- Men's Health & Wellness
Estrogen Dominance in Men: Causes, Effects, and How To Avoid It
Estrogen dominance is a growing health concern for people around the world. Although it is more common in women than men, it can also affect men, causing such problems as infertility, erectile dysfunction, enlarged prostate, and certain types of cancer.
Although estrogen is best known as a female hormone, it is naturally produced by the male body in small amounts. Estrogen dominance is a hormone imbalance that occurs when levels of the hormone estrogen are too high in relation to other hormones in the body. It can be caused either by excessive production of estrogen or insufficient production of other hormones, such as testosterone and progesterone.
Although estrogen dominance in men is most commonly caused by factors such as obesity, alcoholism, or exposure to a form of environmental estrogen called xenoestrogens, it can be caused by a number of serious medical problems, including pituitary diseases and testicular tumors. If you suspect you may have estrogen dominance, consult your doctor immediately.
Symptoms of Excessive Estrogen in Men
The symptoms of estrogen dominance in men include:
- Low sex drive
- Impotency/erectile dysfunction
- Gynecomastia, or "man boobs"
- Weight gain
- Enlarged prostate
- Prostate cancer
- Testicular cancer
How to Avoid Estrogen Dominance
- Maintain a healthy weight. Estrogen is produced by fat cells, so one of the most common causes of estrogen dominance in both men and women is obesity.
- Drink 6-8 glasses of water daily. Staying hydrated helps maintain kidney function and encourage healthy hormone balance.
- Eat a diet high in fiber. Dietary fiber binds to excess estrogen and removes it from the body as waste. It also helps prevent constipation, which exacerbates estrogen dominance.
- Exercise regularly. Regular exercise promotes healthy hormone balance.
- Drink alcohol in moderation, or not at all. Alcohol is an "estrogenic" substance, meaning it causes the body to produce more estrogen. It also interferes with the kidneys' ability to remove excessive estrogen from the body. Alcoholism is another common cause of estrogen dominance in men.
- Avoid xenoestrogens. Xenoestrogens are a type of foreign (often man-made) substance called endocrine disruptors that mimic the behavior of estrogen in the body. They are found in many everyday household substances, including foods, and a growing number of scientists believe that they are one of the main contributing factors to the growing epidemic of estrogen dominance around the world. For many people, the most common sources include meat and dairy products raised with the use of growth hormones, chemical pesticides and herbicides consumed on food or used in the home or garden, certain types of plastic products, and certain types of health and beauty products. To learn more about how to avoid xenoestrogens, read Reducing Exposure to Xenoestrogens.