Alternative names

The 17-ketosteroids test measures the amount of 17-ketosteroids in urine.

How the test is performed
A 24-hour urine sample is needed.
The health care provider will instruct you, if necessary, to discontinue drugs that may interfere with the test.

  • On day 1, urinate into the toilet when you get up in the morning.  
  • Afterwards, collect all urine in a special container for the next 24 hours.  
  • On day 2, urinate into the container when you get up in the morning.  
  • Cap the container. Keep it in the refrigerator or a cool place during the collection period. Label the container with your name, the date, the time of completion, and return it as instructed.

Thoroughly wash the area around the urethra. Open a Urine collection bag (a plastic bag with an adhesive paper on one end), and place it on the infant. For males, the entire penis can be placed in the bag and the adhesive attached to the skin. For females, the bag is placed over the labia. Diaper as usual over the secured bag. This procedure may take a couple of attempts - lively infants can displace the bag, causing the specimen to be absorbed by the diaper. The infant should be checked frequently and the bag changed after the infant has urinated into the bag. The urine is drained into the container for transport to the laboratory.

Deliver it to the laboratory or your health care provider as soon as possible upon completion.

The lab analyzes the sample for the amount of 17-ketosteroids.

How to prepare for the test
No special preparation is necessary for this test, but if the collection is being taken from an infant, a couple of extra collection bags may be necessary.

How the test will feel
The test involves only normal urination, and there is no discomfort.

Why the test is performed

This test may be performed when any of the disorders associated with abnormal levels of the “male” steroid sex hormones (androgens) are suspected. 17-ketosteroids are metabolites (break-down products) of androgens and other steroid hormones that are secreted from the adrenal cortex. In men, most of the hormone metabolites come from the adrenal cortex and a smaller amount from the testes. In women and children, almost all androgens are derived from the adrenal cortex.

Normal Values

Normal values are as follows:

  • Male: 8 to 20 mg/24 hr  
  • Female: 6 to 12 mg/24 hr

Note: mg/24 hr = milligrams per 24-hours

Normal value ranges may vary slightly among different laboratories.

What abnormal results mean
Increased levels of 17-ketosteroids may indicate:

Decreased levels of 17-ketosteroids may indicate:

  • Addison’s disease  
  • Hypopituitarism

What the risks are
There are no risks.

Special considerations
Acute emotional or physical stress can affect the result.

Drugs that can increase 17-KS measurements include: antibiotics, chloramphenicol, chlorpromazine, dexamethasone, meprobamate, phenothiazines, quinidine, secobarbital, and spironolactone.

Drugs that can decrease 17-KS measurements include: estrogens, oral contraceptives (birth control pills), probenecid, promazine, reserpine, salicylates (prolonged use), and thiazide diuretics.

Johns Hopkins patient information

Last revised: December 3, 2012
by Levon Ter-Markosyan, D.M.D.

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