Please explain 17-Hydroxyprogesterone test results to me


After reading through my phone book of blood results. I see this…

17-Hydroxyprogesterone Result- 19 Range - 33-195

This shows that i’m pretty far below a normal range. Could this effect my cortisol production (high or low ) and effect my sleep (ie cause insomnia) ? Just curious as to what this all means.



17a-OHP deficiency is linked to lower cortisol production, and from what I understand is necessary for the adrenal gland to do its job.

Have you gotten your cholesterol, sodium or potassium tested by an endocrinologist by any chance? If sodium is low and/or potassium is high this would imply the adrenal gland failure.

Typically low cortisol is seen in patients who suffer Addisons disease. Despite you suffering insomnia, Addisons disease usually displays symptoms of feeling tired and faint. Also, one tell tale sign of low cortisol is frequent dehydration due to rapid decrease in blood pressure. Is this something that’s familiar?

The contrast of Addisons would be Cushing’s syndrome, where patients produce too much cortisol. People typically contract exogenous Cushing’s as a result of using steroids to treat eczema or asthma for example. For the sake of this conversation I would rule out endogenously caused Cushing’s since the method of contraction is extremely rare in this context. Interestingly, the symptoms of Cushing’s (high cortisol) resemble those of PFS pretty damn closely: Moon face, muscle wastage targeted in shoulders and thighs, obesity in the central part of the body, thinning of skin, excess body hair, erectile dysfunction, osteoporosis, depression, insomnia which leads to chronic fatigue.

Sorry for my rant, the reason this is relevant is because 17aOHP is required by the adrenal gland to produce cortisol, and synthesis of androgens, estrogens, and neurosteroids. This is purely speculative, but I would probably rule out low OHP as being the the cause of your insomnia.



Hey Pete,

Thank you for your response. I had extensive testing done so I have measurements for everything…

Cholesterol, Total - 245 Ref Range <200
HDL , 56 Ref Range >40
Cholesterol/HDL Ratio 164 Ref Range <100
Triglycerides 127 Ref Range <150
Non HDL Cholestrol 189 Ref Range <130

Sodium 140 (135 - 146)
Potassium 4.0 (3.5 - 5.3)

17-Hydroxyprogesterone 19 33-195 (LOW)
Test Total 333 250 - 1100
Test Free 38.6 35 - 155

Cortisol Total 2.6 PM Range (3.0 - 17) LOW

So… my Cortisol and 17-OH are low. So am I’m potentially borderline Addisons? Would this explain my insomnia? If so, what course of action is there?


Just as an update… I finally saw the Endocrinologist on Sunday 12/30 and she had me redo a couple of the blood tests. If they come back out of range then she said I need to do a 24 hour urine test. She wouldnt get into the details of what it all meant until results of the tests came back but that sounds like an adrenal issue?


Keep us updated on the results. I had similar blood tests to you and my endo had me do a 24 hour cortisol test that came back normal but I still feel like shit and suspect adrenal issues too. (I had a 24 hour saliva test that came back low at all collection times but no doctors I’ve seen trust saliva testing)


Do you also suffer insomnia. That is really my main side. If I could beat insomnia I would be 95%+


I sometimes have insomnia, it varies on the night. My problems stem from waking up once or twice in the middle of every night and feeling tired all day


I have been doing a lot of reading about this issue. It sounds like what we actually have is very low cortisol. Your body is supposed to secrete cortisol at different points through the night to manage sleep. But because our bodies are under constant stress… our bodies are subsituting cortisol with adrenaline. Adrenaline is forcing us into a flight or flight wake cycle all the time. It takes 6 months to 2 years for your HPA axis to recover from adrenal fatigue (which is very debated subject) . But without anyway to prove any of this… I think my only shot is to do everything possible to support the adrenals and calm and normalize the body. No caffeiene, mediatation a couple times a day, vit C, Vit D, Omegas, No processed sugar or carbs, lots of fruits and veggies, probiotics.

One way I “think” you can actually test to see if low night time cortisol is causing your arousals is to actually work out right before bed. I know it sounds counter intuitive but working out raises cortisol. Once you have cortisol raises in your system… you should see a more normalized sleep pattern thoughout the night. Thats just might theory. Worth a shot I guess. I’m still just trying to get a normal night sleep on Mirtazapine. Even taking 15mg at night I still wake up at least twice. Sometimes as many as 5 times.

So what do you do for your insomnia now. If your able to get sleep a few nights a week with no drugs thats pretty great. I would do anything to sleep on my own again.


I actually work out a lot before bed, not like right before but I’ve been to workout from like 8-930 then in bed at like 11. Still wake up though. All I’m doing for sleep currently is smoking some marijuana which usually helps knock me out but it doesn’t provide restful sleep. I think I read somewhere that it causes an acute increase in cortisol as well. Surprisingly if it’s a weekend night and I’ve had quite a lot to drink then that usually helps me sleep through the whole night and sometimes I even have morning wood. Would it also be likely that the reason we jolt awake at night is that cortisol is higher while we are sleeping than during the daytime?


I think that low cortisol is what causes you to jolt awake because instead of using cortisol to modulate your sleep cycles, insulin, sugar, etc… your body has run out of cortisol and uses adrenaline instead. Have you tried eating a small bit of food right before you get in bed? From what I’m reading they are saying like… 1 cracker with peanut butter should give you enough sugar in your system to help keep you asleep through the night… supposedly.


I’m glad you’ve got some ideas that I hope will work out for you.

I know some people here have big problems with peanuts so perhaps try something else with the cracker unless you know you don’t have issue with them.


Funny should mention the food thing. Ive been eating OMAD for a while now (and eating totally healthy) - i am on a very cal restricted diet and my sleep has been shit (instantly fall asleep but stuck in weird dreamlike state waking up all the time). Last night i woke up after sleeping for 25 minutes and i was ravenous. I went straight for the Oreo’s and ben and jerry’s. I told myself i was “still sleeping” so i wouldnt feel guilty, but i crushed like half a pint and 4 oreos. Needless to say, i went back to bed and i slept through the whole night (and didnt remember my dreams - which is a good sign for me) for the first time in months. Maybe youre on to something with eating before bed.


I have a suspicion that these paleo diets eveyone is on causes some sleep problems in certain people. I think we need some carbs for cortisol levels to function properly.