Have you ever wondered how to lower estrogen in men? Probably not. In many cases people believe that estrogen is a hormone solely found in women while testosterone is only found in males and that these two hormones are entirely different from each other. This, however, is not true. Estrogen can be found in men and sometimes it can be too much leading to problems.
In this article, we are going to help you identify high estrogen symptoms in both genders, what leads to too much estrogen in biological males, and how to lower estrogen in men, and much more.
What Is Estrogen?
Primarily known as the ‘female sex hormone’, estrogen is actually more than this. In truth, however, estrogen refers to an entire class of different but chemically related hormones (27, 12). The hormones classified under this group are as follows:
This is a weaker type of estrogen that is commonly found in higher quantities in postmenopausal women. It is produced by ovaries, the adipose tissue, and adrenal glands (28). The body can also convert estrone into other types of estrogen when necessary.
This is the most common type of estrogen and primary sex hormone found in women during their reproductive years. You can also find this type of estrogen in men as they too produce it within their bodies. While this hormone has its benefits within the body, too high or too low levels of it have been linked to gynecologic problems, some cancers, depression, weight gain, and cardiovascular disease, etc. (20, 12).
Estriol levels rise during pregnancy because this type of estrogen is produced by the placenta. It promotes the growth of the uterus and gradually prepares the woman’s body for delivery. Estriol levels are at their highest just before birth.
As we have seen above, this hormone is found and naturally produces in both biological males and females, not just in women as many of us tend to believe. With that said, estrogen does not work the same in both sexes. Here is how estrogen affects women’s bodies (27, 12):
1. Helps Regulate Menstruation
This hormone helps prepare the uterine wall in preparation for fertilization of the egg. When fertilization does not happen, estrogen levels rise sharply triggering menstruation. However, if the egg is fertilized, this hormone and progesterone work together to prevent ovulation during pregnancy.
2. Development Of Secondary Female Characteristics
Thanks to this hormone, young girls in their teenage years will start to develop and grow breasts, wider hips, pubic hair and armpit hair. This is also why trans females take estrogen to help their bodies induce feminine secondary sex characteristics (9).
3. Milk Production
Estrogen and progesterone in the breast prevent milk secretion during pregnancy and once the woman starts weaning her baby, the same hormone works to stop milk production again (18).
4. Bone Formation
It works alongside vitamin D, calcium, and other hormones to effectively break down and rebuild bones.
Estrogen also helps with blood clotting, vaginal lubrication, growth of the egg follicle in the ovaries, and also affects their skin, hair, mucous membranes, the pelvic muscles, as well as the brain (7).
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How To Lower Estrogen In Men?
According to the Endocrine Society, adult males should have an estradiol level of 10 to 40 picograms per milliliter (pg/mL) and an estrone level of 10 to 50 pg/mL (17). If you are concerned that your levels may be too high, speak to your doctor about testing and ways on how to lower estrogen in men.
Estrogen In Men: Where Is It Produced And What Does It Do?
While estrogen in biological females is largely produced in the ovaries, in men, this hormone comes from different areas. 20 percent of estrogen in men is produced solely in the testes while the other 80 percent comes from different sources such as the adipose (aka body fat), brain, skin, and bone, through the process of converting testosterone (T) to estrogen through aromatase actions (10).
How does estrogen function in men? Unlike in women where it plays a huge role in sexual development and function this hormone has little say in the same in biological males – this responsability is mostly left to testosterone. However, the predominant type of estrogen – i.e. estradiol – is still found and needed in the male body. Estradiol works in the male body to help with controlling arousal and sex drive, erectile function and spermatogenesis (the production and development of mature sperms) (24).
What Causes High Estrogen Levels In Men?
Before wondering how to lower estrogen levels in men, we must first take a look at the root cause of the problem. What are some factors that could lead and abnormally high levels of this hormone in biological males? They are as follows:
- Antibiotics. Some drugs, such as steroid medications, ampicillin, estrogen-containing drugs, phenothiazines, and tetracyclines have been known to increase this hormone’s levels in women (3) and may have the same effect in men.
- Herbs or other natural substances, such as ginkgo or ginseng.
- These are antipsychotic medications often used to treat mental health conditions such as schizophrenia and manifestations of psychotic disorders. Some phenothiazine antipsychotics are used to treat simple ailments such as nausea, vomiting, and hiccups (21).
Other factors that can lead to high estrogen in men include stress, weight gain, liver diseases, some tumors, old age, and hormonal conditions such as hypogonadism (15).
Here are some symptoms to look out for in case you are suspecting that you are dealing with high estrogen levels:
As previously stated, estradiol in men works to control erectile function. If you notice that you are having a problem with either getting or maintaining an erection you may have elevated estrogen levels. In a 2020 study that looked at the correlation between estradiol and different male sexual dysfunctions found that those who struggled with erectile dysfunction had significantly higher levels of this hormone in their system (6).
Migraines are usually more common in men than they are in women and this has been linked to this hormone. In light of this, men who get migraines may have higher levels of estradiol than those who don’t (13).
While there are many causes of depression in males, increased estrogen levels has been highlighted as one of the would-be underlying causes of both depression and obesity (16).
Like with migraines, women are most likely to suffer from pulmonary hypertension than men are. According to a 2016 study, researchers suggested that this illness in men could be traced back to elevated levels of this specific hormone (11).
The International Agency for Research on Cancer has classified estradiol-17β as a carcinogen, meaning that they view this type of estrogen as a possible catalyst to the development and progression of prostate cancer (8).
This is the enlargement or swelling of breast tissue in males and it mostly occurs when this hormone’s levels are too high or out of balance with testosterone levels (14).
As previously mentioned, this hormone in men affects the production and development of mature sperms. Too much estrogen cans low down sperm production, making it harder to create healthy sperm.
According to a study published in 2011, too much estrogen can result in short stature or delayed puberty in boys (2).
Other symptoms of too much estrogen in men include increased fatigue, hair loss, and osteoporosis (26).
How Long Does It Take To Lower Estrogen In Men?
There is no specific answer to this. The best thing to do would be to talk to your doctor to find out how long it would take to rectify this and balance out your hormones.
If you have been diagnosed with having too much estrogen here are some things that you can do to help lower the levels and balance out your hormones.
Here are some options that could work:
1. Change of medication
This is only a viable option for how to lower estrogen in men if the antibiotics prescribed are what is affecting its levels in the body.
2. Estrogen blockers
While these are typically made for and prescribed to women, some men have found some relief by using them. Be sure to first speak to your doctor and find out if this is a viable option for you before purchasing them.
Do not try any of these options without a proper diagnosis from a doctor. Self-diagnosis and self-medication can be very dangerous.
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How To Naturally Lower Estrogen In Men?
If the above options are not for you, here are some natural options that can be used as options on how to lower estrogen in men (20):
1. Lower Your Stress Levels
If stress is what is causing an imbalance in your estrogen and testosterone levels then reducing your stress could work to fix this. You can lower your stress by going for a massage, listening to calming music, taking a walk, or taking some time to practice meditation.
2. Start Working Out
As previously mentioned, weight gain and obesity will cause high estrogen levels in men. If your BMI is above the 18.5 to 24.9 range, then it is high time to change your lifestyle. Incorporating aerobic workouts and strength training exercises is a good way to not only help you lose weight, but also improve your overall health.
3. Change Your Diet
There is no point in working out to lose weight and balance your hormones if you are not willing to make the same changes to your diet. Avoid highly processed foods that are high in trans fats, sugary drinks, and fast foods, and replace them with healthier, nutritious alternatives. Be sure to also mind your daily calorie intake.
4. Sleep More
It works great to reduce your stress levels and prevent weight gain.
- Wild nettle root
- Soy products such as tofu and edamame
- Chrysin – This is a flavonoid is found in passionflower, honey, and bee propolis that is used as an aromatase inhibitor which prevents the conversion of testosterone to estrogen for the treatment of high estrogen and low testosterone (5).
- Cruciferous vegetables such as cauliflower, cabbage, kale, garden cress, bok choy, broccoli, and maca, among others.
- Oyster mushrooms
- Grape seed extract
You should also aim to avoid dairy and meat as they contain traces of this hormone from the animals they come from and alcohol as it leads to weight gain and can lead to low testosterone and increased estrogen.
Known as the opposite of estrogen, testosterone is the main sex hormone in males. However, like estrogen it is found in both sexes with females producing it in small amounts. Biological males produce the majority of testosterone in the testes and a small amount from the adrenal gland. This hormone is used for development of the penis and testes, deepening of the voice during puberty, bone growth and strength, libido and production of sperms, muscle size and strength, as well as appearance and growth of facial and pubic hair (20).
In biological females testosterone is produced in various locations. One quarter of the hormone is produced in the ovary, a quarter is produced in the adrenal gland, and one half is produced in the peripheral tissues from the various precursors produced in the ovaries and adrenal gland (21). In women this hormone contributes to bone health, sex drive, fertility and menstrual health, as well as breast and vaginal health (1).
Signs of high testosterone levels in women could lead to problems such as acne, excessive hair growth, usually on the face, thinning hair, blood sugar problems, loss of libido, infertility, lack of or irregular menstruation, reduction in breast size, weight gain and obesity, as well as polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS).
Signs of high testosterone levels in men include acne, aggressive or risk-taking behaviors, excessive body hair, headaches, heart or liver problems, high blood pressure (hypertension), high sex drive (libido), increased appetite, infertility, insomnia, low sperm count, mood swings, prostate enlargement, swelling of the legs and feet, and unexplained weight gain.
The treatment of high testosterone in both men and women usually requires a combination of lifestyle changes and medication prescribed by a physician (25).
The Bottom Line
The answer to how to lower estrogen in men can be found in medication as well as dietary and lifestyle changes. Remember that if you seem to be experiencing signs of high estrogen or testosterones, make an appointment with your doctor and as for a test to determine if your levels are normal, low or high. Do not attempt to self-diagnose or self-treat.
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This article is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional advice or help and should not be relied on to make decisions of any kind. A licensed physician should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any medical conditions. Any action you take upon the information presented in this article is strictly at your own risk and responsibility!
- All About Testosterone in Women (2019, healthline.com)
- Aromatase inhibitors in men: effects and therapeutic options (2011, rbej.biomedcentral.com)
- Can medications cause estrogen levels to rise in women? (n.d., webmd.com)
- Can some foods reduce estrogen in men? (2020, medicalnewstoday.com)
- Chrysin (2016, fda.gov)
- Different levels of estradiol are correlated with sexual dysfunction in adult men (2020, nature.com)
- Estrogen’s Effects on the Female Body (n.d., hopkinsmedicine.org)
- Estrogen action and prostate cancer (2011, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- Estrogen Treatment for Transgender Women and Transfeminine People (2020, verywellhealth.com)
- Estrogens in Male Physiology (2017, journals.physiology.org)
- Estrogens in Men: Another Layer of Complexity of Estradiol Metabolism in Pulmonary Hypertension (2016, atsjournals.org)
- Female sex hormones in men with migraine (2018, n.neurology.org)
- Everything you need to know about estrogen (2020, medicalnewstoday.com)
- Gynecomastia: Etiology, Diagnosis, and Treatment (2019, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- How High vs. Low Estrogen Affects Men (2021, greatlist.com)
- Increased estrogen level can be associated with depression in males (2018, sciencedirect.com)
- Laboratory Reference Ranges (n.d., education.endocrine.org)
- Lactation suppression (1980, pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- Natural and Pharmaceutical Estrogen Blockers for Men (2018, healthline.com)
- Normal Testosterone and Estrogen Levels in Women (2020, webmd.com)
- Phenothiazine Antipsychotics (n.d., medicinenet.com)
- Testosterone — What It Does And Doesn’t Do (2019, health.harvard.edu)
- Testosterone insufficiency in women: fact or fiction? (2002, bumc.bu.edu)
- The role of estradiol in male reproductive function (2016, pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- What are the signs of high testosterone? (2020, medicalnewstoday.com)
- What Causes Estrogen Imbalances in Men? (2020, thorne.com)
- What Is Estrogen? (2017, livescience.com)
- What is Estrone? (2020, hormone.org)