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It’s common for most guys to experience male pattern baldness at some point in their lives. Studies show that approximately 85% of men will be affected by male pattern baldness by the time they turn 50. However, there are ways to slow down or prevent the effects of hair loss, so that you can enjoy a full head of hair well into later years.
One of the most popular hair loss treatment methods comes in the form of a once-a-day pill known as finasteride. It is the only DHT-blocking medication that’s been approved by the FDA to treat male pattern baldness, and has helped countless men in the fight against baldness. Let’s look at what the average guy can expect after taking finasteride.
1. Finasteride helps prevent you from going bald
When finasteride was first investigated as a viable solution to male pattern baldness, researchers noticed two things: approximately 83% of the men who took it in clinical trials stopped losing hair as a result of taking the drug and more than 66% of men actually grew hair back after two years of taking it regularly. Since then, finasteride has been successfully used as a treatment program for men who’re unhappy with their hair loss. When researchers tested different treatment methods for male pattern baldness, they found that finasteride was incredibly effective at stopping male pattern baldness in its tracks. Men who took it for a 48-week period were observed to have experienced hair regrowth at a rate of 16 hairs per square centimeter.
2. Finasteride stops baldness at its source
It works by stopping testosterone from being converted into dihydrotestosterone, a male androgen that’s been linked to balding. This means that for a lot of men, finasteride is able to effectively prevent male pattern baldness by reducing the amount of DHT present in the scalp. Medical researchers noted that a daily dose of 1 mg finasteride is enough to reduce the amount of DHT in the scalp by more than 60%.
3. For best results, finasteride requires commitment
The most important thing to remember when taking finasteride is that you’re not taking a magic baldness-erasing pill. While finasteride is designed to disrupt DHT and stimulate hair growth, you need to continue taking it to fully benefit from its effects. Studies show that people who discontinued their finasteride treatment lost all of the hair they regrew over a period of six to nine months.
4. Finasteride is one of the most effective ways to combat hair loss
When it comes to haircare, finasteride is one of the most effective treatments against male pattern baldness. In one study, finasteride’s effectiveness was compared to 5% minoxidil. Researchers found that 80% of the men who took finasteride benefitted from dense hair regrowth, while only 52% of the men applying minoxidil enjoyed similar results. Furthermore, in the same study, doctors noted that men who combined finasteride and minoxidil experienced even better results than individuals who used one treatment plan on its own.
5. Finasteride is incredibly successful, but there are some side effects
The truth is that finasteride is very good at preventing male pattern baldness, but a small number of men who use it as part of their treatment program may experience various sexual side effects. In one study posted in JAMA Dermatology, roughly 5% of the men taking the medication experienced a decline in sperm count, raising the question whether finasteride causes temporary infertility. Additionally, 2% of the men who took finasteride in clinical trials experienced other sexual side effects, like a low libido and difficulty to maintain an erection.
If you’re one of the few people who experience side effects as a result of taking finasteride, make sure that you contact your physician for further instructions.
Talk to Your Doctor to Learn More
Have you been interested in starting a treatment program for male pattern baldness? Your doctor is able to help you along the way, so be sure to ask them about finasteride to see if it’s a good fit for you. One of the biggest advantages of taking finasteride opposed to other treatment programs is its convenience. Instead of having to make major changes to your daily routine, all you need to do is take a pill once a day in order to benefit from its effects. And you can even combine it with other hair loss treatments like minoxidil to come up with a stronger treatment plan against male pattern baldness.
This article was reviewed by Brendan Levy, MD.