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Estrogen for men might treat several disorders if administered in small doses, including osteoporosis, an enlarged prostate, and depression. It may also provide some protection against death after heart failure, and slow male baldness. Estrogen, found naturally in the body, promotes healthy sperm and brain function.
Men and women produce estrogen, called estrone in men. An enzyme synthesizes estrogen from testosterone in small amounts in the male body. Estrone regulates a man’s reproductive system and sex drive, while normal levels maintain heart rate.
Doctors might prescribe estrogen for men with enlarged prostates and prostate cancers. This therapy began in the 1950s, but its use declined because of unwanted side effects. Estrogen is still recommended for patients who do not respond to medication and other treatment to cure prostate cancer. Finding the right dose of estrogen for men is difficult because studies link too much male estrogen and low levels of estrogen to prostate cancer.
A Polish study found a connection between estrogen for men and fatalities after heart attacks. Researchers discovered men with the lowest levels of estrone were four times as likely to die from heart failure. Male patients with the highest levels faced twice the risk of dying. Among the research participants, those with average estrogen levels lived longest, but no definitive data linking cause and effect emerged from measuring estrogen in men.
Estrogen dominance reflects a medical term that describes high levels of estrogen in men. As a man ages, his body produces less testosterone, which typically leads to higher levels of female hormones. Some medications and steroids might also lead to the disorder, along with excessive alcohol use. Estrogen dominance may also develop in obese men and those with certain unrelated diseases.
Signs of estrogen dominance include weight gain and enlarged breasts. A man might also experience sexual dysfunction or lose interest in sex. His voice might change and the amount of facial hair may decrease when estrogen levels rise, and the body may take on a feminine appearance.
Estrogen for men typically reduces the prevalence of acne and might slow down the balding process. Conversely, if estrone levels go too high, gall bladder and liver disorders might develop. Men also face estrogen exposure through pesticides and growth hormones fed to livestock.