DHEA-Sulfate

One of the most abundant steroids in the body, DHEA-S is a precursor building block of testosterone.

PLEASE NOTE: ALL RESULTS AND INFORMATION PROVIDED BY HEALTH eLABS ARE INTENDED FOR GENERAL HEALTH INFORMATION PURPOSES ONLY. AS SUCH THEY ARE NOT A SUBSTITUTE FOR PROFESSIONAL MEDICAL ADVICE OR A MEDICAL EXAMINATION, AND SHOULD NOT BE USED TO DIAGNOSE, TREAT, PREVENT OR CURE ANY DISEASE, SYNDROME, OR CONDITION WITHOUT THE SUPERVISION OF A LICENSED PHYSICIAN.

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This test can also be purchased as part of our Women’s Hormone panel.

NOTE: Taking certain drugs (such as phenytoin, carbamazepine, amlodipine, some antidepressants and corticosteroids) can lower the amount of circulating DHEA sulfate. Likewise, persons taking DHEA supplements may have an artificially elevated level on their results. You should ask your treating physician whether and/or when you should stop taking any medicine prior to performing this test.

PREPARATION: No fasting or other special preparation is needed for this test.

What does this test do?

This test determines the concentration of dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate (DHEA-S) circulating in the bloodstream.

Why is this important?

DHEA-S is a hormone produced by the adrenal glands, and is one of the most abundant steroid hormones found within the body. It is converted to testosterone in both men and women.

The production of DHEA-S starts within the brain, where the pituitary gland makes a chemical messenger that in turn tells the adrenal glands to secrete their hormones. If this system doesn’t function properly, then the amount of DHEA-S circulating in the blood will not be normal. So an abnormal level of DHEA-S may indicate a problem with either the adrenal or the pituitary glands.

One of the most common reasons for performing this test is to check for polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) in pre-menopausal women. PCOS is a condition that causes an imbalance of sex hormones, and high levels of DHEA-S often lead to the development of masculine body characteristics (virilism), excessive hair growth (hirsutism), and infertility.

Symptoms of low levels of DHEA-S include prolonged fatigue, poor concentration, a diminished sense of well-being, and (especially in women) a reduced sex drive. Abnormally high levels of DHEA-S mainly affect young children, and can lead to early puberty in boys, and the development of masculine characteristics in young girls.

What do the results mean?

Normal range of DHEA sulfate: vary between men and women, with higher levels being typically found in men. The range of normal values also varies by age, since DHEA sulfate production naturally decreases after the age of 30. The refernce ranges of normal will be included on the test report.

High DHEA sulfate level: abnormally high values indicate the adrenal glands are producing too much DHEA-S, and in women can be associated with polycystic ovarian syndrome. Other conditions such as an adrenal gland tumor, a genetic condition called congenital adrenal hyperplasia, hyperthyroidism, Cushing’s disease, and severe stress have also been associated with high levels of DHEA-S.

Low DHEA sulfate level: may mean that the adrenal glands are not making enough DHEA-S, and can result from several different processes including disorders of the adrenal glands themselves (adrenal insufficiency, Addison disease), or a problem with the pituitary gland not producing normal amounts of its hormones (hypopituitarism). Other diseases such as type 2 diabetes, kidney failure, anorexia, and AIDS can cause low levels of DHEA-S. The long term use of prescription steroid medications can also lead to suppression of DHEA-S production, and cause the level to be low.