogen levels and low testosterone levels.
Another study concluded that overweight/obesity was associated with lowered testosterone (and elevated estradiol level) in men.
In addition to weight, depression was also a causative agent.
Estrogen levels can fall with the increasing age.
Therefore, low estrogen levels are often reported in the blood of older men.
Consuming large amounts of refined carbohydrates can increase body fat.
Excessive fat and the carbohydrate diet both increase your propensity to have elevations of estrogen.
A hepatic disorder relates to alterations in estradiol levels in males.
The liver issue might be an underlying issue.
Male hypogonadism is when the male’s body does not produce an optimal amount of male hormones (testosterone).
Therefore, there is a lack of masculine growth in males with hypogonadism.
The infirmity directly links to lower than normal testosterone and higher estradiol levels.
Specific tumors or cancer can also shoot your estrogen levels.
Diagnosis of High Estrogen Levels
Your doctor should order a blood test for detecting estrogen levels.
You should receive your test results within a week, where you can then appreciate the level of estrogen in picograms/milliliters.
Complications Of Raised Estrogen
Overproduction of estrogen can also increase the risk of thyroid dysfunction in men, which presents as weight changes and chronic fatigue.
Studies show that men experiencing acute myocardial infarction have hyperestrogenemia as compared to normal men.
This is believed to be the underlying cause for thrombosis that eventually leads to acute MI.
A study suggests that high estrogen levels, high aromatase activity, and low androgen levels link with an unhealthy artery wall.
Therefore, men suffering from hyperestrogenemia (high blood estrogen levels) must be cautious about their heart health.
As the American Cancer Society says, the risk of cancer increases with estrogen dominance.
Estrogen dominance is a state of too much estrogen in the body as compared to other sex hormones.
The effects are most evident in cases of endometrial cancer in women.
There are many treatment options for the management of raised estrogen in men.
Some of these strategies are:
Modifying your diet can be an obvious step in improving the overproduction of estrogen levels.
You should add cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, kale, etc.), grapes (red), sesame seeds, and pomegranates to the diet while staying away from diets low in fiber.
Try to limit carbohydrates in the diet too.
Aromatase inhibitor drugs restrict the aromatase enzyme activity that is responsible for the conversion of androgens to estrogen.
Studies show that aromatase inhibitors can revert gynecomastia.
Some common aromatase inhibitors are:
Maintaining a good weight can help you resolve problems caused by estrogen.
You can start by doing light exercise and then switch up to cardio and other hectic exercises.
Then, losing weight reduces the burden on your muscles and bones and helps develop a better physique.
Reduction in obesity will also help in alleviating the raised estrogen levels.
Estrogen is a female hormone that is present in small quantities in men too.
With increasing age and falling testosterone levels, this hormone tends to rise.
However, in some cases, the issue can arise in pre-puberty, leading to multiple issues, including gynecomastia, infertility, erectile dysfunction, and epiphyseal fusion.
Stress, obesity, aromatase excess syndrome, and hypogonadism are causative agents.
And we can treat the condition with medicines and dietary modifications.
Find out about our Natural Estrogen Blocker for Men: Estro Clear.