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Generally speaking, the primary use of anastrozole for men is to suppress the production of estrogen, the main female sex hormones. The drug is often prescribed as a hormone treatment for women who are suffering from breast cancer in their post-menopausal stages, but in rare cases when a male patient has breast cancer, anastrozole may also be a treatment option. Usage of anastrozole is also often observed in bodybuilders who want to maintain their masculine and muscular physique, especially for those who may be taking steroids. Anastrozole may also be a part of treatment for men suffering from prostate cancer.
The suppression of estrogen, specifically the hormone estradiol, is often necessary for men who have hormone disorders. Elevated levels of the female hormone in men can be manifested in gynecomastia or growth of breasts in males and hypogonadism or the reduced function of the testes. In worse cases, excessive estrogen may put men at higher risk for having prostate cancer and cardiovascular diseases. Prescribing anastrozole for men in these situations has shown significant decrease of estradiol levels and, therefore, a decrease in symptoms and risks.
Estrogen suppression is also an important factor in breast cancer treatment, as studies have proven that breast cancer cells actually feed on estrogen to multiply and make the cancer worse. Anastrozole prevents the hormone androgen, the male sex hormone, from converting into estrogen, thus decreasing the levels of estrogen in the body. Anastrozole for men is usually a common treatment option for male breast cancer patients, as both the female and male types of breast cancer are pathologically similar.
Another use of anastrozole for men is to maintain a powerfully-built and bulky physique among bodybuilders, especially those who take anabolic steroids. One function of steroids is that it mimics the actions of naturally occurring testosterone, resulting in the increase of protein levels, muscle buildup, and strength improvement. Ironically, the excessive levels of testosterone and testosterone-like drugs signal the body to convert the male hormones into estradiol, which can lead to development of female features such as breasts and fat retention. Bodybuilders counter this hormone conversion by using anastrozole, but usage is often mishandled and may produce more adverse effects.
Hormones have also been seen to increase occurrences of prostate cancer, especially for older patients or those who are in the advanced stages of the disease. Patients are often prescribed medication that reduces testosterone levels in order to prevent the cancer from spreading, but some studies have shown the estrogen may also enlarge the prostate and promote growth of the cancer. Doctors prescribe anastrozole to ensure the maintenance of low estrogen levels, especially because there is an increase of estrogen among older men.