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Increased hormone dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate in women

We talk about dhea with a hormone, what is it in women, what are the norms and causes of deviations. DHEA C (dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate) is an inactive (reserve) form of DHEA (the most important androgen synthesized by the adrenal glands). This hormone plays a crucial role in the process of puberty, the formation of secondary male sexual characteristics, the conversion of estrogen to testosterone, etc.

DHEA C hormone is a laboratory indicator that allows you to:

  • determine the presence of adrenal gland pathologies,
  • diagnose hormone-synthesizing adrenal function,
  • conduct differential diagnosis of diseases of the adrenal glands and ovaries,
  • specify the causes of prolonged infertility and the absence of puberty,
  • Diagnose polycystic ovary syndrome
  • conduct an initial diagnosis of adrenal cancer,
  • to identify factors of development of secondary sexual characteristics in the male type in girls.

The cost of research in private laboratory departments is about 300 rubles. A DHEA test is prescribed by a physician, gynecologist, endocrinologist or reproductologist.

DHEA hormone - what is it in women?

Despite the fact that DHEA sulfate is a male sex hormone, its importance in the body of women is also great. Its feature is the ability to transform into other sex hormones, for example, estrogen. The main control over the content of DHEA is carried out by the pituitary gland using adrenocorticotropic hormone.

Based on the fact that the bulk of the substance in question is synthesized by the adrenal glands, it can serve as a marker of their work. The hormonal effect of DHEA sulfate on the female body is realized due to the stimulation of the development of secondary sexual characteristics during puberty, as well as due to its ability to transform into estradiol. In the future, it supports the reproductive health of women, acting as an estrogen reserve.

After the conception of a child in the body of a woman, the hormone content decreases slightly. For the future mother and the developing fetus, it is necessary for the further synthesis of placental estrogen.


  • DHEA production is carried out mainly by the adrenal glands,
  • the norm of the active component changes with age,
  • the examination requires little preparation,
  • reducing the amount of the hormone is dangerous by the formation of infertility and the risk of abortion,
  • with an increase in DHEA, therapy is aimed at combating the cause of the change,
  • the doctor should evaluate the results.

When you need to take a test for the hormone DHEA

DHEA analysis is done to determine the condition and function of the adrenal glands. The main indications:

  • cycle failure
  • infertility of unknown genesis,
  • prostate adenoma,
  • malignant neoplasms,
  • hyperandrogenism,
  • testosterone reduction
  • premature puberty of boys,
  • secondary male signs in representatives of the weak half of humanity, regardless of age,
  • amenorrhea.

An increase in DHEA may indicate:

  • male-type active body hair
  • acne, which is difficult to treat,
  • scalp baldness,
  • a rude voice
  • the disappearance of menstruation,
  • Adam's apple growth
  • sudden mood swings,
  • breast reduction
  • decreased libido
  • clit size increase.

How to prepare for the analysis on DHEA

The study does not require special preparation, it is recommended:

  • donate blood to an empty stomach
  • on the eve of the fence, refuse to use spicy, fatty, smoked dishes and alcohol-containing drinks,
  • stop taking hormones in two days,
  • the day before the examination, do not physically overload,
  • Avoid exposure to stressful situations
  • 3 hours before analysis do not smoke,
  • on the eve of blood sampling, drink 500 ml of water, this will facilitate venipuncture and reduce the risk of destruction of red blood cells and the formation of clots.

What helps to find out the analysis

Having determined the amount of the hormone DHEA, it is possible:

  • analyze the functional ability of the glands that are responsible for the production of the hormone,
  • diagnose polycystic ovary,
  • differentiate adrenal neoplasms with other pathologies,
  • determine why there are no periods, hirsutism,
  • find out the cause of masculinization in women.

DHEA hormone norm

The hormone DHEA at a normal level ensures the stable functioning of the body. It allows you to lead an active lifestyle, including sexual ones, and also provides good health.

DHEA norm in women:

AgeNormal reading (mcg / dl)
10 - 1533,9 - 280
15 - 2065,1 - 368
20 - 25148 - 307
25 - 3598 - 340
35 - 4560,9 - 337
45 – 5560,9 - 337
55 – 6518,9 - 205
65 - 759.4 to 246
after 75154

It is necessary to focus on the fact that with some pathologies, for example, with polycystic ovary syndrome, the hormone may not be produced, however, the tests will be normal. A slight malfunction of one of the glands may be unnoticed.

Cardiac malaise when DHEA sulfate is reduced in women

According to physiological characteristics, DHEA decreases after 25 years. If there is a significant deviation to the lower side, the risk of problems associated with the functioning of the organs of the cardiovascular system increases by almost 3 times.

At an older age, a decrease in the amount of DHEA leads to a thickening of the walls of the arteries. The risk of developing acute cerebrovascular accident increases.

How to increase DHEA

To increase the level of the hormone, first of all, it is necessary to find out the cause of the deviation and eliminate it. The fastest and most effective way to normalize DHEA is considered to be the use of additives and preparations made on its basis.

In rare cases, this treatment helps to increase the natural production of the component. In parallel with this, medications can be used to improve the condition of the glands responsible for the secretion of the hormone.

When conducting treatment, it is important to strictly observe the dosage, because an increase in the amount of the hormone is more dangerous. That is why therapy should be prescribed and controlled by a doctor.

When dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate is elevated in women

There are many reasons for the growth of DHEA; we will now talk about the main ones.

Neoplasms of the adrenal cortex of a benign or malignant nature can lead to an increase in the concentration of the hormone. Pathology contributes to the formation of such abnormal symptoms as:

  • tremor of arms and legs,
  • arterial hypertension, which is difficult to correct,
  • heart failure
  • tachycardia,
  • increase in daily urine volume,
  • sleep disturbance and falling asleep,
  • pain in the head area,
  • loss of ability to concentrate
  • unmotivated fear, panic, aggression.


Hyperplasia of the adrenal cortex can also cause an increase in the concentration of the hormone. There is a violation of the production of cortisol.

Symptoms will depend on the type of damaged or mutated gene. An increase in internal organs incompatible with life or a slight violation of their functioning without the appearance of pathological symptoms may be observed.

Itsenko-Cushing's Disease

When diagnosing a disease of Itsenko-Cushing, an increase in the amount of the hormone DHEA due to its hypersecretion by the pituitary gland is observed. Pathology is not too common, it is diagnosed 5 times more often in women.

The exact cause of the disease has not been clarified; head injuries, infectious diseases and the postpartum period can provoke its development. The prognosis depends on the age of the patient and the severity of the course of the disease.

With timely diagnosis of pathology in women under 30 years old, the prognosis is usually favorable.

If the disease is characterized by moderate severity and duration of the course, the formation of irreversible changes in the functioning of the organs of the cardiovascular and urinary system is observed.

In severe cases, there is a need for surgical treatment and lifelong use of hormones.

The cause of the increase in the level of the hormone DHEA can also be adrenogenital syndrome.

Reasons for change

A slight increase in the concentration of dehydroepiandrosterone is observed with:

  • exhausting physical exertion,
  • being on a diet
  • fasting
  • smoking
  • prolonged exposure to stressful situations,
  • obesity.

Such a deviation is considered temporary, it is recommended to undergo a second examination.

A provoking factor can be neoplasms of the lungs, pancreas and bladder, as well as the use of Danazol, Klostilbegit.

A decrease in the concentration of DHEA is observed with hypofunction of the adrenal glands or pituitary gland, for example, with:

  • Addison's disease
  • hemorrhage
  • neoplasms of the hypothalamic-pituitary system.

A decrease in hormone levels is characteristic of:

  • polycystic ovary,
  • alcohol abuse
  • osteoporosis
  • Depression
  • taking hydrocortisone, testosterone, oral contraceptives.

Treatment of increased DHEA hormone in women

Therapy with an increase in the hormone DEGA is aimed at eliminating the provoking factor of the disorder. For example, if the pathology is provoked by the formation of a neoplasm, medication and chemotherapy are prescribed, in severe cases, they resort to surgery.

When a desire appears to have a baby as soon as possible, hormonal contraceptives are used. After their cancellation, pregnancy occurs faster.

Nutritional Supplements with Dehydroepiandrosterone

DHEA is based on dehydroepiandrosterone. They suggest using it in order to increase muscle, accelerate fat burning and increase potency. Buying a food supplement is only possible on the Internet.

The concentration of the active substance may be different, it all depends on the manufacturer. As a result, the effectiveness of the drug and the risk of developing adverse reactions change. Using an anabolic for a long time can lead to:

  • the formation of cysts in the liver,
  • the appearance of neoplasms in the prostate and mammary glands,
  • a change in blood count,
  • accelerate body hair growth,
  • increase in cholesterol
  • the development of atherosclerotic vascular lesions,
  • gynecomastia
  • hirsutism
  • cycle failure.

Norm DHEA sulfate in women

The maximum concentration is characteristic of newborns. After 2 weeks, the hormone level is reduced. During puberty, the level of the hormone rises, as it is necessary for the full formation of secondary sexual characteristics. After twenty years, the level of the hormone decreases.

Let us consider in more detail what norm DEA-SO4 in women is suitable for each age. The standard units are µg / dl. For conversion to μmol / L, you should use the formula: μg / dl x 0.02714 = μmol / L.

Patient ageThe normal value of the hormone DHEA, μg / dl
Newborns up to 1 week old105 – 600
2 - 4 weeks30,9 — 429
Up to 1 year3,5 – 120
16 years0,5 – 19,2
6 - 11 years old2,5 – 84,7
11 - 16 years old32,5 – 278
16 - 20 years old64,8 – 365
20 - 26 years old140 – 410
26 - 35 years old99 – 338
35 - 47 years old (premenopause)61 – 340
47 - 55 years old (menopause)34,9 – 250
55 - 60 years old (postmenopause)19,3 – 210
60 - 75 years old9,6- 240
Over 75 years old12 – 150

It should be noted that the rate during premenopause begins to decline. There is a restructuring of the endocrine system, the work of the genital glands is inhibited. It is considered normal for women that after menopause, the level of female sex hormones decreases. At the same time, the size of male sex hormones increases slightly.

What does a hormone shift downwards mean?

A decrease in the amount of dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate in the blood indicates:

  • inhibition of the normal functioning of the adrenal glands,
  • hypopituitarism, in which there is a combined decrease in the production of thyroid hormones, the pituitary gland and adrenal glands. The causes of the development of pathology are poisoning with toxic substances, injuries, autoimmune diseases, exposure to ionizing radiation or oncology. Gradual atrophy of the glands of the endocrine system occurs,
  • development of intrauterine infections,

Non-pathological reasons include the use of progestogens - these are drugs based on steroid hormones. They are prescribed when preparing a woman for a successful conception and further supporting pregnancy.

Julia Martynovich (Peshkova)

Graduated, in 2014 she graduated with honors from the Federal State Budget Educational Institution of Higher Education at the Orenburg State University with a degree in microbiology. Graduate of postgraduate studies FSBEI HE Orenburg State Agrarian University.

In 2015 The Institute of Cellular and Intracellular Symbiosis of the Ural Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences underwent further training under the additional professional program "Bacteriology".

Laureate of the All-Russian competition for the best scientific work in the nomination "Biological Sciences" of 2017.