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Symptoms of Low DHEA in Women

by
author image Erica Roth
Erica Roth has been a writer since 2007. She is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists and was a college reference librarian for eight years. Roth earned a Bachelor of Arts in French literature from Brandeis University and Master of Library Science from Simmons College Graduate School of Library and Information Science. Her articles appear on various websites.
Symptoms of Low DHEA in Women
An exhausted woman is at work. Photo Credit Design Pics/Design Pics/Getty Images

Overview

DHEA is short for dehydroepiandrosterone, a hormone that your adrenal gland produces and secretes. The adrenal glands are small organs that are located above your kidneys; the main function of which s is to manage the release of hormones that in turn affect a variety of vital functions in the body. According to Marcelle Pick, a nurse practitioner and founder of the Maine-based Women to Women Clinic, normal daily ranges of DHEA in women run around 25 mg. When your body does not produce enough DHEA as you get older, you might suffer from some unpleasant symptoms.

Loss of Energy

Your energy level may drop if you’re suffering from a DHEA deficiency, according to Pick. Symptoms of low energy can include feeling very tired, achy and weak. Low DHEA levels may cause you to lose both bone density and muscle mass, which can leave you feeling weak, tired and more prone to injuries such as bone fractures. A compromised immune system associated with low DHEA—or any other medical condition—can sap you of energy. The National Institutes of Health reports that DHEA supplements are sometimes used to combat muscle weakness and to boost immunity.

Mood Changes

The hormonal fluctuations and the fatigue that you experience when your DHEA drops can cause mood changes as well as shifts in your physical health. Depression is not uncommon in women whose DHEA levels are low. The NIH reports that research done on DHEA supplements for treating depression produced good scientific evidence, or a grade of “B.”

Sexual Symptoms

You may find your love life is not quite what it used to be if you have low levels of DHEA. A loss of libido is a common symptom of this type of hormonal imbalance. HealthCare Professionals’s website HCPLive reports that women who are lacking in DHEA, the majority of whom are post-menopausal, show several sexual symptoms, including a lack of vaginal lubrication and pain during intercourse, as well as a lower-than-previously-experienced desire for sexual relations.

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