Tests Regarding Sex Hormones

From WikiLectures

To measure levels of estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone.

Estrogen fraction test[edit | edit source]


  • There are 3 main types of estrogen: estrone (E1), estradiol (E2), and estriol (E3)
  • Estrone (E1) - major estrogen after menopause
  • Estradiol (E2) - in women
    • mainly produced in ovary
    • normal levels regulate ovulation, conception and pregnancy, bone structuring, and cholesterol levels
  • in men
    • produced by testes and adrenal glands
  • Estriol (E3) - major estrogen in pregnancy (mainly by the placenta)


  1. blood sample drawn from arm’s vein OR
  1. 24-hour urine sample collected OR
  1. fresh saliva sample collected in a plastic tube


  • in females - to evaluate sexual maturity, menstrual and fertility problems
  • to test if there are tumors that excrete estrogen
  • in pregnancy, helps to determine fetal-placental health
  • in males - to evaluate gynecomastia, feminization syndromes

Progesterone assay test (EIA kit)[edit | edit source]


  • quantitative measurement of progesterone in human plasma
  • use direct competitive EIA (enzyme immunoassay)


  1. blocking reagent is used to displace progesterone from serum binding proteins; and are then bound by monoclonal anti-progesterone antibody
  2. complexes are isolated by adsorbtion to magnetic anti-mouse IgG
  3. unoccupied anti-progesterone sites bound by alkaline phosphatase
  4. coloured enzyme substrate added (complexes with alkaline phosphatase colour change from yellow to pink)
  5. optical density measured using spectrophotometer or colorimeter


  • to evaluate women having difficulties to become pregnant or to maintain a pregnancy
  • to monitor high - risk pregnancies

Total Testosterone Test[edit | edit source]


  • blood sample drawn from arm’s vein


  • to evaluate
    • ambiguous sex characteristics
    • early / delayed puberty
    • virilizing syndromes in the female
    • infertility in the male
    • rare tumors of the ovary and testicle

SHBG Test[edit | edit source]


  • In plasma, 60% testosterone is bound to sex hormone binding globulin (SHBG), 38% to albumin and only about 2% is unbound. Total cholesterol does not differentiate bound and unbound testosterone, so it would not be an accurate representation of amount of testosterone availan\ble to patient’s tissues when SHBG level is abnormal


  • blood sample drawn form arm’s vein


  • to evaluate inconsistency of total testosterone results do not seem to be consistent with clinical signs, such as decreased sex drive in men or hirsutism in women

Possible reasons for abnormal results[edit | edit source]

Levels of Men Women
Decreased Increased Decreased Increased
Estrogen (in blood) Normal Men: 12-34 pg/ml; Women: 24-149 pg/ml male begins to develop female secondary sex characteristics; testicular or adrenal tumor failing pregnancy; menopause; anorexia nervosa; primary and secondary hypogonadism; turner's syndrome early puberty; develop secondary sexual characteristics at an abnormally early age; ovarian or adrenal tumor; in normal pregnancy; cirrhosis; and increased thyroid levels (hyperthyroidism)
Progesterone (in blood) Women: 150 - 2,000 ng/dl; In pregnancy 1,500 - 20,000 ng/dL toxemia of pregnancy; threatened abortion; placental failure; after fetal death; amenorrhea; ovarian dysfunction ovulation and pregnancy; certain types of ovarian cysts; tumor of the ovary known as a choriocarcinoma
Testosterone Men: 300 - 1,200 ng/dL; Boys: < 100 ng/dL; Women: 30-95 ng/dL; Girls < 40 ng/dL Klinefelter syndrome; primary and secondary hypogonadism; surgical removal of the testicles; Down syndrome; cirrhosis early puberty; viral infection of encephalitis; tumors involving adrenal glands; testicular tumors; excessive thyroid production (hyperthyroidism); testosterone resistance syndromes ovarian and adrenal tumors and in the presence of excessive hair growth of unknown cause (hirsutism)

References[edit | edit source]