When you think of testosterone replacement therapy (if you think of it at all), your first thought, I imagine, does not go to high estrogen levels… because you’re a guy, right? But as testosterone replacement therapy (TRT) methods are updated, primarily to treat hypogonadism, misinformation continues to cause a lot of confusion as of late. Estrogen blocker’s role in TRT is not only beneficial, but also necessary in ways you may not think.
YES, ESTROGEN IS PRESENT IN MEN, TOO.
Most men associate estrogen with women only, but in reality, estrogen is a significant hormone in men as well. It plays a major role in men’s sexual function, cardiovascular health, and the balance of other hormones in the body, like testosterone. Too little estrogen in a man can increase the risk of cardiovascular issues, decrease sex drive/function, and cause bone loss. In turn, too much estrogen can cause an increase in sex hormone-binding globulin (SHBG), which binds to testosterone and makes it inactive. Higher levels of estrogen can also cause testosterone production to decrease, weight gain, breast enlargement, decreased muscle mass, lower energy levels, and bloating/water retention.
TRT CAN ELEVATE ESTROGEN LEVELS
Causes for high estrogen levels in men are generally common, yet overlooked in most cases. Obesity (having too much body fat) is a leading cause, with diet related factors coming in at a close second (too much soy/dairy products are known to elevate estrogen levels). And believe it or not, testosterone replacement therapy (TRT) can lead to elevated estrogen levels as well. I’ll explain.
In the simplest of terms, estrogen is produced in men naturally, but in low quantities. However, it can also be converted from testosterone through a process called aromatization. Aromatization is part of testosterone replacement therapy and can cause the development of female breast tissue or infertility. This is where estrogen blockers come into play: they work together to interrupt aromatase’s (enzyme) conversion plan, an unfortunate potential side effect of TRT.
TAKING ESTROGEN BLOCKERS
Prescription estrogen blockers, like anastrozole and exemestane, are intended not to reduce estrogen levels to zero, but to lower it to a more optimal level specific to the individual. Necessary blood work is performed to assess said levels before starting medications like these and patients should be monitored regularly to ensure estrogen stays in an ideal range. Estrogen blockers are usually taken twice a week.
Over-the-counter estrogen blockers like estroDIM, indole-3-carbinol, and calcium d-glucarate can also aid in blocking aromatase, but aren’t as strong as the prescriptions and need to be accompanied by diet changes (eating more vegetables like broccoli, cabbage, arugula, brussel sprouts, and cauliflower). Supplement manufacturers will claim that you will get shredded and bulk up by just adding one of these supplements to your daily routine, but unfortunately, this is not factual.
While estrogen blockers do play a major part in testosterone replacement therapy for men, adequately educating yourself about them and their role in TRT will allow you and your provider to better assess the need for them. Don’t buy into the hype and marketing gimmicks and be sure to ask as many questions as necessary. In many cases, estrogen blockers can be an effective tool to help regulate both estrogen and testosterone in men, but they must be used correctly.
Wondering if TRT is right for you? We can help. Call us at 404.480.5229 to schedule an assessment with one of our medical board-certified clinicians. For a limited time only, we are offering FREE lab work as part of a bio-wellness exam.
In good health,