DHEAS testing detects the presence of dehydroepiandrosterone sulphate (DHEAS) in your blood. DHEA sulphate, a steroid hormone in both sexes, is produced by your adrenal glands. DHEAS levels peak around puberty and then decline naturally with age.
What is the function of DHEAS?
DHEAS is converted by your body into androgens (testosterone and androstenedione) and oestrogen. Testosterone is a male hormone, but women also produce it in a smaller amount. Therefore, DHEAS is essential for developing sex hormones.
What is the function of the adrenal glands?
Individuals have two adrenal glands, one on each side of their kidney. These glands produce the majority of the body’s DHEAS. In addition, DHEAS is produced in small amounts by the testicles in the reproductive system of men. It is also produced in the ovaries of the female reproductive system.
- Make DHEAS, which is necessary for the production of sex hormones.
- Cortisol is a hormone that helps the immune response and metabolism. Your hypothalamus releases CRH when your blood’s cortisol levels drop, telling your pituitary gland to generate ACTH. ACTH then stimulates your adrenal glands to create and release cortisol.
- Aid in regulating heart rate, blood pressure, and other bodily functions.
Who would benefit from a DHEA sulphate (DHEAS) test?
If you have symptoms of an adrenal disorder or an adrenal tumour your doctor may recommend a DHEAS test. The test can reveal how well the adrenal glands are functioning.
Children and infants who are intersex may also be tested for DHEAS. Intersex refers to a person whose sexual anatomy does not fall neatly into a binary (male/female) classification. The test allows doctors to determine the specific line of treatment.
High and low levels of DHEAS
Male children with elevated DHEAS levels may experience premature puberty. However, adults who present as men at birth and have high levels may not exhibit symptoms.
People who are born female and have high DHEAS levels may experience the following:
- Menstrual irregularities (missed periods)
- Excessive hair growth (hirsutism)
- Women’s hair loss
- Severe acne
- Atrophy of the cervix
Low DHEAS levels can cause sexual dysfunction in both sexes, such as low sex drives (libido). Also, erectile dysfunction can occur in men.
Furthermore, low DHEAS levels can result in the following:
- Dehydration and a desire for salt
- Vomiting and nausea
- Unknown cause of weight loss
Who conducts DHEA sulphate (DHEAS) tests?
A blood draw is required for a DHEAS test. This specialized test is not available in all labs. Your provider will refer you to a laboratory that does.
The procedure is completed in less than five minutes. First, the blood sample is taken by a lab technician. Then, using the same blood draw, your health professional may order tests to measure other things, such as levels of hormones, such as testosterone or oestrogen.
What takes place during a DHEAS test?
- A provider draws blood by tying a rubber band (tourniquet) to the upper portion of your arm (bicep). This helps to put pressure on blood flow further into blood vessels. This blood volume increase makes accessing a vein easier.
- Then, the skin is sterilised with an antiseptic.
- A thin, hollow needle is inserted into the vein on the inner side of the arm. The needle may cause a slight pinch as it penetrates the skin, but the process shouldn’t be painful.
- Blood is drawn into syringes or vials (small tubes).
- The tourniquet is removed, and the needle is withdrawn from the skin.
- To prevent bleeding, cotton gauze is applied to the injected site. Pressure is also gently applied to prevent bleeding by the medical practitioner.
- Gentle pressure is applied to the injected site with sterile cotton gauze.
- A medical tape or bandage is used to safeguard the cotton gauze from needle puncture.
- The blood is then sent to a lab for analysis.
How should I prepare for a DHEA sulphate (DHEAS) test?
DHEAS levels, unlike other hormones, are usually steady throughout the day. Therefore, the time of day you take the DHEAS test should not affect the results. Unless otherwise instructed by your provider, you can eat and normally drink before a DHEAS test.
Ask your provider if you should stop taking any medications or supplements well before the blood test. For example, specific diabetes and high BP medications can raise DHEAS levels. Moreover, probiotics like omega-3 fats and vitamin E can lower them. In addition, nicotine raises DHEAS levels, so don’t smoke before the test.
DHEAS Test Cost
The Dehydroepiandrosterone Sulphate (DHEA-S) test can help determine the reason for masculine physical features (virilization). It shows the physical features in girls and women and early puberty in boys. It also aids in the evaluation of adrenal gland function and the detection of adrenal tumours or cancers.
The DHEAS Test cost would be Rs. 500.
DHEAS is required by your body to generate androgens and oestrogen. Women who produce too much DHEAS could develop PCOS or other symptoms such as facial hair. Boys with rising DHEAS levels may enter puberty prematurely. DHEAS levels can also impact your desire for sex and reproductive health.