Alternative names 
Estradiol - test

An estradiol test measures the amount of estradiol in the blood.

How the test is performed

Blood is drawn from a vein, usually from the inside of the elbow or the back of the hand. The puncture site is cleaned with antiseptic, and a tourniquet (an elastic band) is placed around the upper arm to apply pressure and restrict blood flow through the vein. This causes veins below the tourniquet to fill with blood.

A needle is inserted into the vein, and the blood is collected in an air-tight vial or a syringe. During the procedure, the tourniquet is removed to restore circulation. Once the blood has been collected, the needle is removed, and the puncture site is covered to stop any bleeding.

Infant or young child:
The area is cleansed with antiseptic and punctured with a sharp needle or a lancet. The blood may be collected in a pipette (small glass tube), on a slide, onto a test strip, or into a small container. A bandage may be applied to the puncture site if there is any continued bleeding.

How to prepare for the test
Consult the health care provider about the need to discontinue drugs that can affect test results, including:

  • Estrogen therapy  
  • Birth control pills

Infants and children:
The physical and psychological preparation you can provide for this or any test or procedure depends on your child’s age, interests, previous experience, and level of trust. For specific information regarding how you can prepare your child, see the following topics as they correspond to your child’s age:

  • Infant test or procedure preparation (birth to 1 year)  
  • Toddler test or procedure preparation (1 to 3 years)  
  • Preschooler test or procedure preparation (3 to 6 years)  
  • Schoolage test or procedure preparation (6 to 12 years)  
  • Adolescent test or procedure preparation (12 to 18 years)

How the test will feel
When the needle is inserted to draw blood, some people feel moderate pain, while others feel only a prick or stinging sensation. Afterward, there may be some throbbing.

Why the test is performed
This test is used to evaluate ovarian, placental, or adrenal function, particularly when certain types of ovarian tumor are suspected, or when there is delayed or abnormal development of male or female body characteristics. In assisted reproductive technology (ART), serial measurements of serum estradiol and ultrasound imaging of ovarian follicles are used to monitor the ovarian response to stimulation.

Estradiol (the most important estrogen in the body) is a steroid hormone that has numerous important functions in females. Estradiol is mainly synthesized in and secreted from the placenta, ovarian follicle, and adrenal cortex.

Estradiol is responsible for growth of the uterus, Fallopian tubes and vagina; promotion of breast development; maturation of the external genitalia; deposition of body fat in a female distribution; and termination of linear growth. Estradiol stimulates the proliferation of the endometrium in the first half of the menstrual cycle.

Estradiol is metabolized to estrone and estriol by various target tissues. These compounds appear in the urine.

Normal Values
Male: 10 to 60 pg/ml
Female (premenopausal): 20 to 400 pg/ml
Female (postmenopausal): 5 to 25 pg/ml

Note: pg/ml = picograms per milliliter

What abnormal results mean

Greater-than-normal levels may indicate ovarian tumor.

Lower-than-normal levels may indicate Turner’s syndrome.
People with these conditons may also be tested:

  • Patients with hypopituitarism  
  • Infertility patients undergoing assisted reproductive technology (ART)

What the risks are

  • Excessive bleeding  
  • Fainting or feeling lightheaded  
  • Hematoma (blood accumulating under the skin)  
  • Infection (a slight risk any time the skin is broken)  
  • Multiple punctures to locate veins

Special considerations
Veins and arteries vary in size from one patient to another and from one side of the body to the other. Obtaining a blood sample from some people may be more difficult than from others.

Johns Hopkins patient information

Last revised: December 8, 2012
by Brenda A. Kuper, M.D.

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All ArmMed Media material is provided for information only and is neither advice nor a substitute for proper medical care. Consult a qualified healthcare professional who understands your particular history for individual concerns.