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Estrogen tests are used to detect a deficiency or excess in a woman and to help diagnose a variety of conditions associated with this imbalance. They may also be used to help determine the timing of a woman's ovulation and may be ordered to monitor the health status of the developing baby and placenta during pregnancy. In a man, estrogen testing may be performed to detect a hormone excess and its cause.


Estrogen tests measure one of three components: estrone (E1), estradiol (E2), or estriol (E3). These tests each have different uses.


In Girls and Women:

Estradiol (E2) and/or estrone (E1) testing may be ordered to:


  • Help diagnose early-onset puberty, when a young girl develops secondary sex characteristics sooner than expected; or delayed puberty, when a girl shows delayed development of secondary sex characteristics or start of menstruation

  • Investigate menstrual abnormalities, such as lack of menstrual periods (amenorrhea), infertility, and abnormal vaginal bleeding

  • Evaluate the function of the ovaries and detect ovarian failure

  • Monitor follicle development in the ovary in the days prior to in vitro fertilization by making serial measurements of estradiol

  • Monitor hormone replacement therapy that is given to assist fertility

  • Monitor menopausal hormone replacement therapy that is given to alleviate symptoms associated with estrogen deficiency

  • Detect estrogen-producing tumors

  • Monitor anti-estrogen therapy, as in breast cancer


In Boys and Men:

Estradiol (E2) and/or estrone (E1) testing in boys or men may be ordered to:


  • Help diagnose delayed puberty

  • Help diagnose the cause of enlarged breasts (gynecomastia) or other signs of feminization

  • Detect a relative estrogen excess that is due to a testosterone or androgen deficiency

  • Detect estrogen-producing tumors

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