There are three types of estrogen: estradiol, estriol, and estrone. Estradiol is the primary female sex hormone. Estriol and estrone are minor female sex hormones. Estriol is nearly undetectable in women who aren’t pregnant.
Although it’s called the female hormone, a man’s body also makes estrogen. A healthy balance of estrogen and testosterone is important for sexual growth and development. When these hormones become imbalanced, your sexual development and function may be affected.
Estrone is one of the lesser-known estrogens. It has very little activity compared to the more ubiquitous estradiol.
- Younger men and adolescent boys will generally have lower levels, depending on their stage of physical development
- There is some evidence that NSAIDs (like ibuprofen, naproxen, and aspirin) may also lower estrone levels, at least in men.
- Low estrogen levels contribute to nearly all of the symptoms associated with metabolic syndrome.
- In adult men, estrone levels should remain fairly constant throughout their lifetime.
- Certain foods like black tea, avocados, and grapefruit might help raise it.
- E2 levels in men and postmenopausal women are much lower than in nonpregnant women.
- Postmenopausal women and older men in the lowest quartile of E2 levels are at increased risk of osteoporotic fractures. E2 levels are typically less than 5 pg/mL.
- Testosterone supplementation
- Excessive aromatase activity (may be associated with obesity)
- DHEA supplementation
- Testicular, adrenal or hepatic tumors (may be associated with gynecomastia)
- Hepatic cirrhosis
Symptoms of high estrogen in men include:
- Infertility. Estrogen is partly responsible for creating healthy sperm. When estrogen levels are high, sperm levels may fall and lead to fertility issues.
- Gynecomastia. Estrogen may stimulate breast tissue growth. Men with too much estrogen may develop gynecomastia, a condition which leads to larger breasts.
- Erectile dysfunction (ED). Men with high levels of estrogen may have difficulty getting or maintaining an erection.
- Higher estrone levels are associated with an increased risk of incident type 2 diabetes.
- Estrone is a more sensitive marker of diabetes risk than is estradiol.
To help lower your estrogen levels, your doctor might recommend changes to your eating habits. For example, they might encourage you to eat a low-fat and high-fiber diet that includes:
- cruciferous vegetables
- red grapes
- flax seeds
- green tea
Your doctor might also encourage you to lose excess weight and/or prescribe medication or recommend surgery.
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