High estrogen symptoms tend to appear along with the signs of low testosterone, decreasing 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 your entire body. A man might experience:
- Enlarged breasts
- Urinary symptoms
- Belly fat
- Diminishing muscle
- Type 2 diabetes
What causes high estrogen symptoms in men?
Aging may be the most important factor. Older men may 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 estradiol, one form of estrogen.
The result of an increase in estrogen and decrease in testosterone 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.
You should also exercise and lower your calories to lose weight without decreasing muscle mass.
Some doctors recommend supplements like B12, folate, betaine, and choline, if you don’t get of them enough in your diet. You’ll also hear claims about plants that act as estrogen blockers: wild nettle root and grape seed extract. There are also prescription estrogen blockers, including clomiphene (Clomid), and drugs designed to treat breast cancer that may be used off-label to treat high estrogen levels.
Cut back on alcohol, which can alter your hormones. Beer 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:
- Swelling and tenderness in your breasts
- Fibrocystic lumps
- Low sex drive
- Irregular menstrual periods
- Premenstrual syndrome
- Anxiety and panic attacks
- Weight gain
- Hair loss
- Cold hands or feet
- Memory problems
Too much estrogen can also increase a woman’s risk of:
What causes high estrogen symptoms in women?
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
- Phenothiazines, which can 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. They include anastrozole (Arimidex), exemestane (Aromasin), and letrozole (Femara). Other drugs stop your ovaries from producing estrogen, such as goserelin (Zoladex) and leuprolide (Lupron).
September 14, 2023
Janet O’Dell, RN