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Low DHEA Symptoms — Why DHEA May Not Be Your Problem

Before we start discussing low DHEA symptoms and how DHEA affects your body, we should back up a little bit and talk about hormones generally.

Low DHEA symptoms — Blackboard with the chemical formula of DHEA

DHEA is one of dozens of hormones in your body. Like most hormones, it serves a variety of purposes in your body.

Testosterone, for example, is involved in more bodily processes than simply muscle growth or the development of male sexual characteristics, just as estrogen is involved in more bodily processes than the development of female sexual characteristics.

In fact, both of these “sex hormones” play a role in critical bodily functions, like brain health, bone mass, fat distribution, and red blood cell production, just to name a few.

DHEA is similar in that it seems to be involved in many different bodily functions. However, DHEA is a bit different from other hormones.

The Truth Is, DHEA Is a Complicated Hormone, and We Still Don’t Fully Understand How It Works in Your Body

Though DHEA has been known of (and even sold as a supplement) for decades now, we just don’t have very many studies that show conclusively what this hormone does and does not do.

While there are some studies showing that DHEA may help alleviate certain symptoms in women, it’s still not clear that a lack of DHEA is causing those symptoms.

In essence, you may be feeling low testosterone or estrogen symptoms, not low DHEA symptoms.

In fact, because DHEA is a precursor hormone of sorts (meaning it turns into other hormones), it’s possible that the symptoms you’re feeling aren’t coming from a lack of DHEA, but rather are coming from a lack of other hormones.

Here’s what we do know.

Of all the steroid hormones in the body, DHEA is found in larger concentrations than anything else. It seems to be involved in a wide variety of bodily functions, including:

  • Certain brain functions
  • Certain cellular functions
  • Some sexual functions

Because DHEA seems to be involved in these bodily functions, and because a few studies have found positive effects from DHEA, it’s possible that having low DHEA could cause some symptoms. However, we’re still not absolutely certain that DHEA alone is responsible for these symptoms — other hormones may be at work here.

Nevertheless, We Can Point to Some Possible Low DHEA Symptoms

Here’s what we think might be some possible low DHEA symptoms:

  • Depression
  • Sexual dysfunction (including erectile dysfunction in men and low libido in women)
  • Heart disease
  • Obesity
  • Low bone density

Now, if these possible symptoms look familiar, there’s a reason for it — it’s because many of these same symptoms occur from low testosterone or low estrogen.

Which leads us into a deeper problem. Generally, it’s not a single hormone that’s problematic — it’s the balance of all your hormones that we look at. Heart disease, for example, has many possible causes, and low hormones may not alone be the cause.

And, though you may indeed be suffering from low DHEA or low testosterone, simply treating you with DHEA or testosterone alone may not be the answer — hormones are more complicated than that (usually).

In fairness, sometimes supplementation of a single hormone does work, but more often, you need to have your hormones balanced, and increasing your DHEA, for example, is likely going to throw your other hormones off.

One of the main reasons for this is how your body processes hormones. Many hormones are created by your body out of those precursor hormones I mentioned earlier. DHEA can transform both into testosterone and estrogen, and adding DHEA into your body can throw your other hormones off balance.

That’s why we want to look carefully at what your body is doing, determine as definitively as possible that you’re experiencing low DHEA symptoms or perhaps symptoms of another hormone being too low, and then make suggestions for treatment based off our initial tests.

Finally, we want to see how your body reacts, to monitor any changes in your health, and then to decide if more of one hormone or less of another is the direction to move.

It all starts with a consultation. Get a free consultation today so we can discuss your symptoms and possible treatment options.

Stop Wondering About Your Symptoms



(Augie) Juan Augustine Galindo Jr. MPAS, PA-C

(Augie) Juan Augustine Galindo Jr. MPAS, PA-C started his career in healthcare as a fireman/paramedic in West Texas where he served on the Midland Fire Department from 1998-2004.   He became interested in testosterone treatment after seeing how hormone replacement doctors helped those suffering from low testosterone.   After graduating from the Texas Tech Health Sciences Center Physician Assistant Program, he moved to DFW where he currently lives with his wife and three children.


  1. Jayne on 12/29/2016 at 5:10 pm

    Hi I’ve be on testosterone for a few months,for low sex drive.can say it help to bring it back.i got the testosterone gel to rub on my tummy ,every 3 days.im allso on hrt.

    • Jayne on 12/29/2016 at 5:11 pm

      I can’t say it help at all.

      • Augie Galindo on 01/05/2017 at 4:23 pm


        There are certainly cases of non-responders, but if therapy is not properly managed, it is unlikely be helpful.

        Best regards,
        Augie Galindo MPAS, PA-C
        Testosterone Centers of Texas | Founding Partner

  2. C on 06/21/2017 at 8:57 am

    So what if I have low dhea? My level runs 30-45 or so every blood test and it’s low in saliva and 44. When I take dhea every time I feel worse- I get almost shaky with weakness and I sweat from my face like crazy and I never sweat. It takes me a week to recover my strength.

    I also have low free and total testosterone androstenedione progesterone and slightly low aldosterone ( sometimes it’s 5 somitimes its 9-10). Don’tknow the units.

    Since dhea is the precursor why can’t I tolerate it? I can’t find one doctor to answer that question and I can show you a forum where many suffer the exact same problem.

    • Augie Galindo on 06/24/2017 at 7:52 pm


      DHEA is often not well tolerated in large doses. Dosing should be titrated up slowly, if it used at all. The problem with supplementing a precursor is that you are left to assume that a host of conversion and cleaving processes will work perfectly, just because you’ve boosted one ingredient in the mixture. This is rarely the case, and rarely do patients truly suffer from symptoms with that can be fixed with DHEA.

      Best regards,
      Augie Galindo MPAS, PA-C
      Testosterone Centers of Texas | Founding Partner

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