Hair loss can be so upsetting, and understanding how Propecia works may provide important information in this struggle.
Men are the worst affected by hair loss. Male pattern baldness will affect about 50 percent of men, while four out of five men will experience some baldness by the age of 70.
Balding men have long borne the brunt of lousy office jokes and best man speeches about the condition.
But for those watching their hair thin out, it is just not funny. Hair loss can deliver a blow to self-esteem, causing depression and fear of growing old. Many men may feel that there is no hope and give up looking for romantic relationships.
You may be trying to hide your baldness with a cap or a combover, but don’t give up immediately. There are treatments that can help you.
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What is Hair Loss?
This condition, also known as alopecia, can be caused by your genes (thanks, mom and dad!) or medical conditions. Hormonal changes can lead to balding, and thinning hair also just comes with the terrain as you get older.
Everybody sheds hair as their hair grows and renews itself. It is normal to lose between 50 and 100 hairs a day. Typically, new hair will grow in its place. When it does not, there might be a problem. This can leads to bald spots or thinning hair.
Hair loss can occur due to:
- Psychological stress
- Major surgery
- An overactive immune system
- Medication like chemotherapy
- Hereditary causes
There are several kinds of hair loss that can affect men.
1- Male Pattern Baldness
Male pattern baldness begins at the hairline, which slowly recedes over time. It is linked to genetics and male sex hormones. Male pattern baldness happens when the hair follicle slowly shrinks, resulting in finer hair.
The follicle eventually stops producing new hair. But it remains alive, meaning there is hope for hair to grow once more.
2- Alopecia Areata
Alopecia Areata is an autoimmune disease that causes hair to fall out in clumps. With this condition, your immune system attacks the hair follicles. It can lead to a bald patch anywhere on your body.
The long-term impact is unpredictable, and hair may grow back again.
3- Alopecia Totalis and Universalis
These are more extreme versions of Alopecia Areata. Alopecia Totalis leads to the total loss of hair on the scalp, while Alopecia Universalis affects the entire head and body.
While hair loss may seem embarrassing, don’t be afraid to speak to your doctor. Hundreds of men look for solutions like hair transplants, but there may be other options.
What is Propecia?
Propecia is one of the brand names for a generic drug known as finasteride, which comes in different doses. It was approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in the United States in 1997. It has been available in Canada since 1998.
The active ingredient finasteride was first used to treat symptoms of an enlarged prostate gland. However, the FDA reports that finasteride has improved hair growth in men suffering mild to moderate baldness.
Finasteride comes in the form of tablets that are taken orally. The medication should be taken daily at the same time, with or without food. Remember to drink a full glass of water when taking your pill.
How Propecia Works
Finasteride inhibits a specific enzyme from converting testosterone into dihydrotestosterone, a sex hormone. This fundamental Propecia mechanism of action increases testosterone levels in the body.
Men who are suffering hair loss have more dihydrotestosterone in their scalp than men with a full head of hair. According to the FDA, finasteride decreases the amount of this hormone in these men.
Decreasing the amount of DHT on the scalp can lead to increased hair regrowth and slower hair loss. Finasteride does not lead to an increase in body hair.
It is essential to know how to take Propecia for the right outcome.
It can take up to three months to notice any effect. Propecia needs to be taken continually to work. If you stop taking it, the results you have seen may be reversed. You may need to take it for up to 18 months to judge its effectiveness.
Be careful not to drink too much alcohol while taking Propecia.
Who is a good candidate for Propecia?
- Younger men
- Candidates who still have many fine hairs
- Men with thinning hair on the crown
Who is not a good candidate for Propecia?
- Women should not take this drug
- Men with a receding hairline
- Men with extensive hair loss
Like any prescription medication, Propecia comes with potential side effects. Discuss any concerns you may have with your physician to ensure all goes well.
Propecia Side Effects
Common Side Effects
- Loss of interest in sexual intercourse
- Difficulties ejaculating
- Difficulty gaining an erection
Rare Side Effects
- Prostate Cancer
- Low Blood Pressure
- Fluid Retention
- Less semen when ejaculating
- Male breast cancer
- Suicidal thoughts
- Low Sperm Count
Dealing With Hair Loss
There is no doubt that thinning hair can be a blow to male confidence, and you may feel like some parts of your life are over. You may worry that you are no longer as attractive to potential partners or that you may be made fun of.
But it is a common problem, and you are not alone.
It is important to get a prescription for Propecia, as it requires specific advice from a doctor on how to take it successfully. You can speak to a doctor in person or online who can explain to you how Propecia works.