As research continues to try to determine the causes of lupus and what to do to improve the quality of life for those who are suffering from it one thing that keeps coming up is the hormonal influence on this disease. There is no doubt that it plays a role.
One example of this is the fact that for many a flare-up of lupus will first appear during pregnancy. Another example would be the fact that very few cases come up after a women has gone through menopause. Lupus often develops when the body is going through hormonal rebalancing.
For some people the imbalance of female and male hormones, estrogen and androgen, can make symptoms worse. Many studies have been conducted using mice. There is no doubt that the female mice suffer the symptoms much worse than the males.
Researchers tried to change this by giving the female mice some male hormones. This made drastic changes for the better. Two well known studies conducted in the United States found that DHEA, full name dehydroepiandrosterone, when administers to lupus patients seemed to make an improvement in their overall health. DHEA increases hormone production.
In one study of women who had less severe cases of lupus but, nonetheless were taking corticosteroid medications as part of their treatment plan, DHEA was used as a supplementary drug. Half the group was given this and the other a placebo. After three months the women using the DHEA showed a good enough improvement that their dose of the corticosteroid was reduced.
A second study using the same dosage was conducted with women who were shown to have some kidney damage. There was already protein in their urine. After six months eighty percent of them showed improvement. They felt better and there was less protein in their urine.
Can DHEA Help?
The conclusions were obvious. DHEA is able to help those with lupus to the point of lessening the dosages of stronger, harsher medications. The symptoms can be controlled equally as well with the use of DHEA will reducing steroid based medications which will have many more side effects for the patient.
This is a major consideration when choosing drugs to use for the lupus patient. It also means less overall damage to the bones since steroid based drugs affect bone mass. They also suppress immunity which could mean the lupus sufferer coming down with other illnesses on top of what they are already dealing with.
It does not mean stopping them necessarily but definitely means a reduction in dosage and even that can make a big difference.
These American researchers prefer the mediation to be made up as drops as they believe them to be easier to take, better absorbed by the body and therefore more effective than using capsules. The pharmacist will prepare it for the lupus patient and this is recommended over capsules that can be bought at health food stores.
Despite these good reviews the lupus sufferer should not try this medication without the agreement of their health care provider.