Saturday, April 11, 2009

Estrogen Imbalancements in both Men and Women

Estrogen is a hormone most closely associated with females; many men are surprised to learn that estrogen is present in their bodies. But it is in fact essential for both men and women to have a properly balanced level of this hormone in order to function as well as possible. Imbalances can occur at any time in a person's life, but are most common as the body ages – in fact, it is a low estrogen level that triggers some of the dreaded symptoms of menopause in women. Whether you're male or female, the estrogen level tends to get a little “out of whack” as you get older. In women, it generally diminishes, leaving them with a lower-than-normal level. This can cause hot flashes, fatigue, a decreased sex drive, weight gain, depression, and vaginal dryness – and those are just some of the associated complaints.

Aging men often have the opposite problem: an excessive amount of estrogen, which also affects them adversely. A loss of libido and sexual function, an enlarged prostate, and an increased risk of heart attack or stroke are a few of the possible symptoms.

No matter if you're a man or a woman, a balanced estrogen level is necessary for good health. There are several lifestyle changes you can make that will help to naturally regulate estrogen production. Eat a healthy diet, limiting coffee and alcohol as much as possible. Certain foods are rich in natural estrogens – soy, flax seed, olives, eggplants, olives, and cherries, for example – so if your levels are low, you can try increasing your intake of those foods. Estrogen-inhibiting foods include cabbage, broccoli, corn, onions, and pineapple, so if your levels are high, it might be helpful to eat more of these.

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