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Ask the Medical Expert Archives 2000-2004

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Estrogen for Men?
October 2000

Q. What are some of the conditions that would cause a doctor to prescribe estrogen hormones for men? I know it is used to treat women, but have heard it is used for men for things such as the prostrate.

A. This is a very interesting question. Certainly, there are huge male - female differences, and many of these have been ascribed to the presence of estrogen in women. Estrogen has long been thought to be beneficial to women in decreasing heart disease, and some have used it in men (http://www.heartinfo.org/news97/hrtmen102197.htm). However, this particular study is not conclusive, and recent additional evidence has shown that estrogen's effect on women may not be as positive as we originally thought.

Some people have tried to use estrogen as a treatment for Alzheimer's disease in women (http://www.alzheimers.com/health_library/treatment/treatment_02_estro.html), and so a doctor may consider trying this in men. However, again, the evidence for the benefits of estrogen in treating Alzheimer's disease is not 100% conclusive.

http://www.swmed.edu/home_pages/news/estrogen.htm contains a nice description of estrogen use in men. It suggests that estrogen deficiency may cause men to grow taller.

Finally, the following site (http://www.nutritionreporter.com/men's_health_issues.html) provides a discussion of how estrogen and even natural treatments that have low estrogen activity may be beneficial in the prevention or treatment of prostate cancer.

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