Menstruation & DHEA

Though not fully researched, dehydroepiandrosterone, often rendered as 5-dehydroepiandrosterone, plays a role in your menstrual cycle and overall fertility. DHEA is a hormone that contributes to your menstrual cycle and is also used to alleviate the symptoms of menopause. DHEA is produced by your adrenal glands and is used to make male and female sex hormones, the University of Maryland Medical Center explains. DHEA is also available as a supplement. Your body's DHEA levels peak at the age of 25 and decline by as much as 80 percent by the age of 70. However, there remains insufficient scientific evidence to conclusively support the benefits attributed to DHEA. Always consult a doctor before using DHEA for any purpose.

A woman is experiencing menstrual cramps. (Image: 4774344sean/iStock/Getty Images)

DHEA Dose

DHEA supplementation is generally not recommended for a child because it can interfere with his natural hormonal balance and development, MayoClinic.com notes. Adult doses for DHEA vary according to use. However, the typical doses are between 25 mg and 200 mg daily. A woman over the age of 18 typically takes 25 mg/day to supplement her body's natural supply, the University of Maryland Medical Center says. DHEA should be taken in the morning so as to more accurately mimic your body's natural DHEA production rhythm. Always consult your doctor before taking DHEA to determine a dose that best suits your needs.

DHEA and the Menstrual Cycle

Your body uses DHEA to produce estrogen, a hormone vital to your monthly menstrual cycle. Each full cycle lasts about 28 days and culminates with ovulation, the National Women's Health Information Center notes. Your body requires more estrogen during the first 14 days of your menstrual cycle to thicken your uterine lining in preparation for potential impregnation. Menstrual cycles are not always regular. Girls and young women who are just starting to have menstrual cycles typically experience irregular periods, KidsHealth.org notes. DHEA supplements help ensure your body has sufficient levels of estrogen to properly regulate your monthly menstrual cycles.

DHEA and Fertility

Because DHEA levels decline with age, supplements are believed to slow the onset of menopause and help alleviate its symptoms, the University of Maryland Medical Center explains. DHEA supplements are also believed to help alleviate infertility. However, evidence that supports or debunks such assertions remains inconclusive. Clinical studies have yielded conflicting results. More research is required to prove categorically whether or not DHEA supplements are viable ways to slow aging and maintain fertility.

Other DHEA Uses

DHEA is supposed to also be useful in treating other conditions such as obesity and depression, MayoClinic.com notes. Most clinical trials aimed at investigating DHEA's role in weight loss suggest its effectiveness. There are also clinical studies analyzing DHEA's potential use in lowering your risk of developing cardiovascular disease because DHEA may help prevent the buildup of cholesterol plaque that causes your arteries to harden.

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