Doctors leverage several tests to determine the underlying causes affecting fertility, puberty, menopause, and other concerns. The female hormone estradiol is one of the important types of estrogen.
Estradiol test is a helpful test for women suffering from post-menopausal vaginal bleeding, infertility, or concerns about menstrual cycles. It measures the levels of estradiol in the blood. It also helps in studying the causes of night sweats and hot flashes. Women undergoing Hormonal Replacement Therapy (HRT) during menopause may need an estradiol test to assess the effect of HRT. Read ahead to understand what to expect from the estradiol test besides its uses and procedure.
Importance of appropriate estrogens levels
The hormone estrogen plays a vital role in maintaining a woman’s health, from menarche to menopause.
There are three types of estrogen hormones, each having a specific function during different stages of a woman’s life.
- Estrone (E1): Occurring during the post-menopausal period
- Estradiol (E2): An important hormone supporting the development of reproductive organs, breasts, and outer genitals
- Estriol (E3): Has significance during the period of pregnancy
Occasionally, a few problems arise because of abnormal estradiol levels, such as:
- Ovarian tumors
- Breast cancer
- Development of breasts in men (gynecomastia)
Fluctuations in the levels of sex hormones or having an excess or inadequate amount of these hormones can significantly affect a woman’s health. The hormonal imbalance may cause infertility, menstrual problems, post-vaginal bleeding, and menopausal symptoms.
What is the estradiol test?
Usually, doctors recommend estradiol test to study the development of an individual’s sex characteristics. The test is helpful for both men and women because estradiol can affect the growth of both sexes. Detection of early or late puberty is an essential aim of the estradiol test.
Monitoring hormone levels is crucial in transgenders undergoing feminization or women having problems with menopause who need hormone therapy. It is also necessary to monitor the effectiveness of infertility treatment in women.
Estradiol is also released by the testes in men in small amounts, although the produced hormone level is lower than in women. In men, estradiol plays a significant role in the healthy functioning of the brain and sexual drive and the development of reproductive organs. Estradiol test for males helps doctors determine estradiol levels, as this helps prevent the early death of sperms.
Sudden stopping of the menstrual cycle may signal early menopause. An estradiol test provides insights into the onset or progress of menopause. The production of estradiol reduces during and after the commencement of menopause. Doctors can determine whether a woman is about to enter menopause or is going through the same.
The estradiol test is vital for examining the functioning of ovaries. Women experiencing the following symptoms may have problems in their ovaries:
- Rise in the frequency of urination
- Loss of weight
- Pain in the pelvic region
- Pain in the lower abdomen
- Sudden fullness during meals
Estradiol test [E2 Estradiol Serum Test] is usually one of the several tests for diagnosing many conditions affecting a woman’s health. Doctors use the test results to correlate with other tests and clinical examinations before reaching the final diagnosis.
Estradiol test – what to expect
The serum estradiol test involves collecting a small amount of blood by puncturing the vein. An expert lab technician will use a small needle to withdraw blood from the individual’s arm or wrist. It is normal to experience a pricking sensation as the needle punctures the vein to draw blood. The amount of blood depends upon the number of lab tests a doctor requests besides the estradiol test. The technician will provide a cotton swab or bandage to help the site of the injection heal. It may take three to five business days to receive the test results.
Checking estradiol levels at a particular time and day is vital because the levels fluctuate throughout the day and during the menstrual cycle. Discuss with the doctor if you are taking any particular medication as these can affect the hormone level and, thereby, the test results. These medicines may have to be temporarily stopped before the test. Some of the medicines that impact the levels of estradiol are:
- Contraceptive pills
- Hormones used in HRT
Estradiol test normal range
The normal range of estradiol tests can vary slightly depending on the laboratory. The range can also vary according to the individual’s age and gender. The values of estradiol levels are in picograms per milliliter or pg/ml. Following are estradiol test normal range values:
- Men: between 10 and 50 pg/ml
- Women in the postmenopausal stage: between 0 and 30 pg/ml
- Women in the premenopausal stage: between 30 and 400 pg/ml
Interpretation of estradiol test results
The serum estradiol test results can indicate various abnormalities depending on the sex and age of the individual. Pregnancy can influence estradiol levels. The test results help assess the cause of an individual’s symptoms. However, this test alone may not be adequate to conclude a diagnosis.
Higher than normal levels of estradiol
Higher estradiol levels may suggest:
- Development of breasts in males
- Overactive thyroid gland leading to hyperthyroidism
- Presence of ovarian tumors
- Tumors in testes
- Liver cirrhosis
Lower than normal estradiol levels
Lower values of serum estradiol test may signal:
- Presence of a single X chromosome in women (Turner’s syndrome)
- Low body fat because of diminished production of estrogen
- Problem with the functioning of ovaries like in ovarian failure
- Infertility because of polycystic ovarian disorder
- Reduced hormone production by testes and ovaries in hypogonadism
Estradiol is a helpful hormone secreted by adrenal glands and ovaries. Estradiol plays a crucial role in maintaining several bodily functions and the development of sexual organs. The estradiol test [ Estradiol Serum Test] is a simple blood test to measure serum estradiol levels. Physicians recommend the test to determine levels of a particular estrogen in the blood.