Well I picked up my DHEA prescription today and I will start on it tomorrow along with the other supplements I’m currently taking. I’m about 10 days into this new plan and don’t really feel any different yet. I know I need to give it at least 30 days to really see changes though.
DHEA is an over-the-counter supplement in the states but in Canada you need a prescription for it. It is a pretty common supplement for ladies with POF or DOR (Diminished Ovarian Reserve). Just google DHEA and Premature Ovarian Failure and you will get lots of hits, including this blogger who thinks it may have helped her get pregnant!
As my doctor pointed out to me several times, there are no scientific studies or clinical studies to prove that DHEA helps, however, it is widely used by fertility clinics especially as women are gearing up to do IVF.
How Does DHEA Improve Fertility?
Published research by CHR has shown that women with diminished ovarian reserve (due to advanced age or premature ovarian aging, POA) tend to have abnormally low androgen levels, and that a good androgen level is essential to development of eggs in the ovaries.
DHEA supplementation helps these patients by increasing the androgen levels within their ovarian environments to a normal range, which improves egg quality. High-quality, healthy eggs develop into high-quality embryos, which have better chances of implantation and lower risks of miscarriage. Through our research, we have found that DHEA supplementation in women with DOR raises androgen (testosterone) levels and increases pregnancy chances via androgen receptors on the developing follicles. Increase in pregnancy chances appear to be particularly pronounced in women whose androgen levels rise successfully after DHEA supplementation.
However, because DHEA raises androgen / testosterone levels it can apparently have some pretty wicked side effects that include unwanted hair growth, voice deepening, and irritability or anger. I guess my fertility doctor has prescribed a fairly high dosage for me of 75 mg per day (the pharmacist told me they usually start patients on 10 – 25 mg per day). So I need to pay close attention to my symptoms over the next 30 days or so, especially as with hormone medication changes can be very gradual and not necessarily happen suddenly. He specifically told me to watch for extra feelings of irritation and anger.
While those side effects don’t sound fun. At all. Maybe while I’m getting hairy and angry I will also get pregnant! I guess only time will tell but for right now I’m willing to try almost anything 🙂