Estrogen is typically thought of as a "female" hormone, but a particular form of estrogen called estradiol is important for male sexuality. Estradiol, in balance with testosterone, helps control sex drive, the ability to get an erection, and the production of sperm. While testosterone naturally decreases as men age, estrogen increases. A small amount of estrogen in necessary in men to maintain strong bones and prevent osteoporosis.
Why it's done
Your doctor may recommend checking an estradiol level if you have any of the following symptoms:
- Decreased sex drive
- Erectile dysfunction
- Low sperm counts
- Breast tissue growth
- Hot flashes
There is little risk in getting an estradiol test. When the needle is inserted to draw blood, some people may feel some pain. Others feel only a prick or stinging. Afterward, there may be some throbbing or a slight bruise.
How to prepare
For men, there is nothing that you need to do ahead of time. You do not need to be fasting when the labs are drawn.
Normal estradiol levels will differ, depending on a person's age and sex. Normal values for men are as follows:
- Before puberty: Undetectable - 13 pg/mL
- During puberty: Undetectable - 40 pg/mL
- After puberty: 10-40 pg/mL