Be it fitness, bodybuilding, martial arts, judo, karate, weightlifting, powerlifting or general health, testosterone is one hormone that affects all of them. We just cannot simply get enough of it. As many would already know, testosterone is the primary hormone which makes up the basis for all kinds of other bodily functions. One can say without the existence of testosterone, life cannot sustain. But there is also another hormone similar to testosterone which is much less talked about and for a good reason. The reason being that people are afraid of it, especially men. That hormone is none other than ‘estrogen’. But why are people so afraid of it?
Estrogen has its fair share of horrors when it comes to men. Ideally, estrogen production in men is near to nil as compared to testosterone production. Estrogen is, however, required for a healthy cholesterol balance and healthy joint function. But its disadvantages greatly overwhelm its advantages in men. High Estrogen can lead to a multitude of health problems and unwanted effects on the male body.
An increase in estrogen levels in males may lead to frequent as well sudden episodes of depression. Depression is caused mainly due to the hormonal imbalance that is caused by the hike in the estrogen levels. This has also to do with the production of dopamine which is gravely reduced as estrogen levels increase.
Mood swings are common phenomena when a man experiences raised estrogen levels. Estrogen levels mess up the endocrine system and ultimately the HPTA. The HPTA or the hypothalamus pituitary testicular axis which is responsible for the production of various hormones such as dopamine, testosterone, oxytocin and many other
Another symptom of increased estrogen levels is the high amount of water retention around the body. This is especially seen around the waist, belly, hips and nipples. These are the places where the number of estrogen receptors is high, especially the region in the chest near the nipples. Water retention can have a hideous effect that can lead to a bloated look. Not only this, but it also causes problems regarding blood pressure.
Gynecomastia is a medical phenomenon where males start to develop breasts. It can simply be explained by the effect of estrogen on estrogen receptors. You see, estrogen in males is usually not that high in the first place, thus, the effects on estrogen receptors near the chest area are not present. However, in case the estrogen blood serum levels rise, the estrogen receptors become activated by their presence and start developing in size. This leads to the development of breast tissue under the nipples. Breast tissue in males is present since birth. It is only a matter of time before it starts to grow. Gynecomastia can be a huge menace and should be treated in time before it becomes irreversible.
Estrogen is also linked with reduced libido or sex drive. As we know testosterone is the primary hormone responsible for the sexual characteristics as well as sexual drive in males. Therefore, an increase in estrogen is usually associated with a dip in the sexual drive of the person concerned.
Erectile dysfunction or ED as many call it nowadays is one of the biggest growing medical issues in the world these days. Erectile dysfunction can be caused due to many factors such as stress, lack of sleep, the influence of certain drugs, food habits, medication, other health issues and last but not the least high estrogen. The estrogen hike also translates into a fall in testosterone levels and without the necessary testosterone blood serum levels, it is not possible to obtain a potent erection.
Muscular atrophy is another ill effect associated with high levels of the hormone estrogen. Estrogen, unlike androgens, is catabolic in nature, that is, they promote muscle loss and wasting. Therefore, an increase in estrogen will inevitably lead to loss of muscle tissues.
By now you must have understood that the increase in estrogen is usually seen with the decrease in testosterone levels. Thus, along with the loss of muscle tissue due to a fall in the testosterone in the body, you also tend to gain weight. This happens because of estrogen. Estrogen not only promotes weight gain and fat storage but also increases cravings for bad foods.
Estrogen levels may rise due to various reasons. These reasons are mentioned below!
Aromatization can be called nature’s way to counter balance the hormonal imbalances. But more often than not, it usually results in messing up our testosterone to estrogen ratio and eventually increasing our estrogen levels. You see, we all have a chemical substance called aromatase. Aromatase acts as an antagonist and binds itself to the free flowing testosterone and converts it to estrogen. This is often associated with decreased levels of testosterone because there is no known way of the opposite of this procedure. However bizarre this may sound but the opposite of this mechanism does not exist in the body. Thus it is very common for people with naturally high testosterone to experience estrogen related issues because of aromatization. Aromatization can also cause a major setback when one introduces exogenous testosterone to the body. Enhanced athletes who use anabolic agents and androgens to enhance their capabilities as an athlete, which is basically every other athlete nowadays, experience an increase in their estrogen levels due to this very mechanism.
Another similar hormone just like estrogen is progesterone. Progesterone is an antagonist to estrogen. However, they, in a way, feed off each other. Progesterone is especially known to feed on estrogen levels in the body. Vice versa, estrogen in the body is known to get stimulated by progesterone. Despite this fact, aromatase has no effect on progesterone. However, prolactin does have a correlation with progesterone levels and plays a major role in the development of Gynecomastia.
Food habits also play a major role in the levels of estrogen in men. Certain foods have been known to enhance the estrogenic activity in the human body. These foods are generally estrogen mimics. Estrogen mimics are foods that act as estrogens and eventually increase the estrogenic bioactivity in the body.
Foods like these leads to high estrogen level effects in the body
The immediate solution is, as the heading above suggests, not a sure shot cure for the long run and it is in no way a medical prescription. this solution is just a detour for those who may have been facing this problem and are unable to deal with it as doctors generally do not have any specific knowledge about it due to the lack of study and research on the subject.
Drugs like Femara, also known as Letrozole, and Exemestane, also known as Aromasin are drugs that fall into the category of 'Aromatase Inhibitors'. These drugs simply bind themselves to the aromatase enzyme and render it useless, thus, making the conversion of testosterone to estrogen impossible.
SERMs (Selective Estrogen Receptor Modulators)
Another category of drugs is the SERM's, or the selective estrogen receptor modulators. these drugs, unlike the aromatase inhibitors, do not engage in combat with the aromatase enzyme but instead attach themselves to the estrogen receptors in the body in order to compete with the existing estrogen in the body. The key thing to be noted here is that these compounds are also estrogens but very weak in nature. Drugs like Nolvadex or Tamoxifen Citrate, and Clomid or ClomipheneCitrate fall in this category.
Once again, the above-shared knowledge High estrogen effects, is for just the purpose of spreading some knowledge for information purposes only and in no way is a prescription. remember to always consult a doctor before taking any kind of chemical compound.
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