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What is an Estradiol test? 
Estradiol, a form of the hormone oestrogen, is produced by ovaries, breasts and adrenal glands in females. The placenta also synthesises estradiol during pregnancy. This hormone, also known as the 17 beta-estradiol, is involved in the growth and development of female sex organs, such as uterus, fallopian tubes, vagina and breasts. Estradiol is also helpful in determining the manner of fat distribution in a female body.
In males, estradiol is produced by the adrenal glands and testes. However, the level of this hormone in male body is much lower as compared to that of a female body.
An estradiol test or simply an E2 test is performed to measure the amount of this hormone in the blood.

  1. Why is an Estradiol test performed?
  2. How do you prepare for an Estradiol test?
  3. How is an Estradiol test performed?
  4. What do Estradiol test results indicate?

Estradiol test is recommended if the male and female sex organs or secondary traits are not developing appropriately. This test will also be suggested by the doctor to investigate the following:

Estradiol test is also performed when a woman reports symptoms of menopause, as it will help the doctor determine if she is preparing to enter menopause or is already going through the transition.
This test helps determine the health of ovaries, and hence it may be performed by the doctor to examine the symptoms of ovarian cancer.
Additionally, it is suggested to pregnant women and to women who are undergoing infertility treatment for monitoring the progress of the therapy.
Individuals going through transgender hormone therapy may be given estradiol, and therefore they may have to undergo regular assessments.

Certain medications, such as birth control pills; oestrogen therapy; drugs used for mental health disorders; and antibiotics, such as ampicillin, may alter estradiol levels. Hence, if you are on any on such medications, make sure to consult your doctor before taking this test. He/she may tell you to stop taking some of those medicines prior to the test or may change their dose. 

Also, estradiol levels can vary through the day and during the menstrual cycle. Therefore, the doctor may ask you to get the test at a certain time of the day.

It is also important to inform the doctor if you are suffering from certain health conditions, such as anaemia, high blood pressure, kidney disease or reduced liver function as these may alter estradiol levels.

Some individuals may be asked to avoid eating or drinking before the test while in some cases, fasting may not be needed at all.   

An estradiol test is similar to any other blood test in which a medical professional collects a blood sample using a needle from a vein in the arm after sanitising the area.
When the needle is inserted, some individuals report moderate pain, while others only feel a very brief prick or stinging sensation. Though any pain or throbbing associated with the needle insertion will disappear soon.
Some other risks associated with this test include:

 Normal results: The following values indicate normal results:

  • Men: 10 to 50 picograms per millilitre (pg/mL)
  • Women (premenopausal): 30 to 400 pg/mL
  • Women (postmenopausal): 0 to 30 pg/mL

Abnormal results: Abnormal estradiol levels are associated with the following disorders:

Normal values may vary among laboratories. However, the results must be discussed with the doctor for a clear interpretation.

Disclaimer: All results must be clinically correlated with the patient’s complaints to make a complete and accurate diagnosis. The above information is provided from a purely educational perspective and is in no way a substitute for medical advice from a qualified doctor. 

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References

  1. MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia. [Internet] US National Library of Medicine; Estradiol blood test
  2. The Hormone Health. [Internet] Endocrine Society. U.S. What is Estrogen?
  3. ARUP Consult, ARUP Laboratories.[Internet] Salt City, UT, U.S.Amenorrhea
  4. KidsHealth. Blood Test: Estradiol. The Nemours Foundation [internet].
  5. UCSF health. [Internet] University of California.Estradiol Test
  6. Carina Ankarberg-Lindgren, Ensio Norjavaara. Estradiol in Pediatric Endocrinology American Journal of Clinical Pathology, December 2009, Volume 132, Issue 6, Pages 978–980