DHEA for Women and the Benefits
Dehydroepiandrosterone, often abbreviated as DHEA, is essentially the master hormone in your body. It is part of the steroid family, and is used to create other hormones in your body. Having DHEA in your body is what allows you to have a proper hormone balance, meaning that anything that affects the levels of DHEA you have, is indirectly influencing how much of every other hormone is present in your blood.
Too Little DHEA
Not having enough DHEA can result in many unpleasant side effects, especially because of its relationship with other hormones in your body. Some include:
- Loss of energy
- Mood swings
- Decreased sex drive
Many of these symptoms are also related to reduced amounts of other hormones in your body. DHEA deficiency is a possibility as well because other hormones rely on the presence of DHEA to be created in the first place. If you have a deficiency of another hormone, it may be because you have low levels of DHEA that are indirectly reducing your hormone count all throughout your body.
DHEA is mostly made entirely by your body; very little is present in a regular diet. As you age, the amount that your body naturally produces gradually slows down, which is believed to contribute much to the aging process, especially since this means production of other hormones is also declining. If a DHEA deficiency is present, it’s best to replenish it through hormone therapy, as it’s difficult to get more out of dietary methods.
Too Much DHEA
Having too much DHEA on its own is usually harmless, and often doesn’t have any symptoms or side effects. However, it is possible that it can increase production of sex hormones to unnecessary levels, which can be problematic. Excess DHEA is rare, and 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, as always, is measuring for a DHEA imbalance. Since many of the symptoms of it are displayed through other hormone imbalances, it’s sometimes difficult to determine whether a DHEA imbalance is the culprit, or some other hormone acting out of the ordinary. It is never a good idea to try to supplement DHEA if you are not sure that a deficiency exists.
A DHEA deficiency can be addressed with outside supplements and bioidentical hormone therapy. If you are on other types of medication or have a severe medical condition, it’s best to speak to a physician before trying to use DHEA supplements.