High estrogen symptoms tend to appear along with the signs of low testosterone, pushing down libido and even increasing your risk of cancer. Learn more.
It is normal for both men and women to have a particular balance of testosterone and estrogen. Like a seesaw, when estrogen goes up, testosterone tends to drop. Women have more estrogen than men do (and less testosterone) on average.
High estrogen symptoms in men
The most common high estrogen symptoms in men include sexual dysfunction of various kinds, from low desire to fewer erections. But estrogen affects the entire body. A man might experience infertility, enlarged breasts, urinary symptoms, belly fat, fatigue, diminishing muscle, depression, or type 2 diabetes.
High estrogen raises diabetes risk even if a man’s testosterone is normal. It also increases the risk for prostate cancer and autoimmune diseases.
What causes high estrogen symptoms in men?
Aging may be the most important factor. Older men may actually have more estrogen than postmenopausal women. Carrying more fat relative to muscle tends to come with age, unless men work out. Fat tissue contains aromatase, an enzyme that turns testosterone into estrogen, and it also stores up estradiol, one form of estrogen.
Remember that as estrogen increases, testosterone tends to drop. The result can be a bad feedback loop, pushing estrogen levels down further. But being short of estrogen is also a problem.
How to manage high estrogen symptoms in men
Eating lots of cruciferous vegetables — cauliflower and Brussels sprouts, for example — can help, in part because they help you keep your blood sugar levels down. They also contain compounds that regulate estrogen.
Exercise and cut calories to drop pounds without losing muscle mass.
Some doctors recommend supplements like B12, folate, betaine, and choline, if you don’t get enough in your diet. You’ll also hear claims for plants that act as estrogen blockers: wild nettle root and grape seed extract. There are prescription estrogen blockers, including clomiphene (Clomid), and drugs designed to treat breast cancer that may be used off-label for this purpose.
Cut back on alcohol, which can alter your hormones. Beer made from hops or barley may contain phytoestrogen and prolactin, which increase estrogen. Wine and bourbon also contain phytoestrogen, a common plant chemical.
High estrogen symptoms in women
Potential problems include bloating, swelling, and tenderness in your breasts, fibrocystic lumps, low sex drive, irregular menstrual periods, premenstrual syndrome, headaches, anxiety and panic attacks, weight gain, hair loss, cold hands or feet, insomnia, fatigue, and memory problems.
Too much estrogen can also increase a woman’s risk of blood clots, stroke, thyroid problems, and breast, ovarian, and endometrial cancer.
What causes high estrogen symptoms in women?
Again, aging and obesity are prime causes.
Certain medications can also increase estrogen levels. Examples include estrogen replacement therapy for menopause symptoms, hormonal contraceptives, some herbal and natural remedies, and phenothiazines, which are used to treat emotional or mental disorders.
How to manage high estrogen symptoms in women
Talk to your doctor about diet and supplements. Several drugs inhibit aromatase, in effect inhibiting estrogen production. These include anastrozole (Arimidex), exemestane (Aromasin), and letrozole (Femara). Other drugs stop your ovaries from producing estrogen [goserelin (Zoladex) and leuprolide (Lupron)].
April 01, 2020
Janet O’Dell, RN