In case you don’t know what estrogen is, it is regarded as the primary female sex hormone because women produce more estrogen in their bodies than men, while testosterone is regarded as the primary male sex hormone because men produce more of it than women.
Men and women produce both testosterone and estrogen hormones. The difference is the balance of these two hormones in our bodies.
I have always associated sex drive with testosterone levels only but according to a recent study conducted by The Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) and published in the New England Journal of Medicine, we men require estrogen to sustain our sex drive as we grow older.
In the study, the researchers induced estrogen deficiency artificially in the participants in controlled setting – basically, the researchers recreated the kind of hormone deficiency that is usually noticed in aging men.
The Findings Of The Study On Men’s Sex Drive And Estrogen Levels
From 1993 – 2000, the prescriptions for drugs used in treating low testosterone in men has increased by more than 6 times and it is still increasing.
Low testosterone is a problem for men as we grow older – doctors already know about it but there have been few studies conducted to find out the amount of testosterone we need to support some of the functions that get affected as a result of low testosterone.
The Massachusetts General Hospital Endocrine Unit researchers where trying to find these questions about testosterone and estrogen and the effects it had on sex drive change as men grow older. The researchers stumbled across a surprising finding:
“The research study determined the particular testosterone levels at which different body functions gradually begin to weaken. This may assist in providing a basis for finding out the kind of men that actually need to take testosterone supplements”… this is according to Joel Finkelstein MD (the research study author).
However, the biggest revelation was that some of the signs that were commonly attributed to low testosterone in men are in part or fully caused by a reduction in estrogen levels that is an inseparable effect of lower testosterone levels.
The research study also discovered that:
- A man’s sexual desire reduces as his testosterone level reduces.
- Erectile dysfunction only becomes an issue when a man’s testosterone levels are extremely low.
- When estrogen levels of the participants were artificially suppressed, all levels of sexual function reduced irrespective of their levels of testosterone.
What this means for the treatment of men with low testosterone is that it helps doctors in knowing just how much testosterone supplements to prescribe to maintain certain body functions and it also indicates that current form of testosterone therapy should also include estrogen for it to be really helpful to men that need it.