Q. What can you tell me about DHEA? I recently had my hormones checked and the results showed I have very little testosterone or DHEA. Could this explain my lack of sex drive? I have had a very low libido since my early 40s. Would it be safe to take DHEA? What else could I do for my libido? I worry that taking testosterone might make me less feminine.

A. DHEA is a natural compound that serves as a precursor to both estrogen and testosterone. Sex researchers have found that 50 mg of DHEA daily can often improve women’s sex drive, arousal and ability to experience orgasm.

A knowledgeable doctor should supervise your use of DHEA, however. Risks include side effects typical of male hormones, such as oily skin, growth of facial hair and voice changes. Experts also worry that the risk of breast cancer could be increased unless hormone levels are carefully monitored by a physician.

We are sending out our Guide to Female Sexuality, which includes information on DHEA, testosterone and several other ways to deal with low libido.

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