The right estrogen levels are essential for reproductive health. Having too much or too little estrogen can also lead to medical problems, such as weak bones, urinary tract infections, and even depression.
Doctors may order an estradiol test if they are concerned about a person’s fertility, puberty, or menopause. In this article, we examine when a doctor might order this test, what the results can mean, and what to expect during and after the test.
Why might it be used?
An estradiol test can help diagnose issues with sex characteristics.
Doctors will likely request an estradiol test if they want to find out more about why a person’s sex characteristics are developing in a certain way.
Although estrogen is known as a female sex hormone, it also plays a role in male growth and development.
Estradiol levels can affect how the reproductive system develops. Abnormally high or low levels can influence how the following parts of the body grow and work:
- fallopian tubes
- erectile function
- sperm cells
During their reproductive years, women usually have their highest levels of estradiol. After reaching menopause, estradiol levels are much lower.
Problems caused by abnormal levels of estradiol include:
- menstrual problemssymptoms of the transition to menopause
- gynecomastia or a benign swelling of the male breast tissue
- ovarian tumors
- breast cancer
An estradiol test can detect early or late puberty. If a child appears to be starting puberty earlier or later than expected, a doctor may order this test.
Transgender women may take estradiol as part of their hormone therapy to develop more female characteristics. If so, their doctor may wish to perform regular estradiol tests to monitor their levels.