Medically reviewed by Neka Miller, PhD on April 13, 2020. Written by Libby Pellegrini. To give you technically accurate, evidence-based information, content published on the Everlywell blog is reviewed by credentialed professionals with expertise in medical and bioscience fields.
What are normal hormone levels for a woman? | What is a normal estradiol level in women? | What’s considered a high estradiol level? | What causes a low estrogen level? | Can a low estrogen level affect pregnancy? | How can I find out more about my hormone levels?
There are many hormones at play when it comes to a woman’s menstrual cycle, her ovulation, and her ability to conceive. One of the most important hormones is known as estradiol. Estradiol (E2) is the main form of estrogen in non-pregnant women.
As one of the key hormones responsible for ovulation, estradiol is especially important to a woman’s reproductive health. Normal estradiol levels in females are also critical to the health and function of sexual organs (breasts, vagina, and uterus) and influences other key markers of health, including bone strength.
Keep reading to learn more about normal estradiol levels in women at different stages of life, estradiol and fertility, and more.
You can check your estradiol levels with a simple test, like the Everlywell at-home Women’s Fertility Test or Women’s Health Test. These tests let you easily check your hormone levels from the comfort of your own home, so you can skip the trip to a lab or healthcare provider’s office—and avoid an uncomfortable blood draw.
A woman’s hormone levels are typically connected with her age. Before puberty, females have low amounts of sex hormones, meaning they have low serum (blood) estradiol and low serum testosterone.
After puberty, a woman enters a premenopausal phase (which lasts until perimenopause, or the transition into menopause). Fertility is at a peak during this phase, and hormone levels fluctuate based on where a woman is in her menstrual cycle. During the menstrual cycle, hormone levels (including estradiol) fluctuate in the following way:
The follicular phase (days 1 to 14 of an average 28-day cycle, beginning with menstruation and ending with ovulation). This phase represents the development of the follicle (which hosts the egg cell), prior to the release of an egg cell. The follicle is stimulated by rising follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) levels.
Ovulation. This phase begins with a surge of luteinizing hormone (LH) and follicle stimulating hormone (FSH), which triggers the release of an egg from the dominant follicle.
The luteal phase (days 14 to 28 of an average 28-day cycle). After ovulation, the luteal phase begins.
Estradiol tests can be used to help determine when you’re ovulating—the point in the menstrual cycle when conception is especially likely. During the menstrual cycle, estradiol levels gradually rise and then reach a peak just before ovulation. To trace the rise and fall of estradiol levels during the menstrual cycle, blood samples have to be collected on different days. This helps establish a woman’s normal baseline and peak for estradiol levels.
To see how your own estradiol levels rise and fall, consider taking the Everlywell at-home Women’s Fertility Test. It’s easy to use and understand—and comes with everything you need to collect your samples from the convenience of home and send it to the lab for testing.
If an egg cell is successfully fertilized during the ovulation phase of the menstrual cycle, and successfully implants in the uterus, a pregnancy results. During pregnancy, the main estrogen hormone is estriol. This hormone is sometimes assessed during the second trimester of pregnancy in order to screen for genetic birth defects, such as Down syndrome.
A low estriol level during pregnancy may indicate a lower likelihood of a successful pregnancy, or a birth defect. Estriol levels tend to increase in pregnancy about four weeks before a woman gives birth. (Related: How do you boost fertility?)
When a woman reaches menopause, her hormone levels will again change. As her ovarian reserve (the number of egg cells available for release and possible fertilization) is depleted, her ovarian function is reduced, resulting in a decreased serum estradiol level. (Related: Women’s fertility and age: knowing what to expect)
On the other hand, the level of follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) in a menopausal woman increases, as an FSH elevation represents the body’s final attempt to stimulate the ovaries into action. A sustained rise in FSH levels generally signals the onset of menopause. Typically, an elevated FSH level for a period of more than 12 months indicates a transition into menopause.
Normal estradiol levels in women vary based on factors like age, pregnancy, and menstrual cycle phases. In adult women who experience regular menstrual cycles (premenopause), normal estradiol levels range between 15 and 350 picograms per milliliter (pg/mL). Levels can fluctuate significantly during the menstrual cycle and may be as high as 800 pg/mL and still be considered normal. During pregnancy, normal estradiol levels can reach 20,000 pg/mL. After menopause (postmenopause), estradiol levels are typically below 10 pg/mL for women who aren’t on estrogen therapy.
There’s one key thing to keep in mind when it comes to normal levels: estradiol reference ranges can differ depending on the laboratory conducting the test. This is a normal part of the lab testing process—so it’s best to interpret your estradiol test results using the reference ranges provided by the laboratory used for testing.
Elevated estradiol levels—typically beyond 350 picograms per milliliter in adult women who have regular menstrual cycles—can occur with certain medical conditions that lead to overproduction of the estrogen hormone. Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), in which there are many ovarian follicles simultaneously producing estradiol, is one example of this. Elevated levels of estradiol can also be the result of certain hormone supplements, liver disorders, or elevated levels of androgens (such as testosterone or progesterone).
There are several possible reasons why an estrogen level may be low.
First, if there is a low estradiol level coupled with high FSH levels and high LH levels, this can indicate a condition known as premature ovarian failure or primary ovarian insufficiency. This means that, even with proper hormonal stimulation, the ovaries are failing to produce a normal amount of estradiol. This can sometimes be due to a genetic condition, such as Turner syndrome, an autoimmune disorder, or exposure to certain toxins.
Second, if there is a low estradiol level coupled with normal or low FSH and LH levels, this can be due to a condition known as hypogonadotropic hypogonadism. This condition can occur because of severe stress, excessive alcohol intake, excessive exercise, or a problem with the pituitary gland in the brain—which stimulates the production of FSH and LH hormones.
Certain conditions associated with low estrogen levels can make it harder to get pregnant. One condition, known as primary ovarian insufficiency, occurs when ovarian function declines even though a woman hasn’t yet entered menopause. Sometimes this is due to a genetic condition, but it is thought that up to 90% of women with primary ovarian insufficiency do not have an identified cause.
Women who have had cancer and received chemotherapy are at risk for primary ovarian insufficiency because chemotherapeutic medicines can cause the death of egg cells—which are needed for conception.
If you’re planning for pregnancy, or you’re just generally curious about your hormone levels, you can use the Everlywell at-home Women’s Fertility Test to easily test your hormone levels from the comfort of your own home.
With just a small sample of blood (collected with a simple finger prick), you can check your levels of 5 different hormones related to fertility: estradiol, luteinizing hormone, follicle-stimulating hormone, total testosterone, and thyroid-stimulating hormone. And you receive your results securely online—so you can easily access insights on your hormone balance whenever you want.
For an even more comprehensive look at your hormone levels, try the at-home Women’s Health Test. By measuring 10 key hormones that play important roles in a woman’s health, the test can reveal potential imbalances that may be keeping you from feeling your best.