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17-hydroxycorticosteroids urine test

17-OH corticosteroids; 17-OHCS

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

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.

How to Prepare for the Test

The 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-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 cortisol. The test may be used to diagnose Cushing syndrome. This is a disorder that occurs when the body has a constant high level of cortisol.

The urine volume and urine creatinine are often done with 17-OHCS test at the same time. This helps the provider interpret the test.

This test is not done often now. The free cortisol urine test is a better screening test for Cushing disease.

Normal Results

Normal values:

  • Male: 3 to 9 mg/24 hours (8.3 to 25 µmol/24 hours)
  • Female: 2 to 8 mg/24 hours (5.5 to 22 µmol/24 hours)

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

What Abnormal Results Mean

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

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

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

Urinating more than 3 liters a day (polyuria) can make the result of the test high even though cortisol production is normal.

Risks

There are no risks with this test.

References

Chernecky CC, Berger BJ. 17-hydroxycorticosteroids (17-OHCS) - 24-hour urine. In: Chernecky CC, Berger BJ, eds. Laboratory Tests and Diagnostic Procedures. 6th ed. St Louis, MO: Elsevier Saunders; 2013:659-660.

Juszczak A, Morris DG, Grossman AB, Nieman LK. Cushing's syndrome. In: Jameson JL, De Groot LJ, de Kretser DM, et al, eds. Endocrinology: Adult and Pediatric. 7th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2016:chap 13.

Review Date: 5/6/2019

Reviewed By: Brent Wisse, MD, Associate Professor of Medicine, Division of Metabolism, Endocrinology & Nutrition, University of Washington School of Medicine, Seattle, WA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 1997- A.D.A.M., a business unit of Ebix, Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.
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