If you've been having a hard time getting pregnant and are scouring the Internet for something that may help, you probably have read about the supplement DHEA. The jury is still out on whether this supplement can actually help women get pregnant, but it has been associated with preparing the body for in vitro fertilization and boosting low ovarian reserves. Before you pick up a bottle at the store, however, it is important that you understand what this hormone is and how it might affect your body.
DHEA, or dehydroepiandrosterone, is a hormone that is made naturally in the body. We make it in our adrenal glands and our brain. According to the Mayo Clinic, DHEA leads to the production of estrogen in women. After age 30, DHEA levels in the body begin to decrease, which can lead to fertility issues, such as low libido and decreased egg quality. While this hormone has strong ties to fertility issues, a decrease in DHEA can also lead to other conditions later in life, such as Alzheimer's disease, depression, osteoporosis, and heart disease. DHEA supplements are synthesized in a lab and typically sell for less than $20 per 100-count bottle at vitamin stores. However, get your doctor's blessing before you begin taking the supplement because negative side effects are possible.
Anytime you tweak the hormone balance in your body, you increase the likelihood of side effects. DHEA's side effects can vary from woman to woman, as well as in severity, but common signs include oily skin and irregular periods. However, if you are having issues with your fertility, irregular periods may already be a common symptom in your life.
If you are over 30 and are having problems getting pregnant naturally or with reproductive assistance, it is worth asking your OB/GYN or reproductive endocrinologist about DHEA. Depending on your diagnosis and your course of treatment, your doctor might recommend trying DHEA as a part of your treatment protocol.