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Although oestrogen is primarily found in a woman's body, it plays an important role in a man's body as well. Although produced in smaller amounts, oestrogen plays a part in both libido and sperm production. When oestrogen levels drop too low, oestrogen supplements may be used to help raise the concentration back to a normal level. However, too high of levels of oestrogen can create physical and emotional side effects in men.
Oestrogen is the primary hormone responsible for developing the sexual characteristics of women. As such, too much oestrogen in a man's body can facilitate the growth of breasts on men, also known as gynocomastia. High oestrogen levels may also decrease the size of a man's testicles; in young men going through puberty, it may affect the size and rate in which testicle growth occurs.
Oestrogen supplements may also interfere with the production of testosterone. In the brain on the hypothalamus are testosterone receptors. When oestrogen levels get too high, they can saturate these receptors, causing fewer signals to be sent to the pituitary gland telling it to make less of the luteinizing hormone. The luteinizing hormone is a necessary ingredient for the gonads to be able to produce testosterone.
Oestrogen supplements also can cause a drop in libido (sex drive) in men. Libido is largely dependent on the levels of testosterone in the body. As the excess oestrogen lowers the amount of testosterone being made, the male libido experiences a drop in activity.
An increased level of oestrogen can affect a man's mood stability. Oestrogen has been shown to both increase the production of norepinephrine as well as decrease the amounts of dopamine being produced in the body. Both of these neurotransmitters significantly contribute to mood stabilisation. A decrease in dopamine can cause depression, while an increase in norepinephrine can lead to agitation.
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- Oestrogen and Mood
- "Oestrogen and testosterone excretion in correlation with the testicle size," Z Kinderheilkd, Translated from the Ukrainian Medical Journal, 1974, 116(4):319-24.
- "Are oestrogens involved in falling sperm counts and disorders of the male reproductive tract?," Sharpe, R.M. and Skakkebaek, N.E., Lancet, May 29, 1993, 341(8857):1392-5.