Dehydroepiandrosterone Sulfate (DHEA-S) Blood Test
A DHEA-S Blood Test determines adrenal gland function.
For women with infertility, hirsutism or amenorrhea, a DHEA-S test helps identify the source of excessive androgen. Additionally, this blood test aids in the evaluation of excess androgen (virilization and/or hirsutism), including Stein-Leventhal syndrome and adrenocortical diseases, including congenital adrenal hyperplasia and adrenal tumor. DHEA sulfate is low in Addison disease and is not increased with hypopituitarism.
DHEA sulfate is an androgen (male sex hormone) that is present in the blood of both men and women. It assists in the development of male secondary sexual characteristics at puberty, and can be metabolized into testosterone and androstenedione (more potent androgens), or changed into estrogen (a female hormone). The outer layer of the adrenal glands, the adrenal cortex, is responsible for producing DHEA sulfate, while smaller amounts are produced in the testes and ovaries. Dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate secretion is controlled by the pituitary hormone adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH) and other pituitary factors. Since DHEA,s is primarily produced by the adrenal glands, it is a strong marker for adrenal function. Cancers, adrenal tumors and hyperplasia can lead to the overproduction of DHEA sulfate. While elevated levels may not be noticed in adult men, they can lead to visible symptoms of virilization and amenorrhea.
What Is the Difference Between DHEA and DHEA,s?
The main differentiator between DHEA and DHEA sulfate is that DHEA has an extra sulfate molecule attached to it. DHEA,s is a steroid androgen that is found in both women and men. DHEA is made in the ovaries, testes and the adrenal glands. The body changes DHEA sulfate into DHEA with the enzyme steroid sulfatase. The body also reverses this process and change DHEA back into DHEA,s.
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