Losing weight is certainly worth a try. It is impressive that your
doctor offered this as a first step, rather than encouraging you to
dive right in to hormone therapy. Obesity can lead to so many other
serious diseases that a concerted effort to lose the weight and see
how it impacts your sex drive is an excellent first step to
approaching a solution to your problem. If further tests determine
that your testosterone levels are, in fact, low, then hormone therapy
might be a consideration. Either way, you should consider losing the
excess weight for the long-term health benefits.
I found a few articles that specifically mention a correlation between
obesity and increased estrogen levels in males. There are also several
articles confirming the relation of obesity to a lowered sex drive.
LINK BETWEEN ESTROGEN LEVELS AND OBESITY IN MEN
From "Breast Cancer in Men." Fact Sheet #43. September 2001
"Obese men have higher levels of estrogen in their bodies because fat
cells produce estrogen from other hormones. Risk increases, from three
to five times that of average weight men, have been reported for very
From "Male Menopause" - Does It Exist?" by RoseMarie Pierce, B.Sc.
Pharm., "The Holistic Pharmacist"
"In many cases, obesity, especially in the abdominal area, is
attributed to male hormonal imbalances. Fat cells contain large
amounts of the aromatase enzyme, and estrogen is stored and
manufactured in fat. Fat cells synthesize the aromatase enzyme,
causing male hormones to be converted to estrogen. Therefore, an
increase in fat will cause estrogen levels to go up. Eating high-fat
foods may reduce the levels of free (active) testosterone. A
fat-containing meal can reduce free testosterone levels for about 4
hours. Central obesity (potbelly) is recognized as a risk factor for
cardiovascular disease and type II diabetes. Obese men suffer from
testosterone deficiency caused by the production of excess aromatase
enzyme in fat cells and also from the fat they consume in their diet."
"Medical doctor, Eugene Shippen in his book, The Testosterone
Syndrome, states that alcohol, grapefruit and a number of drugs:
NSAIDS, antibiotics, analgesics, antibiotics, antifungal agents,
anti-lipid agents (statins), SSRI type anti-depressants,
beta-blockers, calcium channel blockers and abusive substances such as
marijuana, cocaine and amphetamines inhibit the liver?s primary
processing enzyme system known as P450. This results in slower
metabolism or breakdown of estrogen and therefore, increased estrogen
levels in the body. Substances that increase the P450 enzyme system
and decrease estrogen levels include: high-dose vitamin C (1-3 grams),
niacin (all the B vitamins are valuable during andropause), soy
protein, cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, cauliflower), oysters, and
grape seed extract."
From "Estrogen: The Unrecognized Male Hormone," by Rick Cohen MD.
"But due to aging, body fat, hormonal replacement, pesticides,
nutritional deficiencies, prescription medications and excessive
alcohol intake many men experience high levels of estrogen which are
detrimental to their health. In fact, studies have shown that the
estrogen levels of the average 54-year-old man is higher than those of
the average 59-year-old women! The end result is that these high
levels of estrogen can cause reduced levels of testosterone, fatigue,
loss of muscle tone, increased body fat, loss of libido and sexual
function and an enlarged prostate."
RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN OBESITY AND SEX DRIVE
From "Better Sex: What's Weight Got to Do with It? - Being overweight
does affect your libido. But small changes can jump-start your sex
drive," by Colette Bouchez. WebMD Weightloss Clinic. March 25, 2005.
"New research suggests certain physical conditions that go along with
obesity also affect sex drive, further dampening the desires of those
who are overweight. The good news: You can make some changes to your
body (and how you think about your body) to enhance your libido."
"According to a recent study conducted by Binks and his colleagues at
Duke, up to 30% of obese people seeking help controlling their weight
indicate problems with sex drive, desire, performance, or all three.
Often, the latest research shows, these problems can be traced to
physical conditions that co-exist with obesity.
"Medical conditions such as high cholesterol and insulin resistance
[an early indicator of type 2 diabetes] do have the ability to impact
sexual performance, which in turn impacts desire, particularly in
men," says Andrew McCollough, MD, director of sexual health and male
infertility at NYU Medical Center in New York."
"Because both conditions can cause the tiny arteries in the penis to
shut down, particularly when vessel-clogging fatty deposits begin to
form, McCollough says impotence or erectile dysfunction is often the
"A man who has problems having an erection is going to lose his desire
for sex in not too long a time," says McCollough."
"Men aren't alone with sex problems caused by poor blood flow.
Research shows overweight women's sex drive and desire are affected by
the same problem."
From "Lack of sex drive." Your Family Doctor.
"How common is lack of libido in men? It's far less common than
impotence - with which it should not be confused. Impotence (erectile
dysfunction or ED) affects tens of thousands of British males. But
most of them have perfectly normal levels of desire - and would like
to have sex if they could manage it."
"In contrast, at our clinic we see only one man with lack of desire
for every 12 with impotence. Most men with lack of libido can achieve
erections, but have lost the desire to have sex.
* "What are the causes of lack of libido in men?
Possible physical causes include:
** obesity - quite common; simply slimming down will often help.
(See complete article for other causes........)
From "Fighting fat," by Clare Spurrell. iHealth.
"Obesity and sex - In the bedroom, the problem is particularly
exaggerated. The fatter a person gets, the less they are interested in
sex, and the less sex they get the more their bodies crave
satisfaction from food. The physical limitations of excess weight can
make sexual activity too strenuous, and the constant feelings of
lethargy, caused by obesity, tend to diminish a person's sex drive
I hope these references are helpful. As I mentioned in my
introduction, your physician's recommendation to lose weight certainly
seems like a logical first step to bettering your health while helping
your libido rise to a more normal level.
I wish you the very best!
male Obesity AND increased estrogen
obesity AND sex drive in men
obesity AND lowered or diminished sex drive in men