DHEA sulfate test is widely used to evaluate the function of adrenal gland. It governs the reproductive and sexual health of an individual that is influenced by adrenal gland. In women, dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate test is recommended for the diagnosis of different ovarian diseases and underlying causes of infertility. DHEA sulfate test is also used to diagnose different forms (congenital and adult onset) of abnormal thickening of walls of adrenal glands. The common symptoms that may appear in women due to excess of androgen are decrease in size of breast, abnormal body hair, and deep voice and enlarged Adam’s apple.
There are other reasons why a DHEA sulfate blood test will be requested. Among these are:
Early or delayed puberty in children.
Adrenal gland tumors and cancers.
Amenorrhea or no menstrual periods.
Polycystic ovarian syndrome or PCOS.
How to Prepare for a Dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) Sulfate Test
DHEA test is usually performed in the morning, when its level is at its peak. Some doctors may suggest fasting for 9 to 12 hours prior to the test, but if you are taking medications for your other medical conditions, you may be allowed to take them with water before getting the lab exam. Of note, be sure to tell your doctor if you are taking any medications because some drugs can affect the test’s reliability.
If a woman though is going to be tested for her DHEA-S level, the test may be given during a certain period in her menstrual cycle to get a more accurate reading.
DHEA testing is usually performed by taking a blood sample.
What the Results Mean
The values differ, depending upon the sex and age of the person.
Male (before puberty) should have values between 2,000 and 3,350 ng/mL.
Male (adult) should have values between 130 to 1,170 ng/mL.
Female (before menopause) should have values between 820 to 3,380 ng/mL.
Female (after menopause) should have values between 100 to 610 ng/mL.
Newborn should have values between 1,670 and 3,640 ng/mL.
Children should have values between 100 to 600 ng/mL.
You can easily understand DHEA blood test results. If your DHEA-S levels fall between the normal, then there are no problems.
However, higher than normal values mean you may have Cushing’s disease, adrenal tumor or cancer, or congenital adrenal hyperplasia. It could also mean that you have polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) or hyperthyroidism.
Lower than normal values could mean adrenal tumor or cancer, Crohn’s disease, or ovarian problems (ovaries that are not producing enough estrogen). It could also mean ulcerative colitis.
To make a better diagnosis, other tests will be ordered by your physician.
Common Dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) Sulfate Test Questions
Will there always be symptoms if you have problems with DHEA levels?
It depends. More often than not though, it is the signs and symptoms that will prompt your physician to order a DHEA-sulfate blood test.
Where can I get DHEA-S testing?
DHEA test can be performed in most CLIA certified laboratories that have specialized equipment to analyze the blood sample.
Is DHEA-S test part of a regular checkup and should everyone get it?
It’s not part of a regular lab workup, but testing for DHEA benefits if adrenal problems are suspected.
What are some other factors that increase or decrease DHEA-S level?
There are medications that can affect the DHEA-S level. Some of these like antidepressants and phenytoin increase the level. Other medications that increase the level are anti-diabetic and anti-hypertensive drugs. Smoking also increases the DHEA-S level. Corticosteroids, on the other hand, decrease the DHEA-S level. Radioactive scans done within a week prior to getting the test can also increase the level. DHEA supplements may help people with depression, obesity, lupus etc. but be wary of the DHEA side effects before taking them.
LabEspy recommends Lab Testing API, Ulta Lab Tests, Save On Labs for this test.