Many of our patients have asked us about DHEA. Dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) is a naturally-occurring hormone that is produced by the adrenal gland. Its primary function is to produce estrogen and testosterone. Recently, DHEA supplements have been used in the treatment of premature ovarian aging.
Accumulating evidence suggests that DHEA supplements improve ovarian function, increase pregnancy chances and, by reducing chromosomal problems, lower miscarriage rates. DHEA over time also appears to improve ovarian reserve.
We consider using DHEA in any patient over 39 and others with evidence of diminished ovarian reserve. Ideally, the supplement is given three times a day for at least six weeks prior to ovulation induction for IVF. There are no known side effects.
DHEA supplements are available over the counter, but may contain little active compound. David Barad, MD, a local expert in this area, recommends www.DHEA.com as a reliable source.
There is some controversy about DHEA, and it won’t take 10 years off the ovaries’ age, but it can certainly help.
By Joe Massey, MD.
Posted on 11/29/2011