Estradiol is a form of estrogen, which is the primary female sex hormone. Estradiol is the most active and the most prevalent type of estrogen in women during their reproductive years.
In females, estradiol plays a crucial role in the reproductive system. It is involved in the development of female secondary sexual characteristics such as breasts, endometrium, regulation of the menstrual cycle, and the reproductive system. During the menstrual cycle, estradiol produced by the ovaries helps prepare the lining of the womb (the endometrium) for possible pregnancy after ovulation.
Estradiol also has several other functions in the body. For instance, it helps to control bone formation, affects skin health, and may affect mood and mental health.
In men, estradiol helps in regulating the maturation of sperm and is necessary for normal male reproduction. However, the levels of estradiol in men are much lower than in women.
Estradiol can also be made synthetically and is often used in hormonal therapies, such as for contraception (in the form of an ethinyl estradiol) or for managing symptoms of menopause (like hot flashes and osteoporosis). It can also be used in feminizing hormone therapy for transgender women.
Imbalances of estradiol can contribute to a number of health issues, including menstrual problems, infertility, symptoms of menopause, and certain types of cancers. Its levels naturally fluctuate during a woman’s life and decrease significantly after menopause.