Let’s start with a list of low estrogen symptoms before moving into the discussion — this should help you decide if you’re in the right place.
Here’s what you might be experiencing if you’re a man with low estrogen levels:
- Sleeping too often
- Erectile dysfunction
- Sexual dysfunction
- Water retention
- Bone loss
- Fat accumulation
Sound familiar? It should — these are almost the exact same symptoms as low testosterone.
Low Estrogen Symptoms or Low Testosterone Symptoms? Why Not Both?
One common misconception we often come across is this: your body only has one major hormone, depending on your sex.
Testosterone for men. Estrogen for women.
The reality of our bodies is much more complex.
We’ve known for a long time that men and women have a whole slew of hormones active in their body at any given time. Men have small amounts of estrogen (and other hormones) active in their body at any given time, and the opposite is true for women (who have small amounts of testosterone in their bodies).
As a man, you need estrogen (even though it’s a tiny amount). Without it, you can start to experience some of the same symptoms that low testosterone would cause in your body.
So yes, you can have low testosterone by itself, or low estrogen by itself, but often, they go hand in hand.
There’s a reason for that:
Estrogen (Specifically, Estradiol) Is Derived From Testosterone
This is why the issue has been so clouded for so long — your body turns testosterone into estradiol (a type of estrogen) through the action of an enzyme called aromatase.
Which means that, if your testosterone is low, your body doesn’t have the raw materials needed create more estradiol.
So, if you have low testosterone, you may have low estrogen too. That’s why low testosterone symptoms and low estrogen symptoms often look so similar — they’re occurring at the same time, and it’s hard to separate out what’s causing what.
Fortunately, a few scientists decided to study the issue.
A few years ago, they conducted a study to see exactly how low estrogen affects men’s bodies. We reviewed the study at the time and explained what it meant in this blog post, but here’s a quick breakdown — the results were interesting, to say the least:
Basically, the study found that testosterone likely regulates lean mass, muscle size, and strength, while estrogen deficiency likely results in fat accumulation.
Both hormones seem to be responsible for sexual function.
All of this points back to something I’ve been saying for a long time — namely, that getting your body back to normal isn’t just about fixing one hormone.
It’s about evaluating all your hormones, finding what’s out of sync, and taking measures to get them all back to normal levels. You might have pretty severe low estrogen symptoms that simply don’t disappear by addressing only your estrogen levels.
Similarly, you might have some low testosterone symptoms that don’t disappear by only regulating your testosterone levels.
A comprehensive approach is called for.
Start With a Test
The only way to really figure out what’s going on with your body is to get your hormone levels tested. If you’re experiencing some of the low estrogen symptoms I’ve described, it’s actually more likely you have low testosterone.
—Augie Galindo, PA-C