The bloodstreams of men and women contain male hormones called androgens. Testosterone is the most powerful androgen. Testosterone is produced in the testicles, ovaries, and adrenal glands. Androgens are also produced in other tissue, particularly in fatty tissue where androgen precursors produced by the ovaries or adrenal glands is used as their source.
Dehydroepiandrosterone or DHEAS is one of the precursors of testosterone. It already possesses weak androsterone impacts. Even though DHEAS is a weak androgen, high concentrations may cause excessive secretion of androsterone, known as hyperandrogenism, in women. In men, high DHEAS levels may elevate the blood’s oestrogen levels as higher quantities are transformed into oestrogen.
As DHEAS is primarily produced in the adrenal cortex, it can be used to examine the functions of the cortex. The ACTH hormone secreted by the pituitary gland regulates the secretion of DHEAS in the adrenal glands.
When should DHEAS be measured?
DHEAS can be measured when examining the hormonal functions of the adrenal cortex. It also offers additional information when examining ovarian insufficiency and excessive hair growth or hirsutism in women. Testosterone, SHBG, and androstendione are usually tested at the same time.
The DHEAS test can be carried out for women in the event of missing periods and exhibiting masculine characteristics, such as:
- Hair loss on the top of the head, in other words “male-pattern baldness”
- Deeper voice
- Enlarged Adam’s apple
- Excessive hair growth on the face or body
- Reduced breast size
In boys, DHEAS is usually tested if puberty begins early.
What does a DHEAS test measure?
The test measures the level of the DHEAS hormone in the blood. The test indicates whether the adrenal cortex produces the DHEAS hormone in excessive or insufficient quantities.
How to interpret the DHEAS test result?
Normally, the result is: Reference values:
- Men, Ages 17-39 4,6–27 nmol/l
- Men Ages >40 2,2–16,3 nmol/l
- Women, Ages 17-39 4,6–27 nmol/l
- Women, Ages >40 2,2–16,3 nmol/l
DHEAS is secreted into the bloodstream in a specific daily rhythm. The difference between the DHEAS levels in the morning and evening is about 20%.
Please contact your physician or other healthcare professional if you suspect an illness or need help interpreting the results.
The reference values of this examination have changed 11.10.2021. You will find your own result's reference values from My LOUNA in touch with the graph. Read more about defining reference values.
What can cause elevated levels in the DHEAS?
An elevated DHEAS level can indicate a tumour in one of the adrenal glands, hyperplasia or enlargement of the adrenal glands, or ovarian cancer producing DHEAS hormone.
What can cause decreased levels in the DHEAS?
Low DHEAS levels can result from adrenal insufficiency or another malfunction of the adrenal glands. In addition, low DHEAS levels can be caused by hypopituitarism, an illness reducing the amount of stimulating hormones released by the pituitary gland.
SYNLAB test list: Dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate (3166 S-DHEAS) https://www.yml.fi/tuotekuvaus_show.php?tuotenro=82
Lab Tests Online: DHEAS https://labtestsonline.org/tests/dheas
Tiitinen A. Vaihdevuodet ja androgeenit. Terveyskirjasto health library. https://www.terveyskirjasto.fi/dlk01154/vaihdevuodet-ja-androgeenit?q=dheas
Fasting is not required
This examination does not require fasting