Estrogen and testosterone hormones are both present in the male and female bodies to help with sexual development and other important functions. Estrogen levels are naturally higher in female and lower in male while testosterone is higher in male and lower in the female. Both of these hormones function optimally when their levels are balanced, not too high nor too low.
In females, estrogen helps regulate menstruation and reproductive cycle. In a male, it helps control sex drive, erection, and sperm production. As men age, their testosterone levels naturally decline while estrogen levels tend to rise. This isn’t a cause for concern unless it’s abnormally high and tends to become risk factors for certain serious health issues including cancer.
The key is to maintain healthy levels. Estrogen tests are not that pricey, so you can have your levels checked without hurting your budget. When you have too much estrogen in your body, you will encounter the following symptoms:
Too much estrogen in boys can delay puberty and slow their growth.
Higher estrogen levels can cause breast enlargement in men due to the development of more breast tissue.
Erection problems are often associated with low testosterone levels. But the same will happen when your estrogen levels are too high. You will have difficulty achieving or maintaining an erection.
A balanced level of estrogen helps in sperm production. But an overload of it may cause problems, leading to infertility.
Other symptoms of too much estrogen include low sex drive, exhaustion, hair loss, muscle mass loss, bone loss, hot flashes, and poor concentration.
While abnormally high levels of estrogen can alter the height in adolescent boys and cause bone and muscle mass loss and sexually related issues in adults, an overload of this hormone in older men can pose serious health risks.
Aging men whose testosterone starts to decline can gain excess weight and produce more aromatase, an enzyme that converts testosterone into estrogen. This process can hasten the decline of testosterone levels and cause estrogen levels to rise, leading to the following health concerns:
In a study, researchers found that men with coronary atherosclerosis had low testosterone levels, low testosterone/estradiol ratio and free androgen index, and higher levels of estrone, a potent estrogen. The abnormal combination of these hormones was also found to have many features of metabolic syndrome including the pathogenesis of coronary atherosclerosis.
Another study found that estradiol can elevate the levels of triglycerides in men with coronary atherosclerosis.
Higher levels of estrogen are also associated with an increased risk of stroke. Stroke, the third leading cause of death and age-related disability, is often triggered by abnormal blood clotting in the blood vessels of the brain. Too much estrogen has been found to promote abnormal blood clots.
Researchers found that men with the highest blood levels of estradiol, another potent estrogen, were at a greater risk of stroke compared to their counterparts who had low estradiol blood levels.
Another serious form of blood clotting that leads to death is thrombus, which occurs within the vascular system and impedes blood flow. Thrombus can impact blood flow to the heart and lungs. Excessive estrogen predisposes patients to thrombosis. One study showed that men who suffered from acute heart attacks were found to have higher estradiol levels and lower testosterone.
Carotid artery disease is another serious illness caused by elevated estrogen levels. In a study involving men with an average age of 58, the higher levels of estradiol worsened the thickening of their carotid artery wall within three years. This also doubled their risks of heart attack and stroke.
A recent study compared the testosterone and estradiol blood levels of men who suffered from myocardial infarction or heart attack with those of men who had previously endured heart attack and those free of coronary disease. The researchers found that heart attack victims had higher levels of estradiol and low testosterone.
Osteoporosis is often linked to aging individuals due to the loss of bone mass associated with aging. But compared to women, men have an increased risk of dying after suffering from a bone fracture.
In a study, men with higher levels of estradiol and low testosterone had a higher risk of hip fracture while those with low levels of both testosterone and estradiol had a higher incidence of hip fractures.
Your body normally produces hormones that are crucial for your health and survival. If you’re a healthy individual, your body can regulate these hormones to function optimally. But as you age, hormonal changes can take its toll and may leave you with the above diseases. Don’t wait for these things to occur before taking the reins of your health in your hands. Your best move to survive through the aging process is to keep your body healthy by eating the right food, exercising, and leading a healthy lifestyle.
However, this can be challenging when your testosterone levels start to decline as this can skyrocket your estrogen levels, especially when you have abdominal fats. Testosterone starts to decline by the age of 30. If you’re anywhere beyond this age, maintaining healthy testosterone levels could be a key. You can do this by taking supplements along with the right nutrition and a vigorous workout.