DHEA Supplements: Its Possible Effects on Depression, Menopause, Fertility and More

DHEA Supplements: Its Possible Effects on Depression, Menopause, Fertility and More 1024 538 Community Clinical Pharmacy

What potential can come from utilizing DHEA Supplementation?

One of the important hormones that is naturally made by the adrenal glands near the kidneys and by the liver is Dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA). DHEA levels seem to go down as people get older. DHEA levels are usually lower in people with depression, postmenopausal women, individuals with chronic pain, and many other conditions.

Supplementing with DHEA is claimed to improve energy, slow down signs of aging, improve muscle strength and athletic performance, infertility, and many other conditions. But is it really the magic solution that it is claimed to be?

What Are Potential Benefits of DHEA?

Menopausal Symptoms

DHEA is likely effective for menopausal symptoms such as thinning of vaginal tissue (vaginal atrophy). With menopause and declining hormone levels, women often experience thinning of the vaginal tissue. This can cause pain during sex. Using vaginal inserts containing DHEA can reduce pain during sex by up to 15% in women after menopause.

Prescription DHEA products are available for this condition. But we also carry over-the-counter (OTC) vaginal inserts that you can purchase without a prescription. Contact Arizona Experts Today >>

Some research also shows that taking DHEA orally might improve sexual function in women with decreased libido or those who are postmenopausal. But not all research agrees.


DHEA is possibly effective for helping women with fertility issues. Most research shows that taking DHEA for 2 to 3 months before in-vitro fertilization (IVF) might improve the chances of pregnancy and having a baby.

However, other research shows that taking DHEA does not seem to prevent miscarriage in women that have had IVF. Moreover, it is not known if DHEA would help women get pregnant without IVF.


DHEA is possibly helpful in improving depression, especially if the common antidepressants don’t work as well as expected.


DHEA is possibly effective for aging skin. Research shows that taking DHEA capsules or applying DHEA cream to the skin might improve skin appearance in women after menopause and in people over the age of 60.

Other Research

DHEA is possibly ineffective for aging, muscle strength, improving physical performance in older adults, rheumatoid arthritis (RA), and memory and thinking skills (cognitive function).

Caution to Consider:

  • The most common side effects of DHEA include acne, increased body and facial hair, hair loss, deeper voice (women), and upset stomach. Men can experience breast pain or breast growth.
  • DHEA is possibly unsafe when taken during pregnancy or breast-feeding. It can cause higher than normal levels of a male hormone called androgen which might be harmful to the baby.
  • DHEA might cause difficulty in urinating for men with an enlarged prostate, a condition known as benign prostatic hypertrophy (BPH).
  • DHEA can affect how insulin works in the body. If you have diabetes, check your blood sugar carefully if you are taking DHEA.
  • DHEA can get converted to estrogen in the body. Therefore, check with your doctor if you have hormone-sensitive conditions such as breast cancer, uterine cancer, ovarian cancer, endometriosis, or uterine fibroids.
  • DHEA might lower your “good cholesterol”. Check with your health care provider before taking DHEA.
  • DHEA might make liver problems worse. Do not use oral DHEA if you have liver problems.
  • DHEA might cause problems in people with mood disorders. If you have a mood disorder, be sure to discuss with your healthcare provider before you start taking DHEA. Also, pay close attention to any changes in how you feel such as excitability, impulsiveness, and irritability.
  • DHEA might make PCOS worse. Don’t use DHEA if you have PCOS.
  • DHEA can interact with other supplements and prescription medications. It is important to discuss your particular situation with an expert before starting DHEA.
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We recommend checking your DHEA and or DHEA-sulfate level before starting DHEA.

A simple saliva or blood test can help determine if you have a low level and are in need of supplementation. Another important point to consider is to choose a product that is manufactured by a reputable manufacturer. There have been inconsistencies in over-the-counter (OTC) DHEA products in the past.

For further information on testing, dosing, and specific product recommendation, please contact us at Community Clinical Pharmacy.

Do You Need a Prescriber Referral?

As the East Valley’s trusted hormone & compounding experts, we are happy to provide referrals to prescribers that specialize in dermatology and other treatments for specific conditions.

Please provide your information and we will connect you with the best providers our community has to offer.

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About Our Expert Consultant

Hormone specialist and pharmacist, Sharzad Green received her Pharm.D. degree from the University of Arizona in 1990 and has had the privilege of serving patients and providers across Arizona since then. The focus of her practice changed in the late 1990s after her mom was diagnosed with breast cancer. She began to learn more about integrative medicine and has offered her services in the following areas for the past 21 years:

  • Menopause, PMS, PCOS, and Andropause, using bioidentical hormone replacement therapy (BHRT)
  • Sexual dysfunction
  • Adrenal fatigue syndrome
  • Nutritional supplementation

“I believe in building a trusting relationship with other healthcare providers and helping their patients achieve optimal health.”

Feel free to contact Dr. Green through (480) 969-0600 or reach her online if you have any questions or if you or your physician would like to meet. We look forward getting you the relief you need with the right treatment. Medication is not one-size-fits-all.

When in doubt, contact one of our knowledgeable pharmacists at Community Clinical Pharmacy. We are here to offer you solutions and assist you in making informed decisions about your health. Contact us with comments, questions, or pharmacy related topics you’d like to know more about. And, as always, stay healthy!



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