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17-hydroxycorticosteroid urine test

The 17-hydroxycorticosteroid (17-OHCS) test measures the level of 17-OHCS in the urine.

Alternative Names

17-OH corticosteroids; 17-OHCS

How the Test is Performed

A 24-hour urine sample is needed. You will need to collect your urine over 24 hours . Your health care provider will tell you how to do this. Follow instructions exactly so that the results are accurate.

How to Prepare for the Test

The health care provider will instruct you, if necessary, to stop medicines that may interfere with the test. These may include:

  • Birth control pills that contain estrogen
  • Certain antibiotics
  • Glucocorticoids

How the Test will Feel

The test involves only normal urination. There is no discomfort.

Why the Test is Performed

17-hydroxycorticosteroid (17-OHCS) is a product formed when the liver and other body tissues break down the steroid hormone, cortisol.

This test can help determine if the body is producing too much of the hormone, cortisol. The test may be used to diagnose Cushing syndrome.

Normal Results

Normal values:

  • Male: 4 to 14 milligrams per 24 hours
  • Female: 2 to 12 milligrams per 24 hours

Normal value ranges may vary slightly among different laboratories. Some labs use different measurements or test different samples. Talk to your doctor about the meaning of your specific test results.

What Abnormal Results Mean

A higher than normal level of 17-OHCS may indicate:

  • Cushing syndrome caused by a tumor in the adrenal gland that produces cortisol
  • Depression
  • Hydrocortisone therapy
  • Malnutrition
  • Obesity
  • Pregnancy
  • Severe high blood pressure
  • Severe physical or emotional stress
  • Tumor in the pituitary gland or elsewhere in the body that releases a hormone called ACTH

A lower than normal level of 17-OHCS may indicate:

Risks

There are no risks with this test.

References

Guber HA, Farag AF. Evaluation of endocrine function. In: McPherson RA, Pincus MR, eds. Henry's Clinical Diagnosis and Management by Laboratory Methods. 22nd ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Elsevier Saunders; 2011:chap 24.

Stewart PM, Krone NP. The adrenal cortex. In: Melmed S, Polonsky KS, Larsen PR, Kronenberg HM, eds. Williams Textbook of Endocrinology. 12th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Elsevier Saunders; 2011:chap 15.

Updated: 11/7/2013

Brent Wisse, MD, Associate Professor of Medicine, Division of Metabolism, Endocrinology & Nutrition, University of Washington School of Medicine. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Bethanne Black, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.


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