We know that oestrogen comes up frequently in women’s health discussion, but in case you aren’t aware, it should be pointed out that men also produce some amount of oestrogen naturally.
It plays a role in a man’s reproductive and cardiovascular system, as well as puberty. However, it should be pointed out that too much oestrogen in women is a primary cause of breast cancer.
In that same vein, men can face similar health problems. We may joke about “man boobs” with our friends and relatives, but one of the reasons they develop is due to oestrogen dominance.
When artificial oestrogen from food and xenoestrogens in the environment enter the male system, it starts to upset their natural hormonal balance.
One chemical commonly found in our surroundings, even in the form of daily household substances, is known as nonylphenol. It has been known to mimic natural hormones in our body, and binds itself to oestrogen receptors.
In the plastics industry, this chemical is used to protect plastics from oxidation. Nonylphenol is a versatile substance that binds easily with fats, making them ideal for use in paints, detergents, lubricating oils, toiletries and spermicide, but it also stays in the environment for long periods of time.
Symptoms of oestrogen dominance in men
As most men age, the levels of oestrogens, oestrogen look-alikes and xenoestrogen toxins increase, giving rise to the risk of various ailments, such as urinary problems, erectile dysfunction, low libido, fatigue and depression.
These men may also have reduced muscle development, reduced body hair, balding, sweat and body odour changes, as well as skin thinning, fat build-up and breast growth (man boobs). Health issues related to oestrogen dominance are prostate enlargement, benign prostate hypertrophy, and increased risk of prostate cancer, stroke and heart attack.
Treatment of oestrogen dominance
The falling level of hormones in men usually begins in their late 30s, and by age of 70, a man’s blood levels may have dropped by one-third to one-half.
If his oestrogen levels are too high relative to lowered testosterone levels, then he will experience health problems related to oestrogen dominance.
At the same time, many men are affected by excessive quantities of environmental oestrogens, particularly xenoestrogens that cause men’s progesterone levels to drop. Whether it’s age or environment causing oestrogen dominance, restoring the body’s hormone balance can dramatically work wonders to reverse the condition.
What you can do
Consume organic meat, fish and poultry. They will not contain any hormones, antibiotics or other growth stimulants. Consume organic vegetables and fruit grown without pesticides, herbicides or artificial fertilisers.
Avoid processed fried foods, which can contain trans fats that encourage the production of oestrogen. Avoid drinking recycled water. Synthetic hormones are not properly filtered out of municipal taps, and it has been tested and proven that traces of oestrogen in recycled tap water are present and are expected to keep rising.
Don’t scrimp on your dinnerware. Use glass, high quality stainless steel or ceramics to store food and drink. If you must use plastics, do not heat them or leave them in the sun. At home, try to avoid all chemical cleaners, deodorants, dyes, personal products, garden products, stationery and anything that gives off chemical smells.
Use as few chemicals as possible – stick to products made with natural ingredients that you are familiar with. A new car, new furniture, curtains (drapes), clothes, carpets and other household products give off toxic gas for a time.
Keep the windows open and minimise your exposure until the “new” smell dissipates. Lose weight and exercise. This will help avoid a build up of xenoestrogens in your body.
Natural progesterone therapy helps to protect against prostate problems, cancers and other male symptoms of oestrogen dominance. It is safe, with no toxic side-effects and is increasingly being used as an alternative to prostate surgery.
Progesterone, which is the precursor for making all the different hormones in the body, including testosterone, can greatly help reduce male hormone imbalance. Progesterone is like the natural “antagonist” (opposer) to oestrogen, and is increasingly being used by men to ward off oestrogen dominance, often in the form of bio- identical hormone replacement therapy.
You can also use natural progesterone creams to oppose the build up of xenoestrogens. Biodentical progesterone cream has a stimulatory effect when you first start using it. The progesterone activates cell’s oestrogen receptors, and you may even see a heightened level of oestrogen dominance symptoms.
The increase in symptoms usually last several days for some, but for others who have higher levels of oestrogens and xenoestrogens, it could last longer. How you can avoid the worsening of your symptoms is to use plenty of progesterone cream when you first start your treatment. The biggest mistake you can make is to use too little.
Do not start the treatment in small amounts. Instead, apply around 10-20mg daily to overcome the stimulatory effect of excess oestrogens. If your symptoms and toxic levels are severe, you could try to start with up to 100mg per day.
You should use progesterone cream a minimum of twice a day, as progesterone levels start to drop after 13 hours. After the initial symptoms have improved and you feel more stable, start reducing the amount of progesterone to a level that suits you and your symptoms. The reduction should always be done slowly over several weeks.
And of course, don’t forget, any type of treatment you undergo to reduce oestrogen dominance should be done under the supervision of a doctor.
By Datuk Dr. Nor Ashikin Mokhtar
Published in Star Newspaper, February 9, 2016