You’ve tried to deny it for some time, but it eventually becomes clear that you’re losing your hair. Whether you’re developing a bald spot or your hairline is receding, you may want to invest in some way to reduce the likelihood of further baldness. Losing your hair doesn’t mean you need to lose yourself in the process.
There are many over-the-counter hair loss treatments available, but they are often ineffective or are literal snake oil. Hair plugs, surgery, and steroid injections are another option, but they are pretty expensive and may not give you amicable results. So, what can you do?
Finasteride is a valuable asset to men and women who experience hair loss. It’s an FDA-approved drug treatment that actually works. Here’s what you need to know before asking your doctor.
Different Types of Hair Loss and Treatability
Hair loss is normal for everyone because, on average, we lose between 50 to 100 hairs per day. This level isn’t a cause of concern and is so insignificant most of us won’t notice it. However, if you see your hair come out more often either in clumps, on your pillow, or around the home, this could indicate a more significant issue.
Male pattern baldness is an inherited condition and is the most common form of hair loss across ages and genders. It’s a progressive condition that weakens hair follicles and causes them to shrink, so your newer hairs that do grow are finer and shorter. Thankfully, you can use finasteride to improve on this. In fact, using finasteride for hair growth is one of the best things you can do to improve the look and feel of your luscious locks.
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Other forms of hair loss cannot be treated or resolve themselves. Telogen effluvium is temporary and caused by stress. Men and women typically grow that hair back once the stressor is removed. It’s also in your best interest to seek help from a medical professional as hair loss from stress indicates a severe mental health issue.
On the other end of the spectrum, Alopecia areata isn’t treatable with any medication as it’s an autoimmune disorder that attacks hair follicles. At this moment, autoimmune diseases cannot be cured by medical intervention.
How Finasteride Helps with Hair Loss
Finasteride often sold under the name Propecia, is a 5-alpha-reductase inhibitor that prevents testosterone from being broken down into DHT. DHT is an androgen that helps hair follicles to miniaturize, which contributes to male pattern baldness. This medication is only available with a prescription from a licensed doctor.
Taken in tablet form, finasteride needs to be taken long term to see any lasting effect. You also won’t see any difference in your hair for a few months. Men who take this medication have seen a decrease in hair loss and an improvement in the thickness of their hair. It must be stressed that you have to take this medication continuously, or else your hair will fall out.
Common Side Effects
All medications come with side effects; however, finasteride is considered safe by most metrics. It’s possible to experience depression, rashes, breast tenderness, ejaculation problems, brain fog, testicular pain, decreased libido, and less ejaculate. These side effects will disappear once you stop using the medication on average.
It’s also recommended to avoid taking pain medications (NSAIDs) like Advil because it’s more likely you’ll experience sexual dysfunction when both mix.
Although rare, there is an increased risk of prostate cancer. There is a slight increase (1.8 percent for 5mg doses) of High-Grade Prostate Cancer that could occur in men over the age of 55. However, it’s uncommon for doctors to prescribe 5mg doses. Do not take finasteride if you have chronic liver disease or a kidney disorder.