Hormonal changes that occur as women age might cause a variety of symptoms. DHEA is one such hormone that has an effect on the well-being of women. 

Women with low amounts of DHEA may experience exhaustion, altered mood, decreased libido, and even weight gain. You must consult your doctor if you experience any of these signs to determine if low DHEA levels could be the issue.

Discover how to recognize the signs of low DHEA in women in this article. 

What is DHEA?

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Source: Canva

The adrenal glands create the hormone known as DHEA, or dehydroepiandrosterone. It controls the body’s immune system and metabolism and is a precursor to both testosterone and estrogen. 

As we age, our DHEA levels naturally decrease, therefore, some people take supplements to boost their levels. The possible advantages and dangers of DHEA supplementation are still being investigated. Before consuming any supplements, it is crucial to consult a healthcare provider.

According to an analysis published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, using DHEA supplements could improve older persons’ bone density, muscle mass, and memory retention. [1

In addition, a study indicated that supplementing with DHEA may elevate mood and lessen depressive symptoms in older persons. This study was published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society. [2

It’s important to note that more research is needed to fully understand the benefits and risks of DHEA supplementation. 

Therefore, if you’re considering taking DHEA supplements, it’s crucial to speak with your doctor first to determine if it’s the right choice for you. 

What Happens if a Woman Has Low DHEA?

Low DHEA levels in women might result in a number of health problems. The hormone DHEA, which is produced by the adrenal gland, is essential for preserving general health and well-being. 

A study indicated in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society found that women who had low levels of DHEA have a higher chance of developing cardiovascular disease, metabolic problems, and osteoporosis. [3

Furthermore, a study published in the Journal of Women’s Health found that low DHEA levels in women are also associated with an increased risk of depression and anxiety. The study suggests that DHEA supplementation may help alleviate symptoms of depression and anxiety in women with low hormone levels. [4]

In conclusion, low DHEA levels in women can have significant health implications, and it is essential to consult with a healthcare professional to determine the appropriate course of action.

What Causes Low DHEA in Females?

When the level of DHEA in your body is low, it could indicate that your adrenal glands are not producing sufficient hormones. This may be due to damage to the adrenal gland or a diseased pituitary gland. The pituitary gland creates a hormone that encourages the adrenal glands to perform their duties. 

In females, low DHEA levels can be caused by various factors. Aging is a common cause, as DHEA levels naturally decrease with age. Other possible contributors include chronic stress, certain medications (such as corticosteroids), and medical conditions like adrenal insufficiency or autoimmune disorders. [5][6]

Identifying the underlying cause of low DHEA levels is essential, and a healthcare professional can help develop an appropriate treatment plan. 

How Can Women Increase DHEA Levels Naturally?

There are various actions you may do to encourage healthy hormone production if you’re a woman trying to naturally raise your DHEA levels. These scientific studies back up a number of natural approaches for women to raise their DHEA levels. 


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Source: Canva

Regular exercise can increase the production of DHEA, according to a study that was published in the Journal of Endocrinological Investigation. [7

A study that was published in the Journal of Steroid Biochemistry and Molecular Biology revealed that DHEA production can also be supported by a well-rounded diet consisting of protein, good fats, and complex carbs. [8]

Reducing Stress

According to a study published in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, lowering stress levels through practices like meditation, yoga, or deep breathing can also assist in balancing hormones and raising DHEA levels.  [9]

Adequate Sleep

Finally, getting enough sleep and reducing exposure to toxins can support the body’s natural production of DHEA, as suggested by a study published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism. [10]

How Do I Know If My DHEA Is Low?

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Source: Canva

Your DHEA levels may be low if you exhibit symptoms like exhaustion, decreased libido, and mood swings. Blood tests are the only method to definitively prove this, though. 

The appropriate course of action should be decided upon after discussing your symptoms with a healthcare professional. To help balance your DHEA levels, they might suggest hormone replacement therapy or other treatments.


In conclusion, low levels of DHEA (dehydroepiandrosterone) can significantly affect women’s health. From fatigue and decreased libido to mood swings, depression, anxiety, and memory problems, the symptoms of low DHEA are broad and far-reaching. 

Therefore, it is essential for women who experience any of these symptoms to seek medical attention and have their DHEA levels checked to ensure proper diagnosis and treatment.


Sometimes, it can be done by treating a medical cause of hormone imbalance. However, in certain situations, a permanent cure may not be available, and Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) may be required to restore hormone levels to normal levels.
Unfortunately, there are none. Our body naturally manufactures DHEA in the adrenal glands. Although, wild yams contain a substance similar to DHEA that is used to make DHEA in the laboratory. 
In some circumstances, DHEA can be increased naturally. You can do this by doing a caloric restriction, DHEA quantities increase when doing this. Some also suggested that caloric restriction might increase lifespan. Regular exercise also raises the body’s natural output of DHEA. 

Disclaimer: This article is only a guide. It does not substitute the advice given by your healthcare professional. Before making any health-related decision, consult your healthcare professional.

Editorial References And Fact-Checking

  1. Baulieu, E.-E., Thomas, G., Legrain, S., Lahlou, N., Roger, M., Debuire, B., … & Girard, L. (2000). Dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA), DHEA sulfate, and aging: contribution of the DHEAge Study to a sociobiomedical issue. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 97(8), 4279-4284. 
  2. Morales, A. J., Haubrich, R. H., Hwang, J. Y., Asakura, H., & Yen, S. S. (1998). The effect of six months treatment with a 100 mg daily dose of dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) on circulating sex steroids, body composition and muscle strength in age-advanced men and women. Clinical endocrinology, 49(4), 421-432.
  3. Samaras, N., Samaras, D., Frangos, E., Forster, A., & Philippe, J. (2013). A Review of Age-Related Dehydroepiandrosterone Decline and Its Association with Well-Known Geriatric Syndromes: Is Treatment Beneficial? Rejuvenation Research, 16(4), 285-294. https://doi.org/10.1089/rej.2013.1425
  4. Mulligan, E. M., Hajcak, G., Crisler, S., & Meyer, A. (2020). Increased dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) is associated with anxiety in adolescent girls. Psychoneuroendocrinology, 119, 104751. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.psyneuen.2020.104751
  5. Labrie, F., Luu-The, V., Labrie, C., & Simard, J. (2001). DHEA and its transformation into androgens and estrogens in peripheral target tissues: intracrinology. Frontiers in neuroendocrinology, 22(3), 185–212. https://doi.org/10.1006/frne.2001.0216 
  6. Arlt W. (2006). Androgen therapy in women. European journal of endocrinology, 154(1), 1–11. https://doi.org/10.1530/eje.1.02062 
  7. Orentreich, N., Brind, J. L., Rizer, R. L., & Vogelman, J. H. (1984). Age changes and sex differences in serum dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate concentrations throughout adulthood. The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, 59(3), 551-555. 
  8. Pecins-Thompson, M., Brown, N. A., & Bethea, C. L. (1995). Regulation of serotonin re-uptake transporter mRNA expression by ovarian steroids in rhesus macaques. Brain research Molecular brain research, 34(1), 109-116. 
  9. Brown, R. P., & Gerbarg, P. L. (2005). Sudarshan Kriya yogic breathing in the treatment of stress, anxiety, and depression: part I-neurophysiologic model. The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, 11(1), 189-201. 
  10. Atkinson, L. E., & Chang, Y. M. (2015). Effects of sleep, physical activity, and shift work on daily rhythm of serum cortisol. Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism, 100(12), 991-998. 


  • Kim Monasterial, BSN

    Kim is a Registered Nurse and has been a medical freelance writer for more than six years. Starting off as a writer, Kim moved to proofreading and editing all the articles posted on HealthPlugged. She’s an enthusiast for health and wellness, being one to keep herself fit and adventurous for outdoor activities. LinkedIn


Kim is a Registered Nurse and has been a medical freelance writer for more than six years. Starting off as a writer, Kim moved to proofreading and editing all the articles posted on HealthPlugged. She’s an enthusiast for health and wellness, being one to keep herself fit and adventurous for outdoor activities. LinkedIn