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Male MenopauseBy: DAVE WOYNAROWSKI, M.D.
Estrogen Toxicity...Not for Women Only!!!
By now you may be aware of the findings of the Women's Health Initiative released in the summer of 2002.
For those of you who aren't here is a brief summary of this study which involves many thousands of women. Like all studies of this size it is loaded with mistakes and problems. None the less it changed the approach to menopause in women perhaps forever.
Simply put, pundits of the study stated Estrogen is bad for postmenopausal women. It increases the risk of heart disease, stroke blood clots breast and uterine cancer and perhaps even dementia's like Alzheimer's Disease.
I will certainly address these findings in the future and my approach to hormone replacement in women called "Bioidentical Hormone Replacement" so don't fret!
But today I'd like to address the issue of Estrogen toxicity in men.
The male equivalent of menopause is called andropause. Unlike women, men can go through this process very slowly and at ages ranging from late 20's to early 80's. The hardiest of men never seem to go through it at all. I personally feel this pre selects them to live a long time!
Previously it was thought that the whole process was due to either testicular failure, or hypothalamic-pituitary failure.
In other words the testes could fail to make testosterone or the signal from the brain called LH could drop off.
In my personal experieince, younger men tend to suffer from pituitary failure and older men from testicular failure although this is by no means universal.
Those of you who own my "Hercules Factor" CD on Growth Hormone know that HGH plays a critical role in fat metabolism. As one ages and HGH levels go down fat accumulates.
In both men and women, fat cells contain a lot of an enzyme called "aromatase".
This enzyme is responsible for converting testosterone into estrogen.
You can see the cycle: you age HGH goes down body fat goes up, estrogen levels go up which causes you to make more fat cells which creates more aromatase, which leads to more estrogen which leads to more.....you get the picture.
In men, estrogen excess also signals the pituitary to make less LH which leads to decreased testosterone secretion in men form the testes.
The final nail in the coffin occurs when these high levels of estrogen cause a rise in a carrier protein in the blood stream called sex binding globulin. This gloms onto testosterone sites and decreases the availability of free testosterone which may already be declining from the aging process.
While this may sound very complicated there are a few simple take home points.
1) In both men and women excess estrogen is bad.
2) Excess estrogen in men is intimately tied in with the aging process and creates a "vicious cycle" perpetuating its own continuation.
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