Dehydroepiandrosterone Sulfate (DHEAS)

Definition - What does Dehydroepiandrosterone Sulfate (DHEAS) mean?

Dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate (or DHEAS) is an androgen hormone normally present in both males and females. The liver and small glands located above the kidneys, referred to as adrenal glands produce DHEAS from DHEA. DHEAS is converted back to DHEA, which in turn is converted to either more active androgens or estrogen.

DHEAS is primarily used to treat women whose ovaries lack the ability to produce high-quality eggs, a condition called diminished ovarian reserve (DOR). DOR occurs either due to premature ovarian aging (POA) or normal female aging. POA is defined as a poor ovarian reserve (or poor quality/quantity of eggs) as compared to what is expected for a given age.

FertilitySmarts explains Dehydroepiandrosterone Sulfate (DHEAS)

Diminished ovarian reserve, also called age-related infertility, is a major cause of infertility. Affected women have markedly low androgen levels. Since androgens are required for adequate egg development in the ovaries, the quality and quantity of eggs in DOR is compromised.

DHEAS supplementation positively affects the fertility potential. The hormone offers the following fertility benefits:

  • Improved in vitro fertilization (IVF) pregnancy rate
  • Reduced time to pregnancy
  • Increased odds of spontaneous pregnancies
  • Enhanced quality and quantity of eggs and embryos
  • Lowered risk of chromosomal abnormalities and miscarriage in babies
  • Increased pregnancy rates in women undergoing fertility treatment

How DHEAS improves the ovarian reserve, pregnancy rates, and IVF results has been a subject of extensive research. The following mechanisms have been suggested:

  • DHEAS is converted to testosterone (the main androgen) in the follicles. Along with testosterone, DHEAS helps with normal follicle maturation and ovulation induction.
  • DHEAS positively influences the growth of the ovarian follicles via binding to the androgen receptors on the ovaries.
  • DHEAS cuts the risk of age-related chromosomal abnormalities like aneuploidy by affecting the separation of chromosomes, which reduces the chances of miscarriages.
  • DHEAS increases the antral follicle count (AFC), which in turn increases the levels of a hormone called anti-Mullerian hormone (AMH). AFC is a test used to count the number of follicles that are primed to grow. AMH is produced by the cells that are involved in the development of the antral follicles. Both AFC and AMH are a good marker of the ovarian reserve. The higher the AFC, the higher the AMH levels, and so is the ovarian reserve.
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