The test for dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate (DHEA-S) is ordered along with tests for testosterone and several other male hormones to:
- Evaluate adrenal gland function
- Distinguish DHEA-S -secreting conditions that are caused by the adrenal glands from those that originate in the testicles or rarely in the ovaries
- Help diagnose tumors in the outer layer of the adrenal gland and adrenal cancers
- Help diagnose congenital adrenal hyperplasia and adult-onset adrenal hyperplasia
In women, concentrations of DHEA-S are often measured, along with other hormones such as FSH, LH, prolactin, estrogen, and testosterone, to help diagnose polycystic ovarian syndrome and to help rule out other causes of infertility, lack of menstrual period, and the presence of excess facial and body hair.
DHEA-S levels may be ordered with other hormones to investigate and diagnose the cause of the development of masculine physical characteristics in young girls and early puberty in young boys.
A DHEA-S test may be ordered to measure when a woman presents with signs and symptoms such as amenorrhea, infertility, and/or those related to virilization. These changes vary in severity and may include:
- A deeper voice
- Excess facial or body hair (hirsutism)
- Male pattern baldness
- Enlargement of the Adam's apple
- Decreased breast size
It may also be ordered when a young girl shows signs of virilization or when a female infant has external genitalia that is not distinctly male or female in appearance.
A DHEA-S test can also measure when young boys show signs of precocious puberty, the development of a deeper voice, pubic hair, muscularity, and an enlarged penis well before the age of normal puberty.
For more information on this test, visit labtestsonline.org
No test preparation is needed.