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.

It may be measured 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
  • Muscularity
  • Acne
  • 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 are not distinctly male or female in appearance (ambiguous genitalia).

DHEAS may also be measured 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.


What does the test result mean?



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).

A low level of DHEAS may be due to adrenal insufficiency, adrenal dysfunction, Addison disease, or hypopituitarism, a condition that causes low levels of the pituitary hormones that regulate the production and secretion of adrenal hormones.