Overview of DHEA
What is DHEA?
This test is usually ordered when a girl has excess facial or body hair, acne, absence of menstrual periods, decreased breast size or a women has infertility; when a boy shows signs of early puberty, such as deep voice, pubic hair or muscle development.
Why is DHEA done?
- If a woman has signs or symptoms such as amenorrhea, infertility or those of virilization like deep voice, excess facial or body hair, acne, decreased breast size
- It may be ordered to evaluate the function of adrenal gland
Preparation for DHEA
- Do not eat or drink anything other than water for 8-12 hours before the test.
Sample Type for DHEA
Interpreting DHEA results
- Normal DHEA with normal androgen levels usually indicate that the adrenal gland is functioning normally
A high DHEA may indicate an adrenocortical tumor, Cushing's disease, adrenal cancer or adrenal hyperplasia. It is not diagnostic of a specific condition, further testing may then be required to confirm the diagnosis of the above mentioned conditions
- DHEA may be elevated with polycystic ovarian syndrome
- A low level of DHEA may be due to adrenal insufficiency, Addison's disease, hypopituitarism