Estrogen, Not Just Testosterone, Responsible For Male Sex Drive

Recommended by Dr. Michael White, Published on September 16th, 2013
Reading Time: 2 minutes

September 12, 2013

Michael Harper for Your Universe Online

Its not just a lack of testosterone -the hormone commonly associated with manliness -which can cause middle-aged men to gain weight and lose their sex drive. According to a new study by researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital, a drop in estrogen levels can also leave these men feeling flabby and less than amorous.

Testosterone has long been thought to be the culprit for a perceived stronger sex drive in men than in women. Yet this new study, published in the latest edition of the New England Journal of Medicine, finds that estrogen may also be responsible for guiding mens sex drives.

Its long been known that the body converts estrogen into testosterone, but this study furthers this understanding and casts a larger role for estrogen in the overall sex drive of men. Joel Finkelstein is an endocrinologist at Massachusetts General Hospital and authored this groundbreaking new study of hormones and sexuality.

This study establishes testosterone levels at which various physiological functions start to become impaired, which may help provide a rationale for determining which men should be treated with testosterone supplements, explains Finkelstein in a statement to the AFP.

What will surprise many people is that loss of sexual desire in men with low testosterone is due to lack of estrogen.

As men get into their 30s and 40s, their testosterone levels begin to drop, diminishing their muscle mass, reducing their sex drive and adding stubborn pounds to their midsections. Drug companies have successfully capitalized on this natural condition and labeled the transition low T syndrome in efforts to sell testosterone supplements to these men.

After studying nearly 300 healthy men, Finkelstein and his research team found that increases in estrogen were more responsible for the weight gain than decreases in testosterone levels.

The study participants were between the ages of 20 and 50, and were given supplements meant to suppress both hormones. Afterwards, half of the men were given either a testosterone-boosting gel or a placebo. The second group of men were given the testosterone gel and a drug which further lowered the production of estrogen.

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