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What is high DHEA

What is high DHEA

 

High DHEA: Exploring the Causes, Recognizing the Symptoms, and Evaluating Treatment Alternatives

Dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) is a hormone produced by the adrenal glands, gonads, and brain, playing a crucial role in the production of other hormones, including testosterone and estrogen. While often discussed in the context of aging and hormone replacement therapies, elevated levels of DHEA can have significant health implications. In this blog, we will delve into the causes, symptoms, and treatment options for high DHEA levels

 

 What is DHEA?

DHEA is a steroid hormone, serving as a precursor to both androgens and estrogens (the male and female sex hormones). It is abundant in the human body during young adulthood but declines with age. DHEA supplements are sometimes used to counteract the effects of aging, boost energy levels, improve mood, and enhance libido.



Several factors can lead to elevated DHEA levels, including:

1. Adrenal Hyperplasia: Congenital adrenal hyperplasia (CAH) is a genetic disorder affecting adrenal gland function, leading to excess production of DHEA.
2. Adrenal Tumors: Both benign and malignant tumors in the adrenal glands can cause overproduction of DHEA.
3. Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS):** Women with PCOS often have higher levels of androgens, including DHEA.
4. Stress/ PTSD  Chronic stress stimulates the adrenal glands, potentially increasing DHEA production.
5. Medications: Certain medications, such as metformin and some antipsychotics, can influence DHEA levels.

Symptoms of High DHEA Levels

Hirsutism: Excessive hair growth in women, typically in areas where men usually grow hair (face, chest, back).

Acne and Oily Skin: Increased androgen levels can lead to acne outbreaks and oily skin.
Menstrual Irregularities: Women may experience irregular menstrual cycles or amenorrhea (absence of menstruation).
- Mood Changes: Anxiety, irritability, or depression can occur with hormonal imbalances.
- Muscle Mass Increase: Elevated DHEA may lead to increased muscle mass and strength, more noticeable in women.
- Hair Loss:**  can be a symptom of high DHEA levels.


Diagnosing high DHEA levels involves a series of steps:

1. **Medical History and Physical Examination: A healthcare provider will review symptoms and medical history.
2. **Blood Tests: Measuring DHEA-S (sulfate) levels in the blood provides a reliable indicator of DHEA production.
3. **Imaging Studies: CT scans or MRIs may be used to check for adrenal tumors or other abnormalities

 Treatment Options

Treatment for high DHEA levels focuses on addressing the underlying cause and alleviating symptoms:

1. **Medications:** For those with CAH, corticosteroids can help regulate hormone production. Anti-androgen medications may be prescribed to reduce symptoms like hirsutism and acne.
2. **Surgery:** If an adrenal tumor is causing elevated DHEA, surgical removal of the tumor may be necessary.
3. **Lifestyle Modifications:** Managing stress through techniques such as meditation, yoga, and regular exercise can help balance hormone levels.
4. **Diet:**  Avoiding excessive sugar and processed foods may also be beneficial. Take PolyC's to keep blood sugar under control. 
5. **Monitoring and Follow-Up:** Regular follow-up appointments with a healthcare provider are crucial to monitor hormone levels and adjust treatment as needed.

 Conclusion

High DHEA levels can significantly impact an individual's health and well-being. Understanding the causes, recognizing the symptoms, and seeking appropriate treatment can help manage this condition effectively. If you suspect you have high DHEA levels, consulting with a healthcare professional for a thorough evaluation and personalized treatment plan is essential. By addressing the underlying causes and making necessary lifestyle adjustments, individuals can achieve better hormonal balance and improved health outcomes.

July 2024

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