You probably know that estrogen is one of the most important sex hormones in the human body, and that it plays a significant role in regulating the female reproductive system. There are many lab tests that can be used to measure female hormone levels, including a test called ultrasensitive estradiol.
Read this article to find out more about estradiol ultrasensitive testing, how it works, and who should get it.
What is estradiol?
Estradiol is a form of estrogen, which is one of the main female sex hormones. According to the University of Rochester Medical Center, estradiol (E2) is a type of estrogen that’s produced in the ovaries. Estradiol plays a very important role in the development of the female reproductive system; as a result, girls and women typically produce higher levels of estradiol during their reproductive years. Production of estrogen falls drastically after menopause.
Most estrogen is made in the ovaries, although the adrenal or suprarenal glands, and the fatty tissue also produce some estrogen. Estrogen is involved in regulating your menstrual cycle, and it also triggers the development of the female reproductive system. Additionally, estrogen stimulates breast tissue development, and the growth of armpit and pubic hair.
According to Johns Hopkins Medicine, estrogen affects many parts of the body, including:
- Reproductive tract
- Urinary tract
- Blood vessels
- Pelvic muscles
- Mucous membranes
What is an estradiol ultrasensitive test?
An ultrasensitive estradiol test is simply a test that can detect lower concentrations of estradiol in the blood when compared to a regular estradiol test.
Normal test results for estradiol ultrasensitive are around 30-100 pg/mL, but they can vary depending on different factors. You should always discuss your test results with your healthcare provider to understand them and their implications on your health.
Estradiol ultrasensitive tests are carried out using a method called liquid chromatography/mass spectrometry (LC/MS), which is why you may see the test referred to as estradiol ultrasensitive (LC/MS).
Estradiol ultrasensitive tests are carried out using a normal blood sample, taken from a vein. Test results can take approximately 4-7 days after the sample is collected.
Who needs an estradiol ultrasensitive test?
This type of estradiol test is typically recommended in cases where patients are extremely sensitive to small changes in their estradiol levels, such as children or teenagers, men, or postmenopausal women.
It’s normal for women to experience significant changes in their estradiol levels throughout the menstrual cycle. Since these variations are normal, estradiol ultrasensitive tests aren’t as useful for women of reproductive age.
According to a study published in the Journal of the Endocrine Society, ultrasensitive estradiol tests can be used to measure estradiol levels in postmenopausal women. This is because estradiol levels are extremely low after menopause, and regular blood estradiol tests may not be sensitive enough to measure hormone levels in these patients.
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Estradiol (Blood) - urmc.rochester.edu
Estrogen’s Effects on the Female Body - hopkinsmedicine.org