DHEAS levels may be ordered with other hormones to investigate and diagnose the cause of the development of masculine physical characteristics (virilization) in young girls and early (precocious) puberty in young boys.
DHEAS levels are not routinely measured. A DHEAS test may be ordered, along with other hormone tests, whenever excess (or, more rarely, deficient) androgen production is suspected and/or when a health practitioner wants to evaluate a person's adrenal gland function.
A normal DHEAS level, in addition to other normal male hormone (androgen) levels, likely indicates that the adrenal gland is functioning normally. Rarely, DHEAS may be normal when an adrenal tumor or cancer is present but is not secreting hormones.
A high DHEAS blood level may indicate that excess DHEAS production is causing or contributing to the person's symptoms. However, an increased level of DHEAS is not diagnostic of a specific condition; it usually indicates the need for further testing to pinpoint the cause of the hormone imbalance. An elevated DHEAS may indicate an adrenocortical tumor, Cushing disease, adrenal cancer, or adrenal hyperplasia, or rarely a DHEAS-producing ovarian tumor.
DHEAS may be elevated with polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) but may also be normal as this disorder is usually related to ovarian androgen production (primarily testosterone).
DHEAS levels are normally high in both male and female newborns. They drop sharply shortly after birth, then rise again during puberty. DHEAS concentrations peak after puberty, and then, like other male and female hormones, the levels tend to decline with age.
People taking DHEA supplements will have elevated blood levels of DHEAS. Certain antidiabetic drugs (such as metformin and troglitazone), prolactin, danazol, calcium channel blockers, and nicotine may also increase DHEAS levels. Drugs/hormones that may show decreased levels include insulin, oral contraceptives, corticosteroids, dopamine, hepatic enzyme inducers (carbamazepine, imipramine, phenytoin), fish oil, and vitamin E. It is important to inform your healthcare provider when taking any of these products.
This article was last reviewed on September 30, 2014. | This article was last modified on February 24, 2015.
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