Difference Between Testosterone and Estrogen

Testosterone vs Estrogen

Even though testosterone and estrogen are called ‘male’ and female’ hormones respectively, both males and females produce both these hormones in their adrenal glands. However, female testosterone levels are very low (ten times less than that of men), and most of the time they are converted into estrogen by a biochemical reaction. Nevertheless, males have very low level of estrogen, when compared to female; thus the effect of estrogen is very low in males. Testosterone and estrogen are largely produced by testes in males and ovaries in females, respectively before their birth and after puberty. In common, these two hormones are called sex hormones, which stimulate sexual characteristics and sexual functions in the human.


Testosterone is a steroid hormone which is largely produced in male testes while smaller amounts in female adrenal glands. The production of testosterone is mainly regulated by luteinizing hormone (LH) produced in the anterior pituitary. The male testosterone levels are increased rapidly during male puberty and decreased after age 35. While circulating, testosterone gets attached to sex hormone binding globulin. However, the globulin molecule must be detached from testosterone molecules in order to initiate hormone’s intracellular actions. Testosterone can increase the body mass and muscle mass during male puberty. At the same time, it decreases fat mass, especially in the abdominal fat deposit.

Certain males can convert testosterone to estrogen. This converted estrogen causes rapid growth of spinal bone mass, and hence responsible for the truncal growth during puberty.  However, men who cannot produce estrogen or cannot respond to testosterone derived estrogen have lessened spinal bone density. Furthermore, the direct effect of testosterone causes larger bones in males than females.

The main function of testosterone is to stimulate sexual characteristics and sexual functions in males. In addition, it also causes growth of lean mass, spinal bone, and muscle mass, improves insulin sensitivity and blood flow to visceral organs.


Estrogens are a set of hormones mainly found in females and associated with their sexual characteristics and sexual functions. Estradiol is the most prominent estrogen hormone produced in ovaries. The main functions of estrogen are enhancing the uterine development, sustaining the growth of the endometrium for pregnancy, and developing mammary glands for lactation. In addition, estrogen can promote the fatty acid release and fatty acid uptake, and thus this allows women to use fatty acids more effectively than men, when energy requirements are concerned. An intracellular receptor with two subtypes; α receptor and β receptor mediates the actions of estrogen.

What is the difference between Testosterone and Estrogen?

• Testosterone is associated with sexual characteristics and functions of males, whereas estrogen is associated with those of females.

• Men have a large amount of testosterone and less amount of estrogen, whereas women have a large amount of estrogen and less amount of testosterone.

• The main functions of testosterone are to stimulate sexual characteristics and sexual functions in men, whereas that of estrogen are to enhance the uterine development, sustain the growth of the endometrium for pregnancy, and develop mammary glands for lactation in women.

• Testosterone is largely produced in testes, in males while estrogen is mainly produced in female ovaries.


Read more:

1. Difference Between Progesterone and Estrogen

2. Difference Between Male and Female Reproductive System