Approximately 50 million men each year experience hair loss due to male pattern baldness. If you find that you are one of the 50 million, you may not know where to turn to restore your full head of hair. One potential solution you have probably come across in your search is the medication Finasteride. Are the benefits worth the side effects? This is your guide to everything you need to know about Finasteride in the treatment of hair loss.
What is Male Pattern Baldness?
Before we dive into how Finasteride works, let's briefly review male pattern baldness. Androgens, which are responsible for male sex characteristics such as facial hair, a deep voice, and muscle mass, can also cause hair loss. In fact, male pattern baldness is the most common type of hair loss among men. Hair follicles are sensitive to a specific type of androgen called DHT.
Over time, DHT causes the hair follicles to become miniaturized. The strands of hair fall out quicker, and the replacements become thinner and more brittle until the follicle quits producing hair strands altogether.
What is Finasteride?
Finasteride is an oral prescription drug used to treat two different conditions in men. The first is an enlarged prostate, and the second is hair loss due to male pattern baldness.
It is important to note that it is not approved for use in women or children. In fact, women who are pregnant or may become pregnant are advised not to handle finasteride or take it as it can cause birth defects in male babies.
How Does Finasteride Work?
Finasteride decreases the amount of DHT in the body by blocking the enzyme 5-alpha-reductase. This enzyme is responsible for changing testosterone into DHT, which contributes to hair loss. By blocking this enzyme's action, Finasteride increases the levels of testosterone in the body, which promotes hair growth. However, this is not a permanent fix. The effects only last for as long as the medication is taken. Once you stop taking Finasteride, the hair that grew because of the drug will fall out again. This means you must be on Finasteride indefinitely for it to prevent hair loss.
What are the Side Effects of Finasteride?
Finasteride is effective at treating hair loss but is not without side effects.
The most common include:
- Decreased libido
- Unable to get or keep an erection
- Developing an ejaculation disorder
- Tender breasts
- Increase in breast size
- Skin rash
More severe, yet less common side effects of Finasteride include:
- Swelling of the lips, tongue, or even throat
- Painful breasts
- Discharge from nipples
- Swelling of the face and extremities
- Rapid weight gain
- Tingling in the hands or feet
You should always speak with your doctor about any side effects you are experiencing and call 911 if you have a life-threatening emergency. Be sure to tell your doctor about all medications and supplements you are currently taken as dangerous drug interactions are possible.
Weighing the Good and the Bad
Finasteride is effective at promoting hair growth in men experiencing male pattern baldness. However, you must continue to take the medication to reap the benefits. Not to mention, Finasteride comes with a long list of potentially dangerous side effects. Whether you choose to take Finasteride is a personal choice and depends on if you feel the benefits outweigh the bad. If you decide Finasteride is not right for you, there are plenty of other options.
A More Natural Approach
Seeking professional help from the leading hair restoration studio in San Jose opens the door to a variety of non-invasive hair loss solutions with zero adverse side effects. For instance, laser hair growth therapy stimulates blood flow to your hair follicles and gently promotes hair growth. Our topical thickening/regrowth products are plant-based and packed full of rich nutrients that your scalp needs for healthy hair growth. On the other hand, we also carry a full-line of non-surgical hair replacement systems that provide a 100% natural look with minimum care needed.
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