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  • Definition

    17-hydroxycorticosteroid (17-OHCS) is an inactive product formed when the liver and other body tissues break down the steroid hormone, cortisol. This article discusses the laboratory test to measure the amount of 17-OHCS in urine.

    Alternative Names

    17-OH corticosteroids; 17-OHCS

    How the test is performed

    A 24-hour urine sample is needed.

    • On day 1, urinate into the toilet when you get up in the morning.
    • 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, and the time of completion, and return it as instructed.

    For an infant, 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, place the entire penis in the bag and attach the adhesive to the skin. For females, place the bag over the labia. Diaper as usual over the secured bag.

    This procedure may take a couple of attempts -- lively infants can move the bag, causing the urine to be absorbed by the diaper. Check the infant often and change the bag after the infant has urinated into it. Drain the urine from the bag into the container given to you by your health care provider.

    Deliver the container to the laboratory or your health care provider as soon as possible.

    How to prepare for the test

    The health care provider will instruct you, if necessary, to stop taking drugs that may interfere with the test.

    • Ampicillin and glucocorticoids can increase 17-OHCS measurements.
    • Estrogens (birth control pills) and dexamethasone can decrease 17-OHCS measurements.

    If you are collecting urine from an infant, you may need a couple of extra collection bags.

    How the test will feel

    The test involves only normal urination, and there is no discomfort.

    Why the test is performed

    This test can help determine if the body is producing too much of the hormone, cortisol.