DHEA for Women
Dehydroepiandrosterone, often abbreviated as DHEA, acts as a balancer for the hormones in your body. It is a steroid that is used in the creation of other hormones in your body – having DHEA is what allows your body to properly produce hormones and keep them at balanced levels. Because DHEA is needed for the production of other hormones, anything that influences your DHEA production may also indirectly affect the production of any other hormones in your body.
Having too little DHEA can result in unpleasant side effects, especially as it could impact the levels of your other hormones, which can result in extremely varying and dangerous symptoms. Some of these include:
- Loss of energy
- Mood swings
- Decreased sex drive
Many of these are not directly because of low DHEA, but are related to lowered amounts of other hormones or an imbalance caused by hormone production being disrupted. This can make a DHEA deficiency difficult to diagnose, as other hormones may be blamed for being under-produced, when it is actually a lack of DHEA causing this under-production. If you have a deficiency of another hormone, it may be because you have low levels of DHEA that are indirectly reducing your hormone levels.
DHEA is made almost exclusively by our body – it is difficult to include dietary changes that might influence your body to create more or that simply include it. The amount of DHEA that your body naturally produces gradually slows down as you age, which is thought to be a large part of the negative side effects of growing older, as it results in your body producing less and less of every other hormone.
A DHEA deficiency can be addressed through hormone replacement therapy, however. A medical professional will have the tools needed to identify a DHEA deficiency when measuring your hormone levels, and can tell if your levels are adequate or require treatment.
Having too much DHEA on its own is usually harmless, and it typically does not have any symptoms or side effects. However, excessive levels of DHEA may increase production of other hormones to unnecessary levels, which can cause other problems specific to the hormones being over-produced. Excess DHEA is rare. It is often caused by problems that cause the adrenal gland to overproduce it, since acquiring DHEA is very difficult outside of supplements.
Treating DHEA Imbalance
The first step of treating a DHEA imbalance is having your hormone levels measured. Most symptoms of DHEA imbalanced are indirect, as they are the result of another hormone being deficient or excessive. This makes it nearly impossible to identify DHEA imbalance without the help of a medical professional with access to the proper tests to accurately measure your hormone levels. If you have a DHEA deficiency, then having its treatment supervised by a doctor or physician is the best idea – it is never a good idea to try to supplement DHEA on your own, especially if you are not certain a deficiency even exists.
A DHEA deficiency is best addressed through hormone replacement therapy. If you are on other types of medication or have a severe medical condition, speak to your doctor before using DHEA supplements.