Finasteride has been used for treating hair loss in men for over decades. It is often used in conjunction with minoxidil. Many studies showed the efficacy of finasteride, however, there have been growing number of reported adverse effects associated with the use of finasteride. In the US, finasteride products should carry a warning on the label about the potential adverse effects related to sex function.
Over 15 years ago, I was prescribed with finasteride. Sadly, due to the side effects, I decided to stop taking finasteride just few months after. What are the potential side effects of finasteride that may deter men from using it? Why finasteride can be effective against male pattern hair loss?
Dihydrotestosterone Causes Hair Loss in Men
Dihydrotestosterone is known to be the hormone which causes hair follicles to shrink and eventually stop growing hair in some men. It is still a mystery why in some men, the hair follicles are very sensitive to dihydrotestosterone. In men who suffer from male pattern hair loss, dihydrotestosterone affects the hair growth cycle. It shortens the hair-growing period and lengthens the hair-resting period until the hair follicles can no longer grow hair. The speed of this process varies individually. It is not uncommon for men to suffer from hair loss in their 20s.
Dihydrotestosterone is produced in the body through the conversion of testosterone by 5-alpha reductase, the enzyme which is involved in the steroid metabolism in the body.
Contradictory to what many people think, dihydrotestosterone rather than testosterone is the hormone which triggers the male characteristics such as deep voice, prominent facial and body hair, stronger bones and muscles. It has also been associated with male aggressive behaviour including sexual aggressiveness.
Finasteride Reduces Dihydrotestosterone Levels in Men
Finasteride is known to reduce dihydrotestosterone levels by inhibiting the activity of 5-alpha reductase. It helps prevent the conversion of testosterone to dihydrotestosterone. As a 5-alpha reductase inhibitor, finasteride helps regulating the hair growth cycle, consequently, it helps reduce hair loss in men.
Finasteride Causes Erectile Dysfunction, Ejaculatory Problems and Lack of Libido
According to a study published in the International Journal of Impotence Research, finasteride may trigger various side effects including problems of ejaculation (7.7%), problems with erection (15.8%) and lack of libido (5.4%).
Problems with erection seems to be the most commonly side effects from using finasteride. Some studies suggest that these effects are temporary. Nevertheless, the US authority requested that the label for finasteride products carries a warning that the adverse effects may not subside even after the users stopped taking finasteride.
According to Reuters (29-September-2019), U.S. Food and Drug Administration have received 5,000 complaints about the adverse sexual effects of finasteride from 2009 to 2018. 350 out of 5,000 men who reported these side effects were also suffering with suicidal thoughts. It was said that 50 of them committed suicide.
Finasteride Triggers Anxiety and Depression in Men
A study involving 97 men who took finasteride for hair loss problems (American's Journal of Men's Health) showed that nearly 50% of them suffered from depression while 34% of them suffered from anxiety. It is worth to note that 17 of these men have a family history of mental disorders that may affect them too.
Alternative Hair Loss Solution
If you suffer from hair loss, always bare in mind that everyone may react differently to any drug including finasteride. Just because it has caused various problems in some men, it doesn't mean that it will do the same to you and vice versa. Women should never use finasteride as it is known to cause birth defects.
As an anti-ageing scientist who has tried both finasteride and minoxidil, I decided not to use them. It wasn't an easy decision for me. Fortunately, after 15 years of research and development, I have successfully developed my own hair loss solution, Scalp Stimulator and Hair Growth Serum.
Scalp Stimulator is a pre-shampoo hair loss treatment oil which has been specially formulated with an exclusive blend of menthol, cannabis sativa oil, stabilised vitamin E, rosemary, cedarwood, thyme, ylang ylang and lemon essential oils to help reverse the effects of dihydrotestosterone and rejuvenate hair follicles. Gently massage to the affected areas of the scalp, 20 to 30 minutes before you wash your hair with a shampoo. For best results, use it everyday. Personally, I often leave it for up to 2 hours before I shampoo it off.
Hair Growth Tonic is a revitalising hair serum which has been formulated with caffeine, niacinamide, menthol, rosemary, thyme, cedarwood and ylang ylang essential oils to reduce hair loss and optimise hair growth. Twice a day, preferably in the morning and evening, gently massage Hair Growth Serum into the scalp. Then style your hair as usual. Don't rinse. Ideally, use it every 12 hours. I tend to use it in the morning and at night before going to bed.
" FANTASTIC! Dear Henry, today my hair loss patient who started using Henry Tianus Hair Loss Solution Products one week ago, came to my clinic and told me that Henry Tianus products are FANTASTIC. His hair look healthier and stronger already. Congratulation Henry, good job." dr. Agustin Blanch, Spain.
Dealing with hair loss requires both patience and discipline. Hair can only grow up to a quarter of an inch every month, therefore, it will take time before you can see visible results. Some of the hair follicles may not respond to hair loss treatments. In general, the earlier you start using hair loss treatment products, the better the results.
Henry Tianus is a multi-award-winning Anti-Ageing Scientist based in London, UK. Read >>>
Rosemary Oil is as effective as Minoxidil for Androgenetic Alopecia. Read >>>
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Scientific sources: Finasteride and sexual side effects, Indian Dermatology Online Journal, 2012 Jan-Apr, 3(1): 62–65; Androgen levels and components of aggressive behavior in men, Hormones and Behavior, 1987 Jun, 21(2): 170-80; Medical therapy for benign prostatic hyperplasia: sexual dysfunction and impact on quality of life, International journal of impotence research, 2003 Aug, 15(4): 299-306; Emotional Consequences of Finasteride: Fool’s Gold, American Journal of Men's Health, 2018 Jan, 12(1): 90–95; Special Report: Court let Merck hide secrets about baldness drug's risks, Reuters, 11-September-2019.