Effects of dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) supplementation on sexual function in premenopausal infertile women


Kushnir VA, Darmon SK, Barad DH, Weghofer A, Gleicher N




Endocrine . 2019 Mar;63(3):632-638.

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To investigate the effects of dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) supplementation on female sexual function in premenopausal infertile women of advanced ages.


This observational study was conducted in an academically affiliated private fertility center. Patients included 87 premenopausal infertile women, 50 of whom completed the study including the Female Sexual Function Index (FSFI) questionnaires and comprehensive endocrine evaluation before and 4-8 weeks after initiating 25 mg of oral micronized DHEA TID.


Age of patients was 41.1 ± 4.2 years, BMI 24.4 ± 6.1 kg/m2, 86% were married, and 42% were parous. Following supplementation with DHEA, all serum androgen levels increased (each P < 0.0001), while FSH levels decreased by 2.6 ± 4.4 from a baseline of 10.3 ± 5.4 mIU/mL (P = 0.009). The FSFI score for the whole study group increased by 7% (from 27.2 ± 6.9 to 29.2 ± 5.6; P = 0.0166). Domain scores for desire increased by 17% (P = 0.0004) and by 12% for arousal (P = 0.0122); lubrication demonstrated an 8% trend towards improvement (P = 0.0551), while no changes in domain scores for orgasm, satisfaction, or pain were observed. Women in the lowest starting FSFI score quartile (<25.7), experienced a 6.1 ± 8.0 (34%) increase in total FSFI score following DHEA supplementation. Among these women, improvements in domain categories were noted for desire (40%), arousal (46%), lubrication (33%), orgasm (54%), satisfaction (24%), and pain (25%).


This uncontrolled observational study implies that supplementation with DHEA improves sexual function in older premenopausal women with low baseline FSFI scores.

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