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Androstenedione



Why Get Tested

To help evaluate adrenal gland function to detect adrenal tumors or cancers to help determine the cause of male physical characteristics virilization in females or early puberty in boys to evaluate androgen production and function of ovaries in women or testicular function in men when congenital adrenal hyperplasia CAH is suspected to monitor treatment for CAH

When To Get Tested

When a woman has excess facial and body hair hirsutism acne no monthly menstrual periods amenorrhea fewer than 6-8 menstrual cycle per year oligomenorrhea or infertility when a boy is undergoing very early precocious puberty or a girl is showing signs of virilization when puberty is delayed when diagnosing CAH periodically when being treated for CAH

Sample Required

A blood sample drawn from a vein in your arm

Test Preparation Needed

In menstruating women there may be specific instructions as to timing of the sample collection




Common Questions


Androstenedione testing is used to evaluate the function of the adrenal gland and the ovaries or the testicles as well as the production of hormones related to the development of male sex organs and physical characteristics androgens It is most commonly used to determine the cause of symptoms of excess androgens in a woman who has an elevated testosterone level along with a few other laboratory tests for this purpose An androstenedione level may be used to Evaluate adrenal gland function and to distinguish between androgen-secreting conditions that are caused by the adrenal glands from those that originate in the ovaries or testicles if results of DHEAS and testosterone testing are abnormal Help diagnose tumors in the outer layer cortex of the adrenal gland or tumors outside of the adrenal gland that secrete ACTH ectopic and separate these conditions from ovarian or testicular tumors and cancers Diagnose congenital adrenal hyperplasia CAH and monitor CAH treatment in addition to tests for testosterone and 17-hydroxyprogesterone for example Help diagnose polycystic ovarian syndrome PCOS and help rule out other causes of infertility no monthly menstrual periods amenorrhea and excess body and facial hair hirsutism in women who have abnormal results on tests for DHEAS testosterone and other hormones such as FSH LH prolactin and estrogen Investigate and diagnose the cause of male physical characteristics virilization in young girls and early precocious puberty in young boys Help determine the cause of delayed puberty and investigate suspected ovarian or testicular failure

Androstenedione may be ordered along with or following other hormone tests whenever excess or more rarely deficient androgen production is suspected and or when a doctor wants to evaluate a person s adrenal gland ovarian or testicular function It may be ordered when a female infant has external sex organs that are not clearly male or female ambiguous external genitalia or when a young girl develops male physical features that may be due to CAH or another condition associated with excess androgens Androstenedione may be measured when young boys show signs of precocious puberty the development of an enlarged penis muscularity pubic hair and or a deeper voice well before the age of normal puberty It may also be ordered when puberty is delayed It may be measured when a woman has infertility or symptoms that can vary in severity and may include A deeper voice Acne Excess facial and or body hair Lack of or irregular menstruation Male pattern baldness Muscularity Androstenedione is ordered periodically to help monitor glucocorticoid replacement therapy for CAH

A normal androstenedione level along with other normal androgen levels and other normal adrenal tests may indicate that the adrenal gland is functioning normally However an androstenedione level may be normal or elevated when an adrenal tumor or cancer is present depending upon the hormones it is secreting With polycystic ovarian syndrome androstenedione may be elevated but may also be normal as this disorder is usually related to ovarian androgen production primarily testosterone An elevated level of androstenedione indicates increased adrenal ovarian or testicular production Small fluctuations in concentration are usually normal An increased level may indicate an adrenal tumor adrenal cancer adrenal hyperplasia or congenital adrenal hyperplasia CAH An increased level is not diagnostic of a specific condition it usually indicates the need for further testing to pinpoint the cause A low level of androstenedione may be due to adrenal gland dysfunction adrenal insufficiency or to ovarian or testicular failure In those with CAH who are being treated with glucocorticoid steroids normal levels of androstenedione tend to indicate that treatment is effective in suppressing excess androgen production while elevated levels indicate the need for treatment adjustment

If a radioimmunoassay method is used to measure androstenedione then a radioactive scan performed within one week prior to testing may invalidate test results Androstenedione concentrations increase in boys undergoing puberty for about two years prior to significant increases in testosterone Androstenedione levels are not usually used to monitor this process Adrenal androstenedione is the major source of androgens for postmenopausal women

Not necessarily The type and severity of symptoms will vary from person to person and will vary with age Adult men have already developed masculine secondary sexual characteristics so they will not typically experience symptoms with increased androstenedione

This depends on the laboratory performing the test It is not a routine test and not all laboratories offer it Your sample may need to be sent to a reference laboratory for testing It may take several days for results to be available

Yes the level of androstenedione or andro can be done as part of testing for sports doping Androstenedione is sometimes taken illegally by athletes as a performance-enhancing drug The body converts it to an anabolic steroid a synthetic version of testosterone It is intended to help build muscle but like other anabolic steroids it can interfere with bone growth affect the heart and in some cases cause liver damage