DHEA Hormone may help to ease menopause symptoms and improve sex lives

A small study that took place in Italy by researchers at the University of Pisa may be indicating that supplementation with artificial versions of the hormone DHEA (a steroid hormone naturally produced by the body’s adrenal gland and used in the production of sex hormones) may be useful in helping to ease menopausal symptoms and improve the sex function.However, it is important to note that this study was only of 48 women and it was a comparison study of DHEA against two other current treatments, Tibolone and a standard HRT containing Oestrogen as well as a control group receiving no intervention except Vitamin D supplements.  All three interventions were shown to improve menopausal symptoms and sexual function over the course of the twelve month trial.

DHEA is not currently licensed for use in the UK and the study was too small to provide anything other than evidence to support the necessity for further, larger studies.

The researchers found that:

  • Women receiving DHEA or HRT had a greater average score on the sexual function questionnaire. These DHEA and HRT average scores were greater than the women who received vitamin D. Women taking tibolone also had an increased score, though the difference from baseline was not significant.
  • There was no difference in a relationship score in any of the groups.
  • Frequency of sex in the past four weeks increased in the women treated with DHEA, HRT and tibolone. The increases in these three groups were comparable. The frequency of having sex was greater in the three hormone groups compared to the vitamin D group.

However, although the women using the three drug interventions did see improvements in  their sexual function it is important to note that they had a healthy sexual function when the study commenced and therefore no conclusion can be drawn as to whether such interventions will be helpful to women with more sexual dysfunction.

In conclusion the researchers have stated that those participants who received one year of oral DHEA therapy at a daily dose of 10mg improved their symptoms to a similar extent to women receiving HRT or tibolone.


A. R. Genazzani, N. Pluchino; DHEA therapy in postmenopausal women: the need to move forward beyond the lack of evidence; Climacteric Aug 2010, Vol. 13, No. 4, Pages 314-316: 314-316.
Click here for a summary of the paper.


  1. I am 34 days post TAH Bilateral Oopharectomy and for the last week or so have been experiencing terrible night sweats and my emotions have been like extreme PMS. I am also hypothyroid.

    The consultant gave me some HRT at the hospital to take if I wanted, Premarin. I he,d off as the surgery caused a hypothyroid storm and I wanted that to ease before I tried to calm any menopausal symptoms. I haven’t started the Premarin as I think I need to have my thyroid blood panel done to see what the removal of my ovaries has done. If anything, to my levels.

    Is anyone else hypothyroid? Is there an HRT that works with this condition? Should I take HRT or should I try DHEA?

    I return to work in a couple of weeks and I’m not looking forward to the potential for spontaneous tears.

    Feeling rather blue.


  2. Is the post menopausal woman who has also had her ovaries removed, and radium treatment due to endometrial ca cells found in an abdominal washing post surgery, in danger if she takes DHEA.

  3. The thing with both HRT and the alternatives is that not everything suits everyone and normally it can take a year or two to find the perfect combination for you. Everytime you try something you need to give it a couple of months to take effect before saying it doesn’t work. With alternatives it’s always a combination of diet, supplements and lifestyle elements.

  4. Your responses are interesting. I needed a hysterectomy, but was talked into having my ovaries removed by the surgeon. I desperately wished I hadn’t had them removed.
    The sweats and heart palpitations have made me feel distinctly ill. I have tried many remedies; pharmaceutical ones and natural. The only thing that has helped is DHEA, however it has risen my blood pressure to dangerous levels, which has had me hospitalised. This is VERY frustrating!
    Does anyone have any advice?

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