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High DHEA, low Testosterone... why?

Discussion in 'Hormones' started by Tiger Lily 813, Mar 7, 2014.

  1. Tiger Lily 813

    Tiger Lily 813 Senior Member

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    As I’m trying to unravel my tangled mess of adrenal fatigue and what doctors are suspecting is a sneaky strain of lyme, I see the majority of my discomfort is from messed up hormones.

    I have been trying to improve sleep, diet, vitamin balances, etc. to rectify the underlying causes of this, but it’s not going very well.

    My doctor says testing with high dhea yet low testosterone implies a “receptor issue.” My estrogen is low/normal, but I feel it strongly, as it clearly dominates over the absent testosterone.

    Does anyone have any further info, or some idea of what to do about it?

    Sidenote- I react poorly to lots of things; this is why I have been laying low from hormone-related treatments thus far.

    Additionally I think making my dhea any higher would be trouble.

    Thanks so much : )
  2. Tiger Lily 813

    Tiger Lily 813 Senior Member

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    I am female by the way : )))
  3. Ema

    Ema Senior Member

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    Have you had an adrenal saliva test?

    If your adrenals are struggling, your T and E can both be low.

    DHEA usually goes high in a last ditch attempt to boost cortisol before bottoming out as well.

    I wouldn't take any supplemental DHEA if mine was already high.

    Have you had Lyme testing?
  4. Tiger Lily 813

    Tiger Lily 813 Senior Member

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    Hi Ema, thanks for your reply : ) I did have a saliva test and my cortisol "wasn't all that bad," but those tests aren't entirely accurate. My doctor said my adrenal stress is significant from the eye test as well as marks on my fingertips.

    I have had the basic lyme testing, but I didn't have enough bands to qualify by Western blot standards. I know that this is highly controversial. I have ten years worth of various expressions that are very common in lyme; I did grow up surrounded by deer/the woods, & I can even remember a general onset. I have struggled with problems that respond to bacterial/parasitic/fungal treatment... But I don't have the $ for the Igenex test right now.

    Basically I have been treating my adrenal fatigue according to all the things that any website on adrenal fatigue would tell you to do, but I'm not improving very much. So I'm trying to figure out if I would improve most by doing lyme treatments... Or, being as so many of my discomforts are hormonal in origin, I'm trying to see if there is a way I can find the right hormonal treatment that I can tolerate.

    Certain things, like Maca, used to help increase my testosterone years ago before my adrenal fatigue set in this year, but now it seems to almost intensify estrogen. Which was disappointing. I have been really stumped with how one could have high dhea yet low testosterone. Seems contradictory!!
    Thanks so much for your insight <3 !
  5. Tiger Lily 813

    Tiger Lily 813 Senior Member

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    Methylfolate was the first thing that really seemed to help so far... But, I'm still having the hormone issues to the extreme : /
  6. Ema

    Ema Senior Member

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    It would be really helpful if you could post your cortisol and old Lyme test results with their ranges.

    Do you have a LLMD?

    Lyme can absolutely dysregulate your endocrine system. It's very common to find people with adrenal dysregulation caused by Lyme.

    I think it will be very hard to "fix" your symptoms with hormones if they are actually caused by Lyme. But if you are actually suffering from adrenal insufficiency, you might benefit from hormone replacement beyond the typical vitamin formulations sold for "adrenal fatigue". But testing is the only way to know for sure.

    The basic IgeneX Western Blot IgG/IgM testing is about $185 last I checked and I think it would be a worthwhile investment if you have clinical symptoms of Lyme.
    Tiger Lily 813 likes this.
  7. Ema

    Ema Senior Member

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    Tiger Lily 813 likes this.
  8. Tiger Lily 813

    Tiger Lily 813 Senior Member

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    THANK YOU : ) !!! I do have insurance, but I don't believe Igenex testing is covered; will check this out!!!
  9. Leopardtail

    Leopardtail Senior Member

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    Okay, lets start with a couple of obvious things.
    Testosterone is made from DHEA but DHEA is also a stress hormone, if you system is under long term stress I have seen views that it 'takes over'; as the stress hormone, but am unsure how true that is.

    Next while most of your DHEA is made by the adrenal glands most of your Testosterone is made in your Gonads (ovaries for a lady tiger). So the difference may be about which organ is stressed, or circulation to the gonads.

    Next your hypothalamus must demand for the Testosterone to be produced, what were your levels of the releasing hormones LH and FSH?

    I showed this same problem myself and am about to have more comprehensive tests done to work out what is happening.

    One thing to be aware of in CFS and in two other diseases causing 'Insulin Resistance' raised DHEA and either raise or lowered Testosterone are a feature.
  10. Ema

    Ema Senior Member

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    Actually in women,
    LH does call somewhat for the production of testosterone in women but much less so than in men.

    DHEA may theoretically convert to testosterone but in many women in seems to convert preferentially to estrogen and DHT. So it's actually easy to have high DHEAs and low testosterone due to the conversion pathways not working optimally.
  11. heapsreal

    heapsreal iherb 10% discount code OPA989,

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    i was thinking estrogen dominance and maybe looking at progesterone or pregnenolone??
    August59 likes this.
  12. Leopardtail

    Leopardtail Senior Member

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    Yes Emma, I am aware there are several pathways. Though given we knew high DHEA, I stuck to the most relevant. And yes I am aware that adrenal conversion plays a bigger role in women, however gonadal conversion is (usually) more vulnerable and remains (in both sexes) the higher producer. Try checking out the relevant pages of the Oxford Texrbook of Endocrinology and Diabetes.
  13. Ema

    Ema Senior Member

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    The most relevant pathway for women is the one I posted...which is why I posted it.

    http://aje.oxfordjournals.org/content/153/3/256.full
  14. Tiger Lily 813

    Tiger Lily 813 Senior Member

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    Thank you all- @Leopardtail my testing does not specify LH or FSH - I think that might be in one of my endocrine labs, but this was a urine test from Rhein Lab solely on hormone values, not those ones. I wish I could show you my result paper though, you guys are sharper than my doctor... Thank you all for your input. Unfortunately I don't think pregnenolone or progesterone would help at this point because, like the Maca, I probably would not process it normally. And it could backfire and end me up in estrogen overdrive.
  15. suz9601

    suz9601 Moving Forward...

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    Hi Tiger Lady!

    Just came across this post. I have extremely elevated Dhea and low estrogen. I have been searching for years as to why my DHEA is so high. No doctor has been able to give me any answers. They just offer me the BC pill or other drugs, which I am chemically sensitive, so that is a problem.

    I am losing my hair at a rapid rate in a male pattern baldness. I am female. I have about 1/3 of my hair left and am very scared. I think this is from the elevated DHEA. I don't know what else to do to find out why it is so high. I thought maybe since my estrogen is low that my body is making DHEA to convert to estrogen...but that is just a guess.

    Anyway, sorry to ramble, but I wanted you to know that you are not alone in this. I know it is very frustrating to deal with and not be able to find any answers. Hang in there and let me know if you find anything to help. I will do the same.
  16. Tiger Lily 813

    Tiger Lily 813 Senior Member

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    Hi @suz9601 sorry to hear about this. How is your testosterone? My estrogen is normal but feels high because I lack testosterone to balance it out. Yes it is such a shame that my dhea can't seem to be used properly. This is however I have decided a secondary problem in my case. Trying to figure out if my primary offender is lyme, mold, or both. I don't respond well to natural hormone boosters that used to work.
    Sorry about the hair- I'm shedding a lot from detox and it freaks me out so I am getting a wig this week. It is not that bad but I just really want to not think about it at all so that's my plan : )
  17. August59

    August59 Daughters High School Graduation

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    I agree with heapsreal. DHEA will have a preference for estrogen in men if doses are to high or if they are getting into Diabetes type 2 or Metabolic Syndrome. Also if the male is carrying a fair amount of omental (belly) fat!
    heapsreal likes this.
  18. Leopardtail

    Leopardtail Senior Member

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    Lily,

    converting steroid hormones requires a lot of NAD(P)H, have you tried supplementing NADH to see if that does the trick?
    No guarantees it will work, but might be worth a try.

    Leo.
  19. Leopardtail

    Leopardtail Senior Member

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