syringes and blood vials on a yellow background

Estradiol (Estrogen) – All About This Hormone And Possible Issues

This article will explain what estradiol (estrogen) is and the role it has in our bodies. We will also cover the types of estradiol issues, the causes of those issues, and possible symptoms people may feel. Furthermore, we will cover the normal estradiol levels in average men and women as well as the testing options for estradiol levels. Finally, we will cover the treatment options available and the average cost of each treatment.

What Is Estradiol?

Estradiol is the most potent estrogen (E2) in the human body.1 It is a hormone made by the body and present in the ovaries. Estradiol in males is produced by the Sertoli cells of the testes.

What Does Estradiol Do In Our Bodies?

In females, estradiol acts primarily as a growth hormone for the reproductive organs, including the cervical glands, the endometrium, the fallopian tubes, and the vagina. Estradiol also helps to grow the womb’s muscle layer (the myometrium). Additionally, estradiol maintains oocytes (eggs in the ovary) and triggers a series of events that lead to ovulation.

Estradiol drives the changes that happen around puberty. These changes are enhanced during the reproductive years and then become less pronounced after menopause as estradiol levels decline. Estradiol is required for the alteration of body shape, normal breast development, skin changes, and the fat distribution profile that is typical of females.

Estradiol is necessary for the preservation of the eggs inside a female’s ovaries.

syringe and fluid levitating over a hand

During the menstrual cycle, follicles on the ovaries secrete estradiol, which triggers a surge in luteinizing hormone and, in turn, includes ovulation. This phase of the cycle is known as the follicular phase. After ovulation, during the luteal phase, estradiol and progesterone prepare the womb lining for implantation.

Estradiol levels rise during pregnancy because it is also produced by the placenta. Estradiol may also play a role in maintaining the pregnancy. Research is being done about the role of estrogen in initiating labor.

A healthy level of estradiol is also needed to support adequate bone growth and maintain the health of bones and joints. Estradiol also impacts the bone structure and osteopenia. Osteoporosis can occur if estradiol levels are low. Bone loss can be accelerated in women of post-menopausal age who may have a relative deficiency in estradiol.

Estradiol is also produced in the brain, and estrogens have been shown to have neuroprotective effects. Estrogens can affect vasculature and may help improve blood flow in the coronary arteries.

Estrogens are also involved in several non-cancerous conditions, including endometriosis, uterine bleeding, and uterine fibroids.

Normal Estradiol Levels In Men and Women

Normal estradiol levels in men are 10 to 50 picograms per milliliter (pg/mL). Normal levels for women will vary depending on age. For example, normal estradiol levels for premenopausal women are 30 to 400 pg/mL while normal levels for post-menopausal women are 0 to 30 pg/mL.

Types of Estradiol Issues

This section will discuss types of estradiol issues, including high and low levels of estradiol.

High Levels Of Estradiol

In women, high levels of estradiol are linked to acne, constipation, depression, and loss of sex drive. Extremely high levels of estradiol may lead to uterine and breast cancer. Women with high estradiol levels may also experience weight gain and cardiovascular disease. In men, it can lead to developing female characteristics and loss of sexual function or muscle tone.

There are several reasons why estrogen levels increase, including:

  • Alcohol (drinking two or more glasses per day has been shown to increase estrogen)
  • Diabetes
  • Dysbiosis/estrobolome problems
  • Environmental estrogens
  • Estrogen supplementation
  • Having elevated testosterone
  • Ovarian cysts
  • Over-aromatization from testosterone
  • Overweight/obesity
  • Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS)
  • Perimenopause
  • Poor liver clearance
  • Steroid medications

Low Levels Of Estradiol

Estrogen levels begin to decline during perimenopause, the first stage of menopause.
Some medical conditions can also cause decreases in estrogen. In females, conditions that affect the ovaries can decrease both estrogen and estradiol levels. In males, conditions that cause low testosterone may also cause low estrogen.

Examples of health conditions or circumstances that may cause low estrogen include:

  • Breastfeeding
  • Chemotherapy
  • Congenital conditions such as Turner syndrome
  • Low body weight
  • Low-functioning pituitary gland
  • PCOS
  • Primary ovarian insufficiency
  • Recently giving birth
  • Thyroid disorders

Causes of Estradiol Issues

Examples of health conditions and circumstances that may cause high estradiol include:

  • A high percentage of body fat
  • Overproduction of estrogen
  • Stress
  • Too much estrogen in medication
  • Your body is not breaking down estrogen and removing it from your body as it should
person holding his stomach fat

Examples of health conditions or circumstances that may cause low estrogen include:

  • Breastfeeding
  • Chemotherapy
  • Congenital conditions such as Turner syndrome
  • Low body weight
  • Low-functioning pituitary gland
  • PCOS
  • Primary ovarian insufficiency
  • Recently giving birth
  • Thyroid disorders

Symptoms Of Low Estradiol Levels

Here, we will discuss the symptoms of low estradiol levels in men and women.

Common Symptoms In Men

Common symptoms of low estrogen in men include:

  • Anxiety
  • Bone loss
  • Depression
  • Fat accumulation
  • Fatigue
  • Forgetfulness
  • Irritability
  • Oversleeping or sleeping too often
  • Sexual dysfunction
  • Water retention
man having a headache

Common Symptoms In Women

Common symptoms of low estradiol in women include:

  • Decreased sex drive and painful intercourse (dyspareunia)
  • Dry skin
  • Feeling fatigued and having trouble sleeping (insomnia)
  • Headaches before or during your period
  • Hot flashes and night sweats
  • Irregular periods or no periods (amenorrhea)
  • Moodiness and irritability
  • Tender breasts
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Vaginal dryness or atrophy
  • Weak or brittle bones
  • Weight gain
woman-experiencing-headache

Symptoms Of High Estradiol Levels

We will discuss the symptoms of high estradiol levels, including common symptoms in men and common symptoms in women.

Common Symptoms In Men

Common symptoms of high estrogen in men include:

  • Enlargement of, or development of, breasts
  • Erectile dysfunction, loss of libido, infertility, and other types of sexual dysfunction
  • Excessive sweating
  • High blood pressure
  • Insomnia
  • Mood swings, anxiety, and/or depression
  • Night sweats
  • Persistent fatigue or lack of energy
  • Water retention

Common Symptoms In Women

Common symptoms of high estradiol in women include:

  • Anxiety and panic attacks
  • Bloating
  • Cold hands or feet
  • Decreased sex drive
  • Fibrocystic lumps in your breasts
  • Hair loss
  • Headaches
  • Increased symptoms of premenstrual syndrome (PMS)
  • Irregular menstrual periods
  • Memory problems
  • Mood swings
  • Sleepiness or fatigue
  • Swelling and tenderness in your breasts
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Weight gain

Estradiol Treatment Options

This section will discuss estradiol treatment options, including systemic hormone therapy and low-dose vaginal products.

Estradiol Test

This section will discuss the estradiol test, including what to expect during the estradiol test, how to prepare, and how long it takes to get the results.

What To Expect During An Estradiol Test?

An estradiol test requires a blood sample. A medical professional will take the blood sample from your arm or hand.

How To Prepare For An Estradiol Test?

You do not need to fast before an estradiol test. You need to inform your doctor if you are taking any medication, such as birth control or hormone therapy medication before you have the test done. Certain medications could affect the test results.

How Long Does It Take To Get The Results?

Your doctor will likely take a few days to get the test results.

Systemic Hormone Therapy

Systemic hormone therapy is available in several forms, including:

  • Cream
  • Gel
  • Pill
  • Ring
  • Skin patch
  • Spray
person applying cream on her hand

Systemic estrogen therapy typically contains a higher dose of estrogen that your body can be absorbed. This treatment may help treat common symptoms of menopause. Prices for systemic hormone therapy can vary from $10 a month for a 90-day supply of generic estrogen pills to more than $500 for a 90-day vaginal ring.

Low-Dose Vaginal Products

Low-dose preparations of estrogen are available in cream, tablet, or ring form. Because these products minimize the amount of estrogen absorbed by the body, they are usually only used to treat the vaginal and urinary symptoms of menopause. Prices for low-dose vaginal products can range from $34 to $677.

Last Words

Estrogen levels change naturally over time, but a wide range of issues can occur if levels are too high or too low. Getting tested regularly can help you catch abnormal levels and seek treatment as needed. You can get a diagnostic test at your local clinic or in the comfort of your home with a concierge service.

Schedule your at Home Lab Test with Driphydration

An in-home lab test is a simple, convenient way to get the answers you need. Samples are collected by one of our medical professionals. We will help you understand your results and recommend the next steps to help you feel your best.

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Lab Testing - Frequently Asked Questions

Why is it important to do lab tests occasionally?

It is important to do lab tests occasionally because they can provide valuable information about an individual's health and help to identify potential health issues early on. Lab tests can measure a wide range of factors, including blood count, cholesterol levels, liver and kidney function, and hormone levels, and can provide insight into an individual's overall health and wellness. Additionally, lab tests can help to diagnose and monitor the progression of certain medical conditions, such as diabetes and heart disease, and can help to identify any potential health risks or concerns. By doing lab tests occasionally, individuals can take proactive steps to maintain their health and wellbeing and reduce the risk of potential health problems in the future.

What does a routine blood test cover?

A routine blood test is used to check for a range of things, including your blood count and the levels of certain chemicals and substances in your blood. Blood tests can also be used to check how well certain organs, such as your liver and kidneys, are functioning.

How is a blood sample collected for lab testing?

A blood sample for lab testing is typically collected through a process called venipuncture, which involves inserting a small needle into a vein to draw blood. This is usually done on the inside of the elbow or the back of the hand.

What is the cost of a lab test?

In general, the cost of a lab test can range from a few dollars to several hundred dollars. It is always best to consult with your doctor or healthcare provider to get an accurate estimate of the cost of a lab test.

Read More: Lab Testing FAQ

References

[1] Hariri L. - Estradiol.;