The Androstenedione, LC/MS/MS test contains 1 test with 1 biomarker.
Description: The androstenedione blood test is a test used to measure levels of the male sex hormone androstenedione in a patient’s blood’s serum. This test is often used to assess a patient’s testicular or ovarian function, but may also be ordered when children are displaying male characteristics.
Also Known As: AD Test
Collection Method: Blood Draw
Specimen Type: Serum
Test Preparation: No preparation required
Average Processing Time: 4 to 5 days
When is an Androstenedione test ordered?
When excessive androgen production is suspected or when a doctor wants to assess a patient's testicular, ovarian, or adrenal function, androstenedione may be prescribed along with or after other hormone tests.
It may be requested when a young girl acquires masculine physical characteristics that could be caused by CAH or another illness involving excess androgens, such as when a female infant has external sex organs that are not unmistakably male or female.
When young boys exhibit symptoms of premature puberty, such as the development of a larger penis, muscularity, pubic hair, and/or a deeper voice, long before the age of typical puberty, androstenedione may be measured. If puberty is delayed, it can also be ordered.
When a woman experiences infertility or symptoms that might range in intensity and might include:
- A deeper voice
- excessive body hair or facial hair
- irregular or nonexistent menstruation
- Male pattern baldness
For the purpose of monitoring glucocorticoid replacement therapy for CAH, androstenedione is routinely prescribed.
What does an Androstenedione blood test check for?
Androstenedione is one of several androgens, or "masculine" sex hormones, that cause secondary male physical traits such a deep voice and facial hair to develop as well as the beginning of sexual differentiation between males and girls. Although it is thought of as a "male" sex hormone, both men and women have it in their blood. It is a precursor that the body can turn into more potent androgens like testosterone or into the female hormone estrogen. The amount of androstenedione in the blood is determined by this test.
The ovaries in women, the testicles in men, and the adrenal glands in both produce androstenedione. The pituitary hormone adrenocorticotropic hormone stimulates the release of androstenedione by the adrenal gland. A woman's menstrual cycle and the day will affect the level of androstenedione in her blood, which follows a "diurnal pattern." Androstenedione can be helpful as a marker of adrenal gland function, androgen production, as well as the function of the ovaries or testicles because of where it comes from. When the findings of other tests, like those for testosterone or 17-hydroxyprogesterone, are found to be abnormal, an androstenedione test is frequently carried out.
Children who have an excess of androstenedione and other androgens may have sex organs that are unclearly male or female, excessive body hair, irregular menstrual cycles in girls, and early puberty in boys.
Androstenedione can be produced in excess as a result of adrenal tumors, ACTH-producing tumors, and adrenal hyperplasia. While elevated levels may not be obvious in adult men, they can cause physical traits that are clearly masculine and prevent women from having monthly menstrual cycles.
Lab tests often ordered with an Androstenedione test:
Conditions where an Androstenedione test is recommended:
- Congenital Adrenal Hyperplasia
- Polycystic Ovary Syndrome
- Adrenal Insufficiency
- Addison Disease
- Endocrine Syndromes
How does my health care provider use an Androstenedione test?
Androstenedione is used to assess the synthesis of hormones linked to the growth of male sex organs and physical traits in males as well as the function of the adrenal gland, the ovaries, or the testicles. Along with a few other laboratory tests, it is most frequently used to identify the source of symptoms of excess androgens in a woman who has excessive testosterone levels.
One can utilize an androstenedione level to:
- If findings of DHEAS and testosterone testing are abnormal, evaluate adrenal gland function and to distinguish between androgen-secreting problems that are caused by the adrenal glands from those that originate in the ovaries or testicles.
- help distinguish these disorders from ovarian or testicular tumors and cancers and aid in the diagnosis of tumors in the outer layer of the adrenal gland or tumors outside the adrenal gland that release ACTH.
- Tests for testosterone and 17-hydroxyprogesterone, as well as monitoring CAH treatment, can be used, for example, to identify congenital adrenal hyperplasia.
- assist in making the diagnosis of polycystic ovarian syndrome in women who have abnormal results from tests for DHEAS, testosterone, and other hormones like FSH, LH, prolactin, and estrogen, as well as in excluding other causes of infertility, irregular menstrual cycles, and excessive body and facial hair.
- Look into and identify the causes of early puberty in young boys and young girls, as well as male physical traits in young girls.
- Investigate any ovarian or testicular failure that may be the cause of delayed puberty and ascertain its cause.
What do my Androstenedione test results mean?
Along with other normal androgen levels and other normal adrenal tests, a normal androstenedione level may be a sign that the adrenal gland is operating normally. However, depending on the hormones an adrenal tumor or cancer is secreting, an androstenedione level may be normal or high when present. Androstenedione may be raised in polycystic ovarian syndrome, but it also may be normal because this condition is typically associated with ovarian androgen production.
Increased synthesis of adrenal, ovarian, or testicular hormones is indicated by raised levels of androstenedione. Small concentration variations are typically normal. A higher level could be a sign of congenital adrenal hyperplasia, an adrenal tumor, an adrenal cancer, or an adrenal hyperplasia. Increased levels typically signal the need for additional testing to determine the root of the problem rather than being diagnostic of a specific condition.
Adrenal dysfunction, adrenal insufficiency, ovarian or testicular failure, as well as adrenal dysfunction, can all contribute to low levels of androstenedione.
Normal levels of androstenedione seem to suggest that treatment is successful in reducing excessive androgen production in CAH patients receiving glucocorticoid steroids, but increased levels suggest the need for treatment modification.
We advise having your results reviewed by a licensed medical healthcare professional for proper interpretation of your results.