Women suffering from sexual dysfunction due to androgen deficiency syndrome demonstrated remarkable improvement after taking the adrenal androgen steroid Dehydroepiandosterone (DHEA). Researchers from Boston University School of Medicine (BUSM) presented these findings at the American Urological Association Annual Meeting in Anaheim last year.
DHEA is naturally produced in the body. In women with sexual dysfunction, researchers have been finding deficient quantities of DHEA synthesized, partly due to an adrenal enzyme inactivation. The adrenal enzyme 17-20 lyase, which controls the production of DHEA, often stops or slows for reasons still being investigated, thus decreasing the levels of DHEA in the body. Replacement with DHEA acts as a precursor to the other androgen sexual steroids, such as androstenedione and testosterone. Decreased levels of DHEA can result in diminished libido, and difficulty becoming aroused and achieving orgasm.
Researchers gave 32 women with androgen deficiency syndrome 50 milligrams of DHEA per day bringing their total testosterone and DHEA levels within the normal range. On average, after approximately six to 12 months the women showed dramatic increases in spontaneity of arousal and decreased time to achieve arousal, a return of sexual fantasies and an increase in total time of arousal. Researchers used the Female Sexual Function Index and the Sexual Distress Scale to measure improvement.
"While more research is needed, these findings open new doors for the treatment of women dealing with sexual distress," said Irwin Goldstein, professor of urology at BUSM and principal author of the study.