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Estrogen in Men: What Are The Risks of Imbalanced Levels?

Medically reviewed by 
Estrogen in Men: What Are The Risks of Imbalanced Levels?

While estrogen is traditionally thought of as the hormone associated with female physiology, it’s also crucial for male health. Though it can cause problems when present in high amounts in men, estrogen is needed for many body functions. It’s vital to achieve optimal male health and well-being. 

This article explores the role of estrogen in men and how to identify hormone imbalances, including estrogen irregularities in males.


What is Estrogen?

Estrogen, often called the female hormone, is a chemical messenger needed for optimal physical and cognitive functioning in men and women. Its forms include:

  • Estrone (E1): the form of estrogen that women continue to make after menopause. Men’s and women’s bodies both make E1 in the adrenal glands and body fat.
  • Estradiol (E2): a main form of estrogen in nonpregnant women of childbearing age. E2 is made in the ovaries of women and plays a vital role in fertility, bone health, and brain health. Men make small amounts of E2 in their testicles.
  • Estriol (E3): the form of estrogen that increases during pregnancy. Men and nonpregnant women possess very low levels of E3.

Estrogen Production and Function in Men

Men produce estrogen in their bodies using the aromatase enzyme, which converts testosterone into estrogen and works to provide an ideal testosterone: estrogen ratio.

The functions of estrogen in men include:

Maintaining an ideal estrogen level is extremely important for men to achieve optimal hormone balance and maximize their reproductive, mental, physical, and overall health. 

Normal Estrogen Levels in Men

Normal estrogen levels in men are as follows:

  • Estradiol (E2): 10 to 40 picograms per milliliter (pg/mL)
  • Estrone (E1): 10 to 60 picograms per milliliter (pg/mL)

Actual estrogen levels in men vary by age, health conditions, and lifestyle habits. 

Patients with levels above or below a desirable range or who exhibit symptoms of estrogen or testosterone imbalance should see a healthcare provider for an evaluation and lab testing. 

The Importance of Having Normal Estrogen Levels

Maintaining balanced estrogen optimizes mood, cognitive performance, and sexual wellness in men and women while reducing the risk of medical complications.

Studies show that estrogen balance is vital in men for regulating libido (sex drive), sperm production, and erectile functioning. Estrogen in men also contributes to the normal functioning of healthy cardiovascular, skeletal, and central nervous systems. 

Estrogen or testosterone imbalances in men may lead to an array of bothersome symptoms, which can negatively impact their quality of life. 

Health Implications of Imbalanced Estrogen Levels

The health implications men may face depend on the type of estrogen imbalance (too high or too low) they struggle with.

High Estrogen Levels in Men

The causes and symptoms of high estrogen levels include:


Synthetic xenoestrogens are environmental chemicals with estrogen-like properties. Examples include phthalates and bisphenol A (BPA), which are present in some plastics, pesticides, shampoos, soaps, and household cleaning products.


The symptoms of high estrogen in men include:

  • Gynecomastia (enlarged breasts)
  • Infertility (inability to get a partner pregnant)
  • Erectile dysfunction (ED

Studies show that men with higher levels of estradiol had increases in psychological distress and spontaneous erections. 

Low Estrogen Levels in Men

Examples of causes and symptoms of low estrogen in men include:


The cause isn’t always known, and low estrogen may develop because of more than one condition. 

Symptoms and health risks

Symptoms of low estrogen in men may include:

Potential health risks associated with low estrogen in men include mood disorders and cardiovascular diseases.

Managing Estrogen Levels in Men

Ways to assess and properly manage estrogen levels in men include:

Diagnosing Estrogen Imbalances

Blood, urine, or saliva estrogen testing can establish a man’s estrogen levels and whether or not he needs treatment for low or high estrogen. There’s no special preparation needed before completing estrogen lab tests.

Providers also discuss the patient’s medical history, review their symptoms, and complete a physical exam to look for signs of an estrogen imbalance and potential underlying causes.

Estrogen lab test results could vary based on a man’s age, lifestyle, and the form of estrogen measured. Individuals might need to be tested more than once to look for estrogen level trends over time, as they typically fluctuate often. Providers use the results to determine the best next steps to achieving hormone balance and optimal health. 

Treatment and Management Strategies

Several treatments and management strategies exist for estrogen imbalance in men. Examples include:

  • Hormone replacement therapy (HRT)
  • Medications (aromatase inhibitors) 
  • Weight management
  • Dietary interventions
  • Exercise
  • Other healthy lifestyle habits

Ways to naturally balance estrogen in men include eating a well-balanced diet (including phytoestrogens to naturally increase estrogen in individuals with low estrogen), exercising most days of the week, getting enough sleep, and minimizing stress. Try relaxation techniques, including meditation, yoga, deep breathing, massage, or tai chi.

Examples of ways to decrease estrogen or optimize male hormone balance include:

Individuals can minimize xenoestrogen exposure by choosing whole, organic foods whenever possible and avoiding certain plastics and other potentially harmful endocrine disruptors


Key Takeaways

Estrogen is more than simply a “female hormone.” Recognizing the signs and symptoms of unbalanced estrogen in men is crucial, yet sometimes neglected by patients or providers. Estrogen balance is a vital component of men’s health, as it’s needed for proper sexual functioning and optimal brain, heart, bone, nervous system, skin, and muscle health. 

Numerous factors may contribute to excess or insufficient estrogen production in men. Determining the potential causes, properly diagnosing hormone imbalance with lab testing, and treating it effectively are key.

The information provided is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always consult with your doctor or other qualified healthcare provider before taking any dietary supplement or making any changes to your diet or exercise routine.
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