~ Low DHEA Sulfate, Not Testosterone, Associated with Low Libido in Women Under 45

Research presented at the 86th annual meeting of the Endocrine Society this week has revealed that low levels of the hormone dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) sulfate may be the culprit in women under the age of 45 who experience low libido. DHEA is a hormone made by the adrenal glands of both genders that dramatically declines with age. Low levels of DHEA have been linked with cognitive decline, depression and other diseases.

It had previously been accepted that low levels of the hormone testosterone were responsible for low libido in men and women of all ages. This study, however, did not find an association between low testosterone and low libido in women under 45.

Researchers at the Jean Hailes Foundation, Australia's leading women's health organization, examined hormone levels from 1,423 women ages 18 to 75. Director of Research at The Foundation, Professor Susan Davis, reported: "We undertook this study to determine whether women with low libido also had low levels of androgens. We found a strong relationship between the low scores for desire, arousal and responsiveness and low DHEAS levels in women under 45. Although multiple factors contribute to sexual interest we have demonstrated that low DHEAS is more likely in a woman experiencing low sexual desire and arousal than in other women. The findings from this study are absolutely fundamental to developing a sound clinical approach to the assessment of women presenting with low libido.

The discovery is important because women reporting low libido who have normal testosterone levels may not have their DHEA sulfate levels tested, and fail to reap the benefits of treatment with DHEA.


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