Sometimes people think of estrogen as a female hormone. However, all human bodies require estrogen to function correctly.
Estrogen is a hormone that naturally occurs in a person’s body. Levels of estrogen that are too high or too low can cause a person to have health problems.
This article will discuss the role of estrogen in the male body, symptoms of high or low estrogen levels, and how people can treat irregular levels.
Estrogen is a sex hormone found in both males and females, although females have higher estrogen levels than males do.
The ovaries, testes, fat cells, and adrenal glands produce estrogen. It is important for female puberty and controlling the menstrual cycle. Estrogen is also important for the male reproductive system.
There are three types of estrogen:
- estradiol, the main form of estrogen
- estriol, a form of estrogen mainly produced during pregnancy
- estrone, found in higher quantities in postmenopausal females
Testosterone can be converted into estradiol using the enzyme aromatase. Estradiol is used by the male body for:
- regulating sex drive
- achieving erections
- producing sperm
- testicular function
Estrogen also has other functions in the human body. It can help control cholesterol levels and maintain bone and heart health. It also affects mood, skin, and other tissues of the body.
The amount of estrogen a male should have will depend on their age and health history. According to the Endocrine Society, an adult male should have an estradiol level of 10–40 picograms per milliliter (pg/mL) and an estrone level of 10–50 pg/ml.
A person who is concerned about their levels of estrogen should speak to their doctor.
Although the male body needs estrogen to function correctly, too much estrogen can cause health problems.
A person who is concerned about their estrogen levels should contact their doctor.
Low levels of estrogen in the male body can produce symptoms such as:
- decreased sex drive
- excess fat around the belly
- bone loss
Hypogonadism, a condition that can cause a decrease in sex hormones, can be a cause of low estrogen in males.
Further research is needed to confirm the symptoms that low estrogen can have on the male body.
High levels of estrogen can cause a variety of problems in the male body. Symptoms of high estrogen levels in males include:
- swelling or enlargement of breast tissue, also known as gynecomastia
- erectile dysfunction
- delayed puberty
- short stature
Increases in estrogen in males can also be an indicator of the following conditions:
Research into the effect of estrogen on migraines indicates that males with higher estrogen levels may be at higher risk of having migraines. However, researchers note that further study is required to confirm these findings.
A 2019 study into the link between high estrogen levels and diffuse cutaneous systemic sclerosis, an autoimmune disease, in males over 50 found that participants with significantly high estrogen levels had higher risk of cardiac involvement or death.
Aromatase excess syndrome and alcohol use disorder may be causes of increased estrogen in males.
Reducing alcohol intake
There have also been studies suggesting that certain types of food may reduce estrogen levels. However, there is no definitive research to confirm the estrogen-lowering effects these foods have.
A male who wants to lower their estrogen levels should speak to their doctor. Certain medications are available that can help lower estrogen. They include selective estrogen receptor modulators and aromatase inhibitors.
A male who is experiencing symptoms of low estrogen should speak to their doctor about treatment options.
Hormone replacement therapy can help treat low estrogen levels in males caused by hypogonadism. A doctor may administer testosterone using a patch, an injection, a gel, or a product absorbed by the gums.
A person who experiences any symptoms of low or high estrogen levels should speak to their doctor.
The doctor may perform tests, such as blood test or urine sample test, in order to determine a person’s estrogen levels. The doctor may then discuss what treatment options will suit the person best.
Levels of estrogen that are too high or too low can cause problems in males.
Low or high levels of estrogen can be indicators of underlying health problems.
A person who experiences symptoms of high or low estrogen levels should speak to their doctor.