What Is Estrogen? Effects, Treatments, and Maintaining Healthy Levels

Estrogen is one of the most important hormones in your body. estrogen helps to regulate many processes, including reproduction and development.

Estrogen levels can be too high or too low for different people, but what does estrogen do?

This article explores the effects that estrogen has on both men and women.

Is Estrogen Good Or Bad?

Estrogen is estrogen, it’s what your body needs however it must remain in balance.

When estrogen levels are too low, estrogen problems can result.

These estrogen problems include:

  • weight gain and depression in women,
  • erectile dysfunction in men,
  • decreased sex drive in both men and women alike.

Estrogen imbalance can also cause serious health issues that could lead to bone loss because of osteoporosis, breast cancer risk for women, heart disease risk because of high cholesterol levels.

Too much estrogen or not enough estrogen can lead to different issues so there must be a specific amount of each hormone during certain times

What does Estrogen Do to a Woman?

For women, estrogen is essential for fertility, reproduction, and sexual arousal.

It works with the estrogen receptors in a woman’s reproductive organs to trigger specific sexual responses.

For instance, estrogen helps to promote estrogen secretion from the ovaries and maintain optimal estrogen levels through puberty until menopause.

During pregnancy estrogen also directs the development of female sex organs, including mammary glands for breastfeeding.  

After menopause estrogen promotes estrogen balance in women.

Estrogen is crucial to the normal menstrual cycle, pregnancy, and other functions in women.  

The ovaries are responsible for estrogen production which peaks at puberty and after menopause.

Estrogens make up estrogen levels in both premenopausal and postmenopausal women.

What Does Lack of Estrogen Do To a Woman?

When estrogen levels drop, estrogen problems can present themselves.

The estrogen problems that women experience include:

  • Symptoms of estrogen deficiency are a lack or absence of menstruation for three months or more in perimenopause, also known as the menopausal transition stage.
  • There are other estrogen deficiency symptoms as well including anxiety and vaginal dryness among others.
  • Low estrogen levels cause bone loss from osteoporosis due to reduced estrogen’s effect on calcium absorption and retention in perimenopause and menopause.

In addition, the added effects of the male hormone testosterone may further increase the risk for osteoporosis during this time frame because it reduces estrogen production by causing an earlier change from estrogen to progesterone.

What Does High Estrogen Do To a Woman?

When estrogen levels are too high, a different set of problems can appear.

The possible side effects of estrogen toxicity include:

  • Headaches
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea

These are the most common estrogen toxicity symptoms due to too much estrogen.

Estrogen toxicity during pregnancy may cause birth defects in a developing baby.

What does Estrogen do to Men?

For men, estrogen has different functions than it does for women.

It doesn’t contribute to fertility like does in women because men make estrogen in low amounts naturally.

The estrogen in men is produced by the adrenal glands and testes.

Also, estrogen is responsible for muscle building and fat distribution, estrogen also contributes to sex drive in men.

Estrogen levels drop after birth but begin rising again around age 10-13 when puberty begins.

At puberty estrogen helps boys develop into men and girls into women, estrogen maintains sexual characteristics throughout adulthood especially during old age.  

Men with estrogen dominance show symptoms such as:

  • Reduction in libido (sex drive)
  • Decrease in bone density Prostate enlargement

For women, estrogen has different functions than it does for men.

It doesn’t contribute to fertility like does in women

The primary sex hormone men produce is Testosterone which we covered in a separate guide here on FASTR.

What Does Lack of Estrogen Do To Men?

Low estrogen levels in men can lead to osteoporosis, erectile dysfunction, and depression among other estrogen deficiency symptoms.

As with women estrogen also helps to promote calcium absorption by the bones as well as regulate bone formation causing bone loss if estrogen deficiency occurs.

What Does High Estrogen Do To Men?

High estrogen levels may cause gynecomastia, which causes abnormal development of breast tissue that leads to male breasts appearing more like female breasts; these are also known as man boobs or moobs.  

Often when men take part in Testosterone Replacement Therapy they’ll prescribe a separate medication to offset the negative impact on estrogen.

Some men convert testosterone to estrogen which often leads to developing male breast tissue.

That’s why it’s important to have a doctor to look over your labs and avoid using illegal steroids (not to be confused with these legal alternatives).

A popular medication is anastrozole which is an aromatase inhibitor that decreases the amount of estrogen that hits the bloodstream.

Other over-the-counter supplements to maintain healthy levels of estrogen is called DIM Estro.

Conclusion

Estrogen is the primary female hormone, estrogen can also be found in men but at much lower levels than what women experience.

When estrogen levels are too low or high it may cause all sorts of problems.

It’s important to remain in balance.

Other factors play a role into estrogen and testosterone absorption including SHBG (Sex Hormone Binding Globulin).

When you get your blood drawn, be sure the labs are doing a full panel that checks all of these levels as some will overlook SHBG due to not understanding how this plays a role into maintaining balanced levels.

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