What are the benefits of DHEA?

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Anna Cabeca, DO, FACOG, discusses dehydroepiandrosterone and associated misunderstandings.

Contemporary OB/GYN:

Can you discuss dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) and associated misunderstandings?

Anna Cabeca, DO, FACOG

Well, I think that one of the things to understand is DHEA is a pro hormone. It really helps support our body's production of testosterone and estrogen downstream. It's one of the first hormones to decline as we age in our mid 20s to 30s. We've reached our peaks, and so that will decline and as a result, we can have loss of muscle mass. It decreases resilience and immune system. And people really don't understand the benefits of DHEA vaginally and topically for the vulvar or vaginal area and the urethra and the clitoris, and we tend to forget the clitoris and hormone replacement therapy, we focus on estrogen. Now estrogen is a critical piece for vaginal health and also for hormonal health, but one thing to understand is if a woman is using vaginal estrogen, and she has a male partner that there is transference to that male partner, so you really have to work about timing and also the patient's ability to absorb that cream vaginally. For some patients and I know you probably have experience, you examine them, but you know, a couple days after they've used a vaginal cream or ovule and you still see that in their vagina a tablet that hasn't dissolved. But the partner could be absorbing that too so the importance to pay attention to the benefit of DHEA is that the male partner can actually benefit from some additional DHEA, but you're not so worried about that transference and it can absorb very quickly. So those are some things to consider in that poor importance of restoring the vaginal health but also clitoris to anus keeping that tissue healthy.

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