You might be in denial but face it, you are losing your hair. There are many reasons for hair loss however one of the most common is androgenetic alopecia, also known as male/female pattern baldness. Androgenetic alopecia causes hair loss as a result of the hair follicles decreasing in size. This causes hairs to become thinner. As this condition progresses, hair growth could stop completely.
Finasteride is an FDA-approved method to combat hair loss in men. Although it is not formally FDA-approved as a method of hair loss in women, it has been proven to work for women for more than 20 years. Finaesteride for androgenetic alopecia has been shown to be the most effective. Hair loss caused by androgenetic alopecia is related to the production of the hormone dihydrotestosterone (DHT). Hair loss treatment methods which inhibit the production of DHT effectively slow down and stop hair loss. One of these treatments include Finasteride.
What is Finasteride?
Finasteride is a 5-alpha-reductase inhibitor which prevents the production of DHT by preventing the break down of testosterone. This is effective in combating hair loss as DHT is the hormone which causes hair loss.
How To Use Finasteride
Finasteride is commonly taken orally, with or without food. It usually taken once daily, however your doctor may instruct you differently.
Caution should be taken if the finasteride is crushed before being consumed. If the tablet is broken or crushed, it should not be handled by a woman who is pregnant. The chemicals in the tablet could be absorbed by the skin and harmful toward the child. Secondly, finasteride shouldn’t be consumed by children.
It should be noted that the use of finasteride in women is a controversial topic. Although there are trials that have shown positive effects in women, there are trials that shown inconsistent results in women. My personal opinion is that women should seek other forms of hair loss treatment before deciding to try finasteride.
Proof Finasteride Works
- Finasteride has been proven to work in both male and female pattern baldness (androgenetic alopecia).
- In two trials which lasted 1 year, 1553 men between the ages of 18 and 41 years old used finasteride to combat hair loss. After two years, finasteride proved to slow down hair loss, increased hair growth and improved the strength of the hair. The adverse effects were minimal.
- In another 2 year trial of finasteride, 62% of the participants had improvements regarding the progression of their hair loss.
- In a finasteride trial with 37 female patients, 23 of them had demonstrated improvements regarding hair loss. No improvements were recorded in 13 of the patients.
Pros of Finasteride
Finasteride works! It will not work for everyone however it is worth the try. It has been used by people struggling with hair loss for decades for a reason.
Cons of Finasteride
You must continue to use finasteride to maintain the positive effects it has. If you stop taking finasteride, the hair you have gained will be lost within 12 months.
The consumption of finasteride has been feared mainly because of the side effect of decreased sexual desire. Other side effects related to sexual desire include impotence and failure to ejaculate. A clinical trial in the Journal of Clinical Aesthetic Dermatology showed that 2 in 100 men experience reduced sexual desire as a side effect of finasteride. This side effect is harmless however, it has been shown to continue in some men even after they stop treatment. If this side effect continues or becomes worse, please consult your doctor.
Some other unlikely side effects include:
- Nipple discharge
- Breast enlargement
- Breast lump
- Allergic reaction
Symptoms of an allergic reaction include rash, trouble breathing, itchiness, dizziness and swelling of the tongue, face and/or throat.
To reduce the risk of side effects be sure to follow the instruction of taking the medication and consult with a doctor before starting treatment. Be especially sure to consult a doctor if you are taking any supplements or other medication.
Finasteride Is Not The Be All and End All
Although finasteride has proved to have great effects on combating androgenetic alopecia there are other treatment option for hair loss. It should be noted that finasteride is most effective as early possible. Generally it does not effective for people have experienced complete hair loss and for people over the age of 50.
If you have any comments or questions about finasteride please leave them below. If you have used finasteride to fight hair loss, please leave a comment, let’s be sure to help and support others where we can.
Please be advised that this article is for information purposes only. If you are seeking medical advice please consult a doctor.