Here are the signs to look for and how to get tested.
Estrogen levels play a big part in the health of your heart, in addition to the health of a whole lot of body parts, body systems, and body functions. It's in every male's interest to make sure he's in an estrogen sweet spot, regardless of age.
Noticeable Symptoms of High Estrogen:
- Increased abdominal fat
- Loss of muscle mass
- Low libido, decreased erectile function
- Increased fatty tissue around nipples
- Depression, emotional disturbances
- Lower urinary tract symptoms associated with benign prostatic hypertrophy (BPH)
Noticeable Symptoms of Low Estrogen:
- Decent erections but ho-hum orgasms
- Joint cracking or soreness
- Fatigue and depression
- Blunted emotions
- Possible weakening of adrenal glands
- Excessive jealousy
- Low blood pressure
- Excessive urination
Testing Estrogen Levels
It's important that every man establish an estrogen baseline, to which he can refer to, compare, and maybe even brag about to his grandchildren in coming years. Here's a list of the median estradiol levels by age, as established by the authors of a study that appeared in the journal Clinical Endocrinology:
- Age 2-29: 28.0 pg/ml
- Age 30-39: 25.7 pg/ml
- Age 40-49: 24.7 pg/ml
- Age 50-59: 22.1 pg/ml
- Age 60-69: 21.5 pg/ml
- Age 70-80: 21.9 pg/ml
How to Get Tested
There are pretty much only two ways to accurately test estrogen levels – via a 24-hour urine test or a blood test. The blood test is easier and less dangerously sloshy, of course, but make sure you insist that your doctor order a "sensitive" assay. (By default, most labs use the standard assay, which is designed for women.)
Furthermore, most labs use immunoassay techniques to test blood samples, which, when compared to other methods, show a variability rate of up to 53%. That kind of inaccuracy could lead to a physician treating a problem that doesn't even exist, e.g., treating a man for high estrogen levels when he's actually well within normal ranges, which could lead to disastrous consequences.
Labs should instead use Liquid Chromatography/Mass Spectroscopy, which is much more accurate when measuring hormone levels. There are specific lab codes that your ordering doctor should use. If he doesn't use them or doesn't know them, tell him what they are:
- LabCorp "Sensitive Estradiol" Code 140244, 500108
- Quest Diagnostics "Ultrasensitive Estradiol" Code 30289
- ARUP TMX Code 93247
- Mayo Clinic "Enhanced Estradiol" Code EEST
To further complicate issues, steroid hormone binding globulin (SHBG) also plays a role in estrogen levels. SHBG, as the name suggests, literally binds up a certain percentage of hormones, including both testosterone and estrogen, making them in all practicality inaccessible to the body.
Furthermore, as you get older, SHBG levels rise and bind up more hormone, so while estrogen levels might appear "normal," your amount of "free" estrogen might be too low. Ideally, both SHBG and estrogen blood levels should fall in the mid-range of normal values so that you can get an actual snapshot of your estrogen situation.
Now, what can you do to fix your estrogen levels? Check out the related links below.