An estradiol (E2) test is commonly used in fertility clinics. Estradiol, a primary form of estrogen, functions to regulate the menstrual cycle, promote uterine lining growth, and prepare women’s bodies for early pregnancy after conception. Thus, measuring estradiol levels is important in assessing women’s reproductive health. Estradiol is closely monitored in conjunction with other hormones during fertility treatment. Here is how it helps fertility specialists:
- Ovarian Function: Estradiol levels fluctuate during a woman’s menstrual cycle in response to ovarian follicle development and maturation. Measuring estradiol levels at different points in the menstrual cycle helps monitor the ovaries’ function and health. Women have the highest estradiol levels during childbearing age and the lowest after menopause. Estradiol levels that are too low or too high may be a sign of potential issues with ovulation or egg development. Identifying these issues can help with guiding proper fertility treatments. Irregular levels can help in diagnosing conditions like polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), which is a common hormonal imbalance that causes infertility in women.
- Follicle Development Evaluation: Estradiol levels give insights into the health and development of ovarian follicles. Adequate estradiol production is essential for follicles to mature properly and release a healthy egg during ovulation.
- Ovulation Prediction: During the follicular phase of the menstrual cycle, estradiol aids in ovarian follicle growth and maturation. Monitoring estradiol levels along with other fertility hormones, such as luteinizing hormone (LH), helps predict when ovulation occurs. This key information can be used to time couples who are trying to conceive and help manage fertility treatments.
- Ovarian Response to Fertility Treatment Assessment: In fertility treatments including in vitro fertilization (IVF) or ovulation induction, medications are used to stimulate follicular production. Monitoring estradiol levels help fertility specialists determine and adjust medication dosage to optimize ovarian response and prevent issues like ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome.
- Early Pregnancy Monitoring: After initial conception, estradiol levels will continue to increase to support early pregnancy until hormone production is taken over by the placenta.