What Is The Difference Between Estrogen And Testosterone


The two primary “sex hormones” are estrogen and testosterone. One (estrogen) is naturally associated with females while the other (testosterone) is viewed as the male sex hormone. What is the difference between estrogen and testosterone other than female vs. male?

There are many differences, just as there are similarities. Estrogen is actually a grouping of three different hormones, with the primary type being estradiol. Both estradiol and testosterone increase significantly during puberty and lead to the physical changes that turn adolescents into young adults.

The chemical difference between estrogen and testosterone is relatively similar in structure, with only a few slight variations. However, those differences influence the following:


  • Lower male voice
  • Facial and body hair
  • Development of sex organs
  • Increase in lean muscle mass


  • Breast tissue growth
  • Development of reproductive organs
  • Pubic hair growth
  • Onset of the menstrual cycle

The next difference is how testosterone and estrogen influence the adult body:


  • Bone density
  • Red blood cell production
  • Sex drive
  • Muscle mass
  • Protein metabolism
  • Brain functions
  • Reduces inflammatory markers


  • Aids some cardiovascular functions
  • Protects the brain
  • Protective role against oxidative stress and muscle damage
  • Helps regulate carbohydrate and lipid metabolism
  • Aids in muscle strength
  • Influences bone-turnover

How Do Estrogen and Testosterone Impact the Female Body?

The ovaries produce both estrogen and testosterone. Smaller amounts of these hormones also come from the adrenal glands. Body fat is another producer of estrogen as it converts testosterone into estradiol.

Any exploration of the difference between estradiol and testosterone focuses attention on aromatase. If too much aromatase is present in the body, then a higher degree of testosterone will become estradiol. The amount of aromatase is determined by belly fat – its producer. The more belly fat a person has, the greater the risk of developing a condition called “estrogen dominance.” This occurs when higher levels of estrogen go unopposed by testosterone and progesterone. Both males and females are at risk of estrogen dominance that can lead to testosterone deficiency.

What is the difference between estrogen and testosterone in a woman’s body?

Due to much lower testosterone levels to start with, women are increasingly sensitive to even the slightest decrease. The female body will react to a lower circulatory level of testosterone in the bloodstream.

Testosterone influences sex drive, cognitive functions, emotions, bone mass, muscle, and sleep in women. It helps maintain proper vaginal lubrication crucial for comfortable and enjoyable intercourse.

Estrogen levels can decline as much as 80 percent during menopause. The loss of estrogen, which also accompanies a decline in testosterone can account for an increase in fractures due to decreased bone density.

What is Different about the Way Estrogen and Testosterone Affect the Male Body?

Testosterone is the primary androgen sex hormone in the male body. Production of testosterone begins to decline towards the latter end of the twenties or the early thirties. Part of the difference between estrogen and testosterone is how the decline impacts estradiol production.

Testosterone protests muscle mass, strength, bone mass, and libido. A decline in testosterone levels can increase the incidence of obesity, osteoporosis, cardiovascular disease, and type 2 diabetes.

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