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HomeAnswersEndocrinologypolycystic ovarian diseaseWhy is the DHEA level high and what does it mean?

Why is the DHEA level high and what does it mean?

The following is an actual conversation between an iCliniq user and a doctor that has been reviewed and published as a Premium Q&A.

Answered by

Dr. Shaikh Sadaf

Medically reviewed by

iCliniq medical review team

Published At March 13, 2018
Reviewed AtJune 5, 2023

Patient's Query

Hi doctor,

My daughter is 15 years old, and she has high levels of DHEA (dehydroepiandrosterone). On the first test, it was 641, and 381 on the second test. She took her test when she had periods, normal testosterone, and thyroid antibodies. She always had a deep voice and body hairs on her chest and stomach. She was taking birth control pills two months ago because of her irregular periods. A routine blood test for being on birth control revealed the results above. Her cholesterol and lipids are high as well. She is not overweight, and she has a healthy diet. My concern is why there is a high level of DHEA sulfate and what does it mean?

Answered by Dr. Shaikh Sadaf

Hello,

Welcome to icliniq.com.

I just read your query about your daughter. It appears that your daughter has irregular menses and hirsutism which is mostly due to polycystic ovarian disease. DHEA means dehydroepiandrosterone. The levels are usually raised in two conditions: Polycystic ovarian disease and Congenital adrenal hyperplasia. If the testosterone levels are normal as in your daughter’s case, then this rise is due to polycystic ovarian disease, and congenital adrenal hyperplasia is ruled out. Polycystic ovarian disease is responsible for your daughter’s excessive hair on her body and rest of the symptoms. It is usually treated with oral contraceptives.

Hope you find my advice beneficial.

Patient's Query

Thank you doctor,

Everyone is ruling out PCOS because her testosterone level is normal.

Answered by Dr. Shaikh Sadaf

Hello,

Welcome back to icliniq.com.

It is better to do an ultrasound pelvis and get it confirmed. But she is taking the treatment. So, the situation seems to be resolving anyways.

Patient's Query

Thank you doctor,

Can you tell me why the DHEA (dehydroepiandrosterone-sulfate) number would fluctuate so much?

Answered by Dr. Shaikh Sadaf

Hello,

Welcome back to icliniq.com.

It is fluctuating because she is taking hormonal contraceptives to correct it.

Patient's Query

Thank you doctor,

Will it keep fluctuating? I suppose 381 is still high. The blood tests were less than a week apart.

Answered by Dr. Shaikh Sadaf

Hello,

Welcome back to icliniq.com.

It is supposed to drop gradually. It is expected to fluctuate that much, but mostly downwards. Yes, 381 is still high. Besides, it takes a lot of time to be absolutely normal.

Patient's Query

Thank you doctor,

Will it keep fluctuating? I am more concerned about the first high number. She has been taking the birth control for the past three months.

Answered by Dr. Shaikh Sadaf

Hi,

Welcome back to icliniq.com.

Let us hope that it does not happen.

Same symptoms don't mean you have the same problem. Consult a doctor now!

Dr. Shaikh Sadaf
Dr. Shaikh Sadaf

Endocrinology

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