The hormone estrogen is associated with the female gender and we don’t ordinarily think of it as being produced by men as well. However, as small amount of the male hormone testosterone is produced by women, similarly, small amount of estrogen is produced by men.
However, in the event that men produce more estrogen than the desired amount and this causes imbalance in relation to other hormones such as testosterone, this causes several problems:
- Estrogen dominance among men is known to cause enlargement of the prostate and prostate cancer.
- Other problems such as tumor or cancer of the testicles could also be due to estrogen dominance.
- It could cause men to grow breasts, which is known as Gynecomastia.
- Excessive estrogen production in men could cause men to experience lowered libido, and even impotency and erectile dysfunction.
- Even male pattern baldness is associated with this hormonal problem.
So what causes this estrogen dominance in men? This hormone imbalance in men is seen to be caused by several different factors:
- Obesity is a known culprit because fat cells are known to produce estrogen. And since that would typically mean that there is more unmetabolized estrogen in the system, which results in a vicious cycle that causes further weight gain.
- Alcoholism can also cause this hormone imbalance.
- Certain medical conditions such as pituitary disease or tumors of the testicles are also known to be responsible at times.
- Largely believed to be the culprit are Xenoestrogens, which are substances, found in the environment about us that mimic the function of estrogens in the body. These may be found in meat, particularly when it is commercially raised chicken, pork or beef which has been pumped with growth hormones for increased production and higher yields. Other items such as plastic (drinking water bottles, plastic wraps, etc.), Styrofoam and even certain cosmetics and personal care items contain Xenoestrogens. Artificial fragrances, particularly room deodorants may also be responsible. Pesticides, weed killers, solvents as well as lacquers and paints could also be responsible. Spermicide is also known to contain Xenoestrogens.
Leading a healthy lifestyle with enough and regular exercise, a healthy diet low in fat and high in fiber, drinking enough water and keeping weight in check can go a long way to controlling estrogen dominance in men.
Lowering alcohol consumption also has a beneficial effect. Sources of Xenoestrogens should be cut out of one’s life as far as possible. If required, certain supplements and medications can be prescribed to reverse this problem among men.