Androstenedione Test

dhea adrenal

What is Androstenedione?

Androstenedione is a hormone belonging to the androgen group which is one of the most integral male sex hormones.  Even though it is a male hormone, it is also found in females especially the premenopausal women.

Androstenedione is a precursor androgen which is converted by the body into a more potent or active form like testosterone in males and estrogen in females. The production of the Androstenedione happens in the ovaries in females and in the testes for the males.

The production of the Adestenedione in the ovaries and testes is regulated by the pituitary hormone called LH(Luteinizing Hormone). The ACTH(AdrenoCorticotropic Hormone) is responsible for the regulation of the secretion of the Androstenedione by the adrenal glands.

What is the Androstenedione test?

Androstenedione test is used to measure and monitor the levels of the Androstenedione in the blood. The levels of the Androstenedione is variable diurnally as well as during the menstrual cycle of a woman.

Why did my doctor recommend me the Androstenedione test?

The Androstenedione test can be used for the diagnosis of various conditions. If your doctor has recommended you to undergo the Androstenedione test, for the following reasons as listed below.

– Since the Androstenedione hormone is produced by the adrenal gland, the test of the levels of the Androstenedione helps in the evaluation of the functioning of the adrenal gland. Your doctor might suggest you undergo the Androstenedione test for assessing the functioning of the adrenal glands.

– The Androstenedione acts as the tumor marker for the adrenal gland. Your doctor might recommend the Androstenedione test if he wants to diagnose any malignancy in the adrenal glands.

– If your doctor wants to diagnose the reasons for the early puberty, he might suggest you undergo the Androstenedione test.

– The reasons for the development of the male characteristics in females(virilization) like facial hair etc are also diagnosed using the Androstenedione test. Your doctor might recommend the Androstenedione test for the same.

– Your healthcare practitioner might need to evaluate the functioning of your testes and ovaries. Hence, you have been recommended to undergo the Androstenedione test.

– To diagnose the Congenital Adrenal Hyperplasia(CAH) or to evaluate if your body is responding to the CAH treatment, your doctor can suggest you undergo the Androstenedione test.

When should I go for the Androstenedione test?

There are various symptoms related to the abnormal levels of the Androstenedione. If you have been experiencing such symptoms, it is always suggested to undergo the Androstenedione test. Some of the common symptoms are as follows:

– Excessive body hair and facial hair growth in females(Hirsutism).
– Missing menstrual periods every month(Amenorrhea).
– Getting lesser than 6-8 menstrual cycle per year (Oligomenorrhea).
– Infertility
– Early or late puberty in both males and females.

If you are experiencing various symptoms of CAH(Congenital Adrenal Hyperplasia), it is significant to undergo the Adrenostenedione test. The common symptoms of the CAH are:

– Dehydration
– A sudden shift of appetite
-Diarrhea
-Frequent vomiting and nausea
-An irregular rhythm of the heartbeat
-Low blood pressure
– Very low blood sodium levels
– Having very low blood glucose levels.
-Acid toxicity in the blood (metabolic acidosis)
– Abrupt weight loss
– Difficulty in concentration
 

What are the preparations required for the Androstenedione test?

There are no specific preparations required for the Androstenedione test.

– Fasting is not required.
– No new medications are included.
– All the old medications can be continued. Consult with your doctor and tell him about all the medicines that you had been taking. He might suggest you stop certain hormonal medications which can affect the results.
– The specimen is collected generally in the morning.
– In the case of menstruating women, the specimen of blood is collected 1 week before or after the menstrual cycle.

What is the procedure of the Androstenedione test?

The  Androstenedione test is conducted by the blood sample collection. The blood sample is collected by the procedure of venipuncture. The process of venipuncture is done by the following ways elaborated in the steps below:

– A tourniquet or a tight elastic band is wrapped around the upper arm of an individual. This makes the veins more prominent making it easier to locate the vein to withdraw the blood sample from.

– A syringe or a needle is injected into the vein from which the blood sample is withdrawn.

– The blood sample is collected in the tube of the syringe. The tourniquet is unwrapped and an antiseptic is applied on the spot of the puncture. The spot of the puncture is dabbed with a cotton swab or a bandage is put. This helps in stopping any further bleeding.

– The collected blood sample is then sent to the laboratory for the Androstenedione test.
 

Is the Androstenedione test painful?

The Androstenedione test is conducted by the collection of the blood sample. The blood sample collection is done in the safest way called venipuncture. This procedure of the blood collection might involve a pinpricking sensation when the needle gets injected. This feeling fades away in a few hours or a day maximum.
 

What are the risks associated with the Androstenedione test?

There are no risks associated with the Androstenedione test. The procedure of the blood collection involves some minute risks.

– One can experience pain due to so many punctures. This pain wears off in some time.

– Some people might feel lightheaded and dizzy after the collection of the blood sample.

– There’s a chance of Haematoma(clotting of blood under the skin forming lumps).

– Bruising and bleeding are the most common risks associated with the Venipuncture procedure.
 

What is the price of the Androstenedione test?

The price range of the Androstenedione test in India starts from Rs 1800 It might vary depending on the location of the diagnostic center i.e. the city or the state the diagnostic center is located in.
 

When will I get my results for the Androstenedione test?

You will get your results for the Androstenedione within 24 hours to 36 hours of the test.

How to understand my results for the Androstenedione test?

Age (male) Clinical reference(in nmol/L)
18 – 30 years 175-768
31 – 50 years 140-663 
51 – 60 years 175-768


Menstrual Stages (females) Clinical reference(in nmol/L)
Follicular  122-873
Mid-cycle  209-995
Luteal  105-820
Postmenopausal 70-262


Age (children) Clinical reference(in nmol/L)
1-12 months 21-272
1-4 years 17-178
5-9 years 21-401 
10-13 years  42-771
14-17 years  77-785

What does it mean if I have higher levels of the Androstenedione?

If you  are a female and you have a higher level of Androstenedione in your blood, it indicates the following conditions:

– Excess growth of body hair (hirsutism)
– An abnormal pattern of menstrual periods or irregular menstrual periods.
– Early puberty
– PCOS(PolyCystic Ovarian Syndrome)
– Virilization(development of  male characteristics)
– Amenorrhea(missing out monthly periods or getting lesser than 4-6 menstrual periods throughout the year) 
– Adrenal tumors 
– CAH(Congenital Adrenal hyperplasia)

If you are a male, the signs and symptoms of the increased level of the Androstenedione are not noticeable. The most common things indicated by the higher levels of the Androstenedione in males are:
– Adrenal tumors 
– Adrenal glands failing to work properly
– CAH(Congenital Adrenal Hyperplasia)

What does it mean if I have lower levels of the Androstenedione?

If you are a female with the levels of Androstenedione lower than the clinical range according to your age and phase, it can indicate the following conditions:

– The incapability of the adrenal glands to work the way that it should.
– Previous surgical removal of the ovaries in a female.
– Hypopituitarism(the condition in which the pituitary gland does not produce the hormones required in the correct amount).
– Early menopause
 
If you are a male with the levels of the Androstenedione lower than that of the clinical range according to the age, it indicates the following conditions:

– Addison’s disease or primary adrenal insufficiency in which the adrenal glands stop functioning the way it is required to work.
– In the case of late puberty, the levels of the Androstenedione is very low.
– CAH(Congenital Adrenal Hyperplasia)
– Dysfunction of the pituitary gland because of the tumors.
– Kallman syndrome (this condition signifies the abnormal development of the hypothalamus which is a hormone controlling gland in the brain).
– The incapability of testes to produce enough Androstenedione.
 

Is the Androstenedione test recommended during pregnancy?

Androgens play a very pivotal role during the gestational period. The abnormal levels of the Androgens have adverse health effects on the fetus. Hence, it is very important for pregnant women to undergo the tests for androgens. You need to undergo the test for the Androstenedione which is a type of androgen hormone along with the other androgen tests if your doctor recommends it according to your other health conditions.   

Is the Androstenedione test recommended for my newborn?

There are various effects of the abnormal levels of the Androstenedione on the kid. It is highly recommended for your newborn to undergo the Androstenedione test if a condition of ambiguous external genitalia is noticed. Under this condition, the higher levels of the androstenedione and other androgens lead to the newborn to have sex organs which not clearly male or female.

When should I take my kid for the Androstenedione test?

If your kid is experiencing early or late puberty, it’s highly recommended for your kid to undergo the Androstenedione test. 
In the case of experiencing the symptoms of CAH(Congenital Adrenal Hyperplasia), your kid is suggested to take the Androstenedione test. Some of the common symptoms of the CAH(Congenital Adrenal Hyperplasia) are listed below-

In the case of a female child, the common symptoms of CAH might be as follows:

– A deep and husky voice like males
– Excess growth of hair on the face and body
– Missing out monthly menstrual periods or irregular periods
– Changes related to early puberty such as hair in the armpits and pubic area
– Severe acne and pimples problem.
– Male-pattern baldness (loss of hair near the temples)
 
In the case of a male child, the symptoms of the CAH might be as follows:

– Development of muscles at an early age
– Early puberty with the early growth of armpit hair and pubic hair.
– Enlargement of the penis during childhood
– Deepening of the voice earlier than the age of normal puberty
– Early growth of beard
– Smaller testicles than normal
– Severe acne and pimples

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