High estrogen levels in men can cause of variety of symptoms, including a lower sex drive, bloating, weight gain, and prostate problems. Estrogen levels above normal can also cause a condition known as gynecomastia. Increased estrogen levels in men may be beneficial in some males because estrogen helps the body absorb a higher amount of calcium, and it can be an effective tool for fighting the spread of some cancers. Some men also receive estrogen during sex change transformation treatments.
Estrogen is a hormone produced by both males and females, but females naturally have a much higher level of estrogen, especially during the woman’s fertile years. Men produce estrogen in the adrenal glands and testes along with androgens. The levels of estrogen production increases as a man ages, and during that time a man’s levels of adrogens, such as testosterone, falls.
Higher than normal estrogen levels in men can counter the effects of testosterone hormones, which are responsible for the male’s sex drive, hair growth, and common male characteristics, such as an adam’s apple, deep voice, low body fat ratio, and amounts of body hair. Estrogen may cause weight gain, irritability or depression from an unstable hormone balance, or impotency in men. Higher levels of estrogen in men can also cause bloating or swollen breasts.
Men can also develop gynecomastia as a result of high estrogen levels in men. Gynecomastia is a condition where the breast tissue in men becomes enlarged or swollen, causing pain and discomfort. The condition can cause psychological effects in men who feel embarrassed and ashamed of the developing breasts. Enlargement of the breasts may go away within a few months, but sometimes a surgical procedure is necessary. Surgery will create scars, and this is another compounding issue of healing from the condition.
Estrogen can also have beneficial effects for men. Treatment options for testosterone receptive cancers, such as some types of prostate cancer, utilize estrogen hormone therapy to trick the body into thinking that estrogen is actually testosterone. This causes the body to reduce or stop the production of testosterone, which is actually causing the testosterone-receptive cancerous cells to grow and spread.
High estrogen levels in men are also beneficial during a gender reassignment because the synthetic hormones will cause female characteristics to develop in men. Along with products that reduce the male’s natural production of androgens, the increase in estrogen and progesterone will help the male during the transition. Hormone levels and hormone therapy options should be discussed with a physician.