The Side Effects of Estradiol — When A Man’s Body Has Too Much Estrogen
The side effects of estradiol, or rather, the symptoms of too much estradiol, in your body can be just as severe as the the effects of having too much testosterone in your body.
For men, estradiol is generally not something that we think about often (at least, as long as our bodies are healthy and functioning properly).
Even when, as we age, our body begins to produce progressively less testosterone, a condition often referred to as andropause or “manopause,”, we still seem almost hyper-focused, as though trained from birth, to only look at a single hormone: testosterone.
I blame popular culture (honestly).
This is why I believe so strongly in education when it comes to hormone replacement therapy—because most people, for better or for worse, are unaware that a woman’s body produces a small amount of testosterone and that a man’s body produces a small number of estrogens (of which estradiol is likely the most important).
Simplistic images and messages in popular culture focus on testosterone for men and estrogen for women, but it’s critical for you to understand that human bodies are much more complex than this—your body has many, many hormones active in it at any given time, no matter your sex, and they all matter.
If a hormone, any hormone, is thrown out of alignment (so to speak), your body can suffer. You’ll likely experience symptoms if the change from normal levels is severe.
There are so many possible causes, and so many possible side effects, of imbalance for each hormone that listing them here is a bit useless. However, we can pinpoint a few side effects of estradiol excess in the male body (and describe some possible causes).
Side Effects of Estradiol—What Happens When Your Body Makes Too Much
The side effects of estradiol levels in your body becoming too high depend a great deal on you and your body.
The normal range of estradiol levels in men is approximately 10–40 pg/mL, though of course your individual levels can vary outside of this, just as your testosterone levels can.
There are many reasons why your body may be producing too much estrogen. For instance, if you suffer from obesity, your excess fat can actually start producing additional estrogen beyond what your body already produces.
Another reason might simply be testosterone replacement therapy that’s practiced improperly. If your hormone levels are not being regularly, carefully measured, if you’re not receiving an aromatase inhibitor at appropriate levels, if your medical provider isn’t very, very careful about his or her methods, much of the extra testosterone being introduced into your body can be converted into excess estradiol.
Here are just a few of the side effects of estradiol reaching excessive levels in your body:
- Erectile dysfunction, loss of libido, infertility, and other types of sexual dysfunction
- Enlargement of, or development of, breasts
- Persistent fatigue or lack of energy
- Mood swings, anxiety, and/or depression
This is only a short list of the possible symptoms of high estradiol, but as you can see, it’s quite serious. As a man, your body is meant to have much more testosterone than estradiol, just as the reverse is true for a woman. If a woman has too much testosterone, she begins to develop male characteristics, so it only makes sense that the opposite is true for men.
What matters most is getting your levels checked. Start with a free consultation—we’ll discuss your symptoms, discuss testing options, and go from there.
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—Augie Galindo, PA-C