It’s not often people ask the question, do men need estrogen? Usually, it’s mentioned when talking about the health of women because estrogen is the predominant female sex hormone.
Instead of talking about estrogen in men, testosterone is usually the focus. Although testosterone is the predominant male sex hormone, both men and women require both these hormones to function properly. The right balance of both needs to be present to live healthily.
Estrogen In Men
Testosterone is the essential hormone for male development which drives the emergence of male characteristics during puberty including increased body hair, a deeper voice, and greater muscle mass. It also plays a key role in healthy bone density, red cell production, fat metabolism, sperm production, and a healthy libido.
But estrogen in men, primarily a form called estradiol, is also critical to sperm production, erectile function, and a balanced libido. In addition to the reproductive system, estrogen helps maintain the healthy function of the immune, musculoskeletal, cardiovascular, and neurological systems.
Estrogen in men is produced from the breakdown of testosterone by an enzyme called aromatase. This enzyme can be found in the testicles, fat tissue, the adrenal glands, and the brain.
Testosterone naturally decreases in men as they age, while levels of estrogen rise. Older men only need to be concerned when estrogen levels rise to abnormally high levels. In that case, increased estrogen in men might contribute to diabetes or certain forms of cancer.
Studies suggest that testosterone levels in men decrease by .4 to 2% a year after the age of 30.
Symptoms of High Estrogen in Men
These are the major symptoms to look out for when wondering if a man has high estrogen levels:
● Erectile Dysfunction (ED). Balance is everything. If a man’s body is producing too much estrogen he might need not be able to achieve an erection or stay erect. The opposite is also true if a man experiences low testosterone.
● Infertility. As previously mentioned, men need estrogen to produce sperm, but too much estrogen in men can decrease sperm production or make it more difficult to create healthy sperm.
● Gynecomastia. This is the overabundant development of breast tissue in men, usually caused by abnormally high levels of estrogen.
● Slower Growth Rate. Increased levels of estrogen in men can delay puberty and cause boys to be shorter than they would if they had normal levels of estrogen.
If you want to know more about what causes increased levels of estrogen in men, hormone imbalance, or are suffering from symptoms you believe are different from life’s natural course, then let’s talk.