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Can Testosterone Convert To Estrogen And Vice Versa?

Transformation of Testosterone into Estradiol in Women

Can testosterone convert to estrogen in women? Yes. Experts state that an enzyme called aromatase transforms testosterone into estradiol. Estradiol is the primary form of estrogen in females who are not pregnant, over 30, but not yet in the menopausal stage.

Does free testosterone convert to estrogen in men? Yes. Testosterone in men can also convert to estrogen. If a man has too much estrogen in his system, issues such as gynecomastia (enlargement of the breasts) can occur, along with other problems.

Can estrogen convert to testosterone in men and women? No. Experts share that although testosterone can convert to estrogen, the opposite is not possible. Estrogen does not turn to testosterone, as there is no mechanism to allow that to occur.

What Happens If Too Much Testosterone Is Converted To Estrogen

Although testosterone can convert to estrogen, both sexes want to make sure that they have enough testosterone in their systems. They will often feel or see the effects if their bodies are depleted of this vital hormone (especially men). Here are some of the symptoms that can occur if too much testosterone converts to estrogen and depletes the body causing low T:

  • enlarged or swollen and painful breasts (in men)
  • low sexual libido
  • difficulty getting or maintaining an erection
  • erectile dysfunction
  • lack of vaginal lubrication
  • painful intercourse
  • weaker bones
  • increased fat mass
  • decreased lean body mass
  • tiredness
  • fatigue
  • lethargy
  • lack of strength
  • lack of stamina and endurance
  • irritability
  • mild depression
  • anxiety
  • mood swings
  • higher LDL cholesterol levels

In order to avoid these problems from occurring, one needs to make sure they understand the importance of having normal and balanced levels of both testosterone and estrogen in the body. Different amounts of each hormone are needed for men and women.

Why Does Testosterone Convert To Estrogen

Testosterone and Estrogen

For men who are dealing with low testosterone levels which cause depression, the body must convert its testosterone into estrogen to help minimize the depression (and anxiety as well), according to research that was published in the journal Biological Psychiatry. This research was done out of Florida State University College of Medicine.

The study was completed from a grant that was given to the school by the National Institute of Mental Health. The money was gifted to help scientists to discover how the conversion of testosterone into estrogen helps to minimize depression and anxiety in men. The study proved that this is a major reason that the testosterone hormones convert into estrogen in men.

It was already known that testosterone converts to estrogen (converted in the brain) to help protect males from depression and anxiety. The study gave further knowledge that until the testosterone was converted to estrogen, the anti-anxiety and anti-depressant effects could not take place.

How Does Testosterone Convert To Estrogen

According to the study published in Biological Psychiatry:

There is an enzyme in the brain that ‘mediates’ the conversion of testosterone into estrogen. We inhibited that enzyme in a specific brain area implicated in the regulation of mood. And when you do that, you lose the antidepressant effect of testosterone. So the conversion is very important.

This research shared that testosterone conversion to estrogen takes place in the hippocampus which is located in the brain. This is where the signals that will be sent to the body to deliver antidepressant and anti-anxiety effects originate.

How fast does testosterone convert to estrogen? The time it takes for one hormone to convert into another will depend upon the unique individual and their body chemistry and body composition. No two people are alike, so their hormonal balance will vary. What is important to pay attention to is the amounts of testosterone and estrogen that are in the body (for men and for women). When hormones are monitored with blood testing, a person has a greater chance of staying strong and healthy, both in mind and body.

Medically reviewed by   Reviewers National HRT Staff - Updated on November 21, 2023

Please note that the information provided in this article is for informational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment.


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