Estrogen is responsible for the maintenance and development of the female phenotype, pregnancy and germ cell maturation. It is also important for non-gender specific functions in male and female. These functions include bone metabolism, nervous system maturation, endothelial responsiveness etc. Low estrogen in females indicates several conditions such as poorly functioning of ovaries, eating disorder, turner syndrome, failing pregnancy, etc.
Three major active estrogens in humans:
1. Estrone (E1).
2. Estradiol (E2).
3. Estriol (E3).
The most potent estrogen in humans is E2 followed by E1. In non-pregnant women and men, E1 and E2 are produced by androgenic steroids androstenedione and testosterone. E1 and E2 can be converted into each other. In pregnancy, E3 becomes the dominant estrogen. Unconjugated estriol (E3) level is used to determine birth defects and erratic chromosomal behaviour. Triple markers test is used to detect the 4 levels of pregnancy hormones. Unconjugated estriol produces human chorionic gonadotropin hormone which is responsible for the production of Alpha-fetoprotein. It is produced through metabolism. The specimen used in this test is serum. The volume of the serum should be 1ml.
The doctor will suggest testing of estriol for symptoms such as:
1. Vaginal bleeding.
2. Problems with menstrual cycles.
4. Menopausal symptoms (night sweats, irregular menstrual periods).
Testing in men will determine:
1. Reason for puberty delay.
2. Find tumours that make estrogen.
High level of E1 and E2 in men and women means:
3. Tumours in adrenal glands.
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