"Total estrogen" typically refers to the combined measurement of all the different forms of estrogen in the body. Estrogen is not a single hormone but rather a group of related hormones, including estradiol, estrone, and estriol, as well as their various metabolites like 2-OH-E1, 4-OH-E1, and others. These hormones and metabolites collectively contribute to the overall estrogenic activity in the body.
When a laboratory or medical test measures "total estrogen," it aims to quantify the sum of these various estrogenic compounds. This measurement can provide an overall assessment of estrogen levels in the body, which is relevant for understanding hormonal balance, diagnosing certain medical conditions, and evaluating the risk of hormone-related diseases, such as breast cancer or osteoporosis.