DHEA-S is the sulfated form of DHEA and is the major androgen produced by the adrenal glands. This test is used in the differential diagnosis of hirsute or virilized female patients and for the diagnosis of isolated premature adrenarche and adrenal tumors. About 10% of hirsute women with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) have elevated DHEA-S but normal levels of other androgens.
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. 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.