What is an Estradiol Test?
Medikoe Health Expert
Koramangala, bengaluru, karnataka, india, Bengaluru Jul 14, 2019
An estradiol test is a simple blood test that is done to measure the estradiol levels in the body. Estradiol is one of the four main types of estrogen that the ovaries produce, and is also known as 17 beta-estradiol. Besides the ovaries, the adrenal glands, as well as the breasts, also produce estradiol and during pregnancy, the placenta also produces estradiol. Estrogen is an important hormone and optimum levels of estrogen are necessary for the proper functioning of the body. Very high or low levels of estrogen can lead to problems like weak bones, problems in conception, depression, etc.
What is the function of estradiol?
As already mentioned, estradiol is a type of estrogen and hence is very important for the proper functioning of the body. Estradiol, in particular, is also necessary for the growth of female reproductive and sex organs like:
- Fallopian tubes
Besides, the hormone estradiol also controls the way fat is distributed in the body, and for maintaining joint and bone health. Estradiol is also present in males and is produced by the testes and the adrenal glands. However, the levels of estradiol are quite lower in men and the importance of estradiol is also lower as compared to females. According to some studies, estradiol helps in preventing the destruction of sperm cells.
Why is an estradiol test done?
An estradiol test is usually done when doctors need to investigate the development of sex characteristics in a person. For example, higher levels of estradiol indicate that puberty is happening earlier than usual while lower levels of estradiol indicate that the puberty is delayed. An estradiol test is done in the following cases:
- To determine if there is some problem with adrenal glands
- To check the progress of treatment of hypopituitarism
- To look for the cause of abnormal periods
- To determine the cause of infertility in women
- To investigate abnormal vaginal bleeding
- If the menstrual cycle has stopped
- To check the functioning of the ovaries
- In some cases, the estradiol test is also done during the diagnosis of ovarian cancer
- To track the progress of certain infertility treatments
- People undergoing transgender hormone therapy
What happens during the estradiol test?
As mentioned, the estradiol test is a blood test. During the test, the blood is drawn out from the vein on the inside of the elbow or on the back of the hand. Before drawing out the blood, the technician will apply antiseptic to the area and wrap a tourniquet on the arm, which will make the vein swell with blood. Then the technician will proceed to draw out blood and collect it for laboratory analysis. A bandage may be applied to the puncture site to stop bleeding. The procedure causes mild discomfort, burning sensation, and pain to most people.
However, certain medications like birth control pills, estrogen therapy, glucocorticoids, etc. can interfere with the estradiol test and hence, the doctor may ask you to stop taking the medications or adjust the dose before doing the estradiol test.
After the laboratory analysis, the doctor will be able to know the levels of estradiol hormone in the body. According to most experts, the normal levels of estradiol in a woman should lie between 15 to 350 picograms per milliliter and for postmenopausal women, the hormones should be less than 10 picograms per milliliter.
Higher estradiol levels may indicate early puberty, ovarian tumor, hyperthyroidism, cirrhosis of the liver, etc. while lower levels of estradiol may indicate menopause, Turner syndrome, polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), hypogonadism, decreased estrogen production, premature menopause, hypopituitarism, and other similar health conditions.