Estrogen is a sexual hormone responsible for the development of secondary female characteristics. Along with progesterone, these endocrine hormones play an important role for the ovulation, lactation, and preparation for pregnancy. However, estrogen is not exclusive for women.
As a matter of fact, men have estrogen too. Physiologically, this hormone is produced by the female ovaries. Through the stimulation of the hypothalamus (master gland in the brain), it releases a specific enzyme that targets the ovary to produce estrogen. This hormone creates several physiologic manifestations in the body.
Women may have improved mammary gland (formation of breast), menstrual period, and the production of follicles (preparation for possible pregnancy). But how can this hormone affect the normal bodily functions of men? What if estrogen level is variably high in a man’s system? These questions can momentarily let someone think about the possible outcomes of estrogen in men.
How Can Estrogen Affect Men’s Health?
Similar to women, men also experience the process of menopause. However, this manifestation does not mimic the signs and symptoms in women. Men do not menstruate, but they are expected to encounter the physiologic signs of menopause. Basically, men produce a specific type of sexual hormone.
This hormone is known as testosterone. It is responsible for the development of secondary male characteristics and the formation of sperm cells. However, a man’s body contains an enzyme that converts testosterone into estrogen. This enzyme is called aromatase. The amount of aromatase in the body depends on the level of testosterone.
It means that if a man’s testosterone level is high, the amount of aromatase is high, as well. As a result, the level of estrogen will be significantly higher too. This can cause several abnormal bodily changes in a man’s system including the possible formation of some female characteristics.
What are the Possible Effects of Estrogen in Men?
The normal level of estrogen for men should range between 250 – 990 pg/ml only. If the level goes beyond the normal range, the following symptoms may appear:
Gynecomastia is a medical disorder characterized by increasing size of breast in men. Similar to women, men may have a bigger chest and protruding nipples. Want to know how to get rid of gynecomastia? Lowering estrogen levels and getting hormones back in balance (androgen/estrogen) is where you should start.
Increased chance of heart problems – Estrogen level affects the normal circulation of blood. It is also responsible for the normal conduction of electrical impulses in the heart. Too high estrogen level can increase the heart load, which may lead to possible cardiac problems.
Lower sex drive – Testosterones that are converted into estrogen can greatly affect the libido of men.
These are the common effects of estrogen to men. Ideally, men should consult their doctor to check the level of their estrogen. Moreover, recommendations such as limiting of alcohol intake, avoidance of soy-containing products, and taking of zinc supplements can reduce the amount of estrogen in the blood.