Typically, testosterone is known as a ‘male hormone’ and estrogen is recognised as a female hormone. However, both hormones are required for the body’s overall function in both men and women. Its distinction as male and female hormones can be credited to its high content in its corresponding genders.
As you know, estrogen is a vital hormone for the sexual well-being and development of women during their adolescent and adult periods. Be that as it may, a particular type of estrogen, called estradiol, is necessary for the development of male sexuality. The balance between this hormone and testosterone is needed for the optimum male sexual development, sperm production, management of sexual drives and their ability to have an erection.
With the advancement of age, men’s estrogen levels increase and testosterone levels decrease. However, if your body is suffering from certain underlying medical conditions like diabetes and cancer, it can have abnormally high levels of estrogen and it becomes a serious matter to think about.
With that said, let’s understand the high, low and optimum levels of estrogen in men and what one can do to control them.
Symptoms of high estrogen levels in men: Erectile dysfunction:
Erectile dysfunction in men is one of the most common symptoms of high estrogen levels which causes difficulty in getting and maintaining an erection. A similar case is also observed due to low testosterone levels.
With increased estrogen levels, the process of sperm production in your body is hampered and healthy sperms are difficult to produce.
Slow growth and development of boys:
A spike in estrogen levels hinder the occurrence of puberty in boys and result in short stature.
Abnormally high levels of estrogen in men can cause the development of breast fat tissue. This is a medical condition, commonly known as gynecomastia.
Apart from the above-mentioned symptoms, high estrogen levels in men can cause losing hair of your body, reduced muscle mass, reduced libido, low sperm production, fatigue and facing trouble concentrating.
High estrogen levels in men can be caused due to a plethora of factors. Certain antibiotics or medications used for mental health conditions such as phenothiazines and herbs such as ginkgo and ginseng spike the estrogen levels in men.
Stress, tumours, obesity, liver diseases and hypogonadism can increase the levels of estrogen in men. Apart from them, genetics can also be a contributing factor to the spike in men’s estrogen levels.
More often than not, having low estrogen levels in men is not as big an issue as high estrogen levels. However, if it hits the rock bottom, then symptoms of low levels of estrogen are almost similar to the increased ones.
Hypergonadism is one of the major causes which disrupts normal men’s estrogen levels. For those who don’t know, hypogonadism is a medical condition that stunts the production of hormones in the body.
Low estrogen levels which are caused by hypogonadism can be caused for a plethora of reasons. Some of them include kidney or liver condition, mumps, hemochromatosis (overabundance of iron in the blood), genetic disorders, autoimmune conditions (hypothyroidism, Addison’s disease), HIV, radiation, tuberculosis, obesity, brain surgery, surgery in your penis or testicles, sarcoidosis, lack of vitamins for men’s estrogen and nutrients and histiocytosis. With the symptoms and causes of abnormal estrogen levels in men laid out, let’s focus on how to manage and control these levels.
Below are the tips to manage estrogen levels in men:
Bringing necessary changes in your diet helps in keeping your estrogen levels low. Consuming a diet that is low in fat and rich in fibre will help you regulate your estrogen levels.
Foods that will help you do so are red grapes that contain natural men’ estrogen blockers such as resveratrol and proanthocyanidin. In addition, make sure that you consume cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli and kale which contain phytochemicals. They also naturally block the production of estrogen in your body. Another food that contains estrogen-blocking phytochemicals is pomegranate.
Add sesame seeds, flaxseeds along whole grains such as corn, rice and oats which contain polyphenol, a micronutrient. Green tea is also a storehouse of polyphenol.
Exercising daily will also help you keep your estrogen levels to a minimum. If you haven’t been exercising until now, start immediately. You can start by making a plan and stay committed to it. You must start slow, with just 15 minutes of workout every day and then work your way upwards.
In addition, make sure that you switch different workouts. For instance, if one day you do cardio, the next day, you must do strengthening. If you can’t stay motivated by exercising at home, you can join a gym. However, make sure that you do get a physical check-up of your body every month.
Bringing positive lifestyle changes such as avoiding wraps or containers made of plastic and hygiene products that contain parabens in them.
Certain medications which are aromatase inhibitors are known to prevent hormones from turning androgens to estrogen as they contain the enzyme known as aromatase. However, concrete research is still required in this area.
These aromatase inhibitors are available in medications such as exemestane or anastrozole. Be that as it may, these inhibitors are not as effective as SERMS for gynecomastia. But they’ll surely help in reducing the estrogen levels in men. The inhibitors are available in natural forms such as wild nettle root, grape seed extract and maca. Make sure that you consult with your doctor first before consuming anything.
These are some of the ways for reducing men’s estrogen levels when they are increasingly abnormal. However, make sure that you consult with your doctor first and consume only those medications which are prescribed by the doctor.
Recommended reading: Signs To Know If You Are Suffering From Low Testosterone Levels?