Your body makes its own DHEA; we get very little in our diets. Your body’s production of it peaked in your twenties. As you aged, there has been a gradual decrease in the production of it. By the time you reach 60, your body produces just 5% to 15% as much as when you were 20.
The Your body uses DHEA to raise estrogen levels. If the level of it is raised, the levels of estrogen are raised. As the basis of HRT is to raise estrogen levels, which are naturally falling during perimenopause and naturally low during postmenopause, DHEA therapy may be able to perform the same function as HRT.
A 2011 study compared the effectiveness of DHEA to HRT in relieving menopause symptoms. It found that it was as effective as HRT. It was particularly effective in relieving vaginal atrophy. The researchers concluded that it can help women who cannot take HRT because of other health conditions or who are not willing to take HRT because of the health risks associated with taking it.
Vaginal atrophy is the thinning, drying, and inflammation of the vaginal walls. It is caused directly and indirectly by declining levels of DHEA….directly because it is associated with a thinning of the vaginal walls and indirectly because it stimulates the production of estrogen, which keeps the vaginal area healthy. For many women, vaginal atrophy makes intercourse painful — and if intercourse hurts, your interest in sex will naturally decrease.
Declining levels of DHEA during menopause not only causes vaginal atrophy, but it also causes declining libido. One study found that women who took a 25mg dose of testosterone weekly, experienced a significant increase in their libido. They had nearly three more sexual encounters per week after the treatment compared to before the study.
Declining libido is associated with falling testosterone levels. If a woman is experiencing a decline in libido due to falling testosterone levels, often it is declining DHEA levels that are at the root of the testosterone deﬁciency. It is the main ingredient the body uses to manufacture testosterone.
DHEA is currently approved as a treatment for vaginal atrophy in Europe. It is not approved by the FDA as a treatment in America. However it is currently undergoing testing to be an FDA-approved treatment for vaginal atrophy.
DHEA has other health benefits
- there is growing evidence that it is effective in reducing the risk of osteoporosis. It helps to increase bone density
- Several studies have found that it is effective in treating depression. One study in particular found it effective in treating depression during menopause years
- It enables weight loss. A study published in the Journal Of The American Medical Association (JAMA) found that participants given DHEA supplements experienced a significant decrease in abdominal fat
There have also been studies that have found that DHEA can be effective in treating lupus, heart disease and diabetes. However other studies have not found this to be conclusive.
The Mayo clinic says that there is strong scientific evidence that DHEA helps to prevent osteoporosis, that it is effective in treating major depression, and that it helps to bring about weight loss and fat loss.