We are seeing many patients who are supplementing with DHEA from outside physicians. This as outlined in the above study has been used for two primary effects. One, fertility and second for control of symptoms or presumed or diagnosed adrenal gland insufficiency or Addison’s disease.
Several years ago when DHEA supplementation for Diminished Ovarian Reserve and infertility cycle treatment became popular, we utilized it in stimulations. In short order, we found it to inhibit stimulation instead of augmenting and improving outcome. We abandoned this approach very early on. I have never seen it help significantly in the treatment of other symptoms to include menopausal symptoms in women. Male hormone treatment (DHEA is a male hormone) has been touted as a viable treatment for sex drive and vulvar complaints as well as feeling of well being etc. This study supports our findings of no improvement in these symptoms.
The bottom line is estrogen is the primary sex hormone in women and is the hormone that will treat all the symptoms suffered by women when it is deficient including low sex drive. Using male hormones in its place is only likely to produce side effects such as acne, oily skin, facial hair growth, and scalp hair loss. These symptoms are progressive and often permanent, therefore, we would highly caution any women to avoid both DHEA and Testosterone if prescribed for these problems.
Michael D. Fox, MD
Advanced Reproductive Specialists
Jacksonville Center For Reproductive Medicine