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First and foremost, there is a need to understand that testosterone and estrogen are no more looked upon as male and female hormones in the medical world. As both these hormones are present in men and women, but at different ratios.
Even till now the role of estrogen in male physical and reproductive health is not fully understood. Nonetheless, it is known that estrogen is needed for male health. Minute amounts of estrogens may even be produced by male testicles. However, most of the estrogen is created in the male body through the conversion of testosterone by a process called aromatization.
In healthy males, about 0.3% of testosterone is converted to estrogens in the liver, muscles, fat cell, and other body organs. Men are quite sensitive to this hormone and only need it in a tiny amount. However, things may differ if a man is on a high dose of testosterone (taking anabolic steroids). In that case levels of estrogen may also increase. It is vital to know that not all anabolic steroids go through aromatization.
Further, estrogen may rise in those taking steroids during off-periods (off the cycle). It may happen either as a rebound reaction or due to PCT (post cycle therapy) aimed at reviving natural production of testosterone.
How much testosterone will be converted to estrogens, or how severe will be rebound reaction will all depend on the genetics. Nevertheless, it is not something that is needed. High estrogens may have side effects like gynecomastia.
To escape the side effects of high estrogens, those taking steroids may also use medications to counter the adverse effects of estrogens. They may use antiestrogens, aromatase inhibitors or estrogen antagonists.
are principally same kind of drugs. These drugs do not destroy or reduce the production of estrogens. But they block the estrogen receptors in the body, so that estrogen cannot have any effect on the male organs.
Selective estrogen receptor modulators (SERMs) are a huge group of medications. These medications were created to treat breast cancer, gynecomastia, or help transgenders. They are widely used by those using steroids. In some cases, they may be used along with anabolic steroids, in other cases as a part of PCT. Some of the commonly used SERMs are tamoxifen (Nolvadex), clomiphene (Clomid), and raloxifene.
The second way to counter high estrogen levels in men is to prevent its production via aromatization, as in men most of the estrogen is produced due to the conversion of testosterone. Two most commonly used aromatase inhibitors used are anastrozole (Arimidex), and letrozole (Femara).
Estrogen antagonists or aromatase inhibitors should not be taken for a very long period, as in that case, they may worsen the estrogen rebound since the body will send estrogen deficiency signals to the brain (negative feedback).
Finally, antiestrogens are not only for men. They are also used by female athletes. High levels of estrogen are responsible for fat accumulation in upper arms, thighs, and hips in women. It means that female athletes may take antiestrogens to get ripped.