What is Estrogen?
Estrogen is known as the “female” hormone. The four major naturally occurring estrogens in women are estrone (E1), estradiol (E2), estriol (E3), and estetrol (E4).
Although estrogen is identified with a females, it is also found in men.
In women, estrogen helps initiate sexual development, regulates a menstrual cycles and affects the entire reproductive system.
In men, estrogen also plays an important role in sexual function. As teenagers, men have high levels of testosterone and low levels of estrogen. As they age, testosterone levels in men decrease while their estrogen levels increase.
Estradiol (E2) in men is essential for modulating libido, erectile function, and spermatogenesis. Estrogen receptors, as well as aromatase, the enzyme that converts testosterone to estrogen, are abundant in brain, penis, and testis, organs important for sexual function. In the brain, estradiol (E2) synthesis is increased in areas related to sexual arousal. In addition, in the penis, estrogen receptors are found. Low testosterone and elevated estrogen increase the incidence of erectile dysfunction independently of one another.
Normal estrogen levels in men:
The following estrone and estradiol levels are considered normal for men:
|Prepubescent male||Undetectable–16 pg/ml||Undetectable–13 pg/ml|
|Pubescent male||Undetectable–60 pg/ml||Undetectable–40 pg/ml|
|Adult male||10–60 pg/ml||10–40 pg/ml|
- Infertility. Estrogen is partly responsible for creating healthy sperm. When estrogen levels are high, sperm levels may fall and lead to fertility issues.
- Gynecomastia. Estrogen may stimulate breast tissue growth. Men with too much estrogen may develop gynecomastia, a condition which leads to larger breasts.
- Erectile dysfunction (ED). Men with high levels of estrogen may have difficulty getting or maintaining an erection.
- The role of estradiol in male reproductive function [L]