This blood test is often done for women who seem to have too many male hormones. It can also be done when a woman has a low sex drive and when a boy starts puberty too early.
DHEA stands for dehydroepiandrosterone. This is a hormone found in the adrenal glands, above the kidneys. DHEA helps to make other hormones, like testosterone in men and estrogen in women. Your natural DHEA levels are highest when you’re a young adult. They get lower as you age. In your adrenal glands and liver, DHEA changes to DHEA-S (DHEA-sulfate).
The DHEA-S test is done to check whether your adrenal glands are working well. It measures the amount of DHEA-S in your bloodstream.
In women, high DHEA-S levels can cause symptoms like:
– No menstrual periods
– A lot of body and facial hair
– Lots of acne
– Hair loss
– Fertility problems
– Other traits usually found in men, including a deep voice, lack of breasts, male pattern baldness, and a large Adam’s apple
– More muscle
Too much DHEA may not be as noticeable in men. High levels of DHEA-S in children can cause boys and girls to get pubic or underarm hair early.