17-OH progesterone is a blood test that measures the amount of 17-OH progesterone. This is a hormone produced by the adrenal glands and sex glands.
How the Test is Performed
A blood sample is needed. Most of the time, blood is drawn from a vein located on the inside of the elbow or the back of the hand.
In infants or young children, a sharp tool called a lancet may be used to puncture the skin.
- The blood collects in a small glass tube called a pipette, or onto a slide or test strip.
- A bandage is put over the spot to stop any bleeding.
How to Prepare for the Test
Many medicines can interfere with blood test results.
- Your health care provider will tell you if you need to stop taking any medicines before you have this test.
- Do not stop or change your medicines without talking to your provider first.
How the Test will Feel
You may feel slight pain or a sting when the needle is inserted. You may also feel some throbbing at the site after the blood is drawn.
Why the Test is Performed
The main use of this test is to check infants for an inherited disorder that affects the adrenal gland, called congenital adrenal hyperplasia (CAH). It is often done on infants who are born with outer genitals that do not clearly look like those of a boy or a girl.
This test is also used to identify people who develop symptoms of CAH later in life, a condition called nonclassical adrenal hyperplasia.
A provider may recommend this test for women or girls who have male traits such as:
- Excess hair growth in places where adult men grow hair
- Deep voice or an increase in muscle mass
- Absence of menses
Normal and abnormal values differ for babies born with low birth weight. In general, normal results are as follows:
- Babies more than 24 hours old - less than 400 to 600 nanograms per deciliter (ng/dL) or 12.12 to 18.18 nanomoles per liter (nmol/L)
- Children before puberty around 100 ng/dL or 3.03 nmol/L
- Adults - less than 200 ng/dL or 6.06 nmol/L
Normal value ranges may vary slightly among different laboratories. Talk to your provider about the meaning of your specific test results.
The examples above show the common measurements for results of these tests. Some laboratories use different measurements or may test different specimens.
What Abnormal Results Mean
A high level of 17-OH progesterone may be due to:
In infants with CAH, the 17-OHP level ranges from 2,000 to 40,000 ng/dL or 60.6 to 1212 nmol/L. In adults, a level greater than 200 ng/dL or 6.06 nmol/L may be due to nonclassical adrenal hyperplasia.
Your provider may suggest an ACTH test if 17-OH progesterone level is between 200 to 800 ng/dL or 6.06 to 24.24 nmol/L.
17-hydroxyprogesterone; Progesterone - 17-OH
Guber HA, Oprea M, Rusell YX. Evaluation of endocrine function. In: McPherson RA, Pincus MR, eds. Henry's Clinical Diagnosis and Management by Laboratory Methods. 24th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2022:chap 25.
Rey RA, Josso N. Diagnosis and treatment of disorders of sexual development. In: Jameson JL, De Groot LJ, de Kretser DM, et al, eds. Endocrinology: Adult and Pediatric. 7th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2016:chap 119.
White PC. Congenital adrenal hyperplasia and related disorders. In: Kliegman RM, St. Geme JW, Blum NJ, Shah SS, Tasker RC, Wilson KM, eds. Nelson Textbook of Pediatrics. 21st ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2020:chap 594.
Review Date 4/14/2021
Updated by: John D. Jacobson, MD, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Loma Linda University School of Medicine, Loma Linda, CA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.