Janice Stanger, PhD

Janice Stanger, PhD

Posted May 23, 2017

Published in Health

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Estrogen and Testosterone: Problems With Keeping Them Balanced

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How Can You Keep Your Hormones At the Best Levels?

Modern lifestyles contribute to unbalanced, excessive, or deficient levels of estrogen, testosterone, and other sex hormones in men and women. This may result in unpleasant outcomes - such as low sex drive or infertility - as well as to dangerous diseases - including cancer and heart disease. Here's key information you need to make choices to help keep your sex hormones balanced.

You might not be aware that women produce and use testosterone, and men produce and use estrogen. The bodies of both sexes can convert testosterone into estrogen. So all sex hormones are important to you, whether you are male or female.

Balancing Strategy One: Carefully Consider Before Taking Supplementary Hormones

Some people have diagnosed medical conditions which may be treated with supplementary estrogen or testosterone. Before deciding whether to use hormones if you have one of these conditions, be sure you thoroughly understand potential benefits and risks, and weigh these carefully. Consider if there are alternative evidence-based treatments. If you use oral contraceptives, be sure to understand possible side-effects.

Millions of people seek supplementary hormones for vague purposes, such as weight loss, low energy, or a quest to regain lost youthfulness. In this case, the risks are likely to outweigh potential benefits. This is true regardless of whether you use FDA-approved or compounded "bioidentical" hormones.

The National Toxicology Program of the Department of Health and Human Services classifies estrogen as a know human carcinogen, associated with both uterine and breast cancer. Supplementary or excessive estrogen has also been linked to ovarian cancer, prostate cancer, dementia, and stroke.

The dangers of testosterone supplements are not as well understood, with studies finding different outcomes. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) requires labeling of prescription testosterone products for safety risks affecting the heart and mental health, as well as the potential for abuse. If you take these supplements, benefits, if any, may be small and fleeting. A recent medical journal editorial titled "Testosterone and Male Aging: Faltering Hope for Rejuvenation" states "the sole unequivocal indication for testosterone treatment is as replacement therapy for men with disorders of the reproductive system."

Click here to learn about two more hormone-balancing strategies