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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 percent of men will be affected by male pattern baldness by the time they turn fifty. 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 your later years.
One of the most popular hair loss treatment methods comes in the form of a once-daily pill called finasteride.
It is the only prescription DHT-blocking medication that’s been approved by the FDA to treat male pattern baldness, and has helped millions of 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 percent of the men who took it in clinical trials stopped losing hair as a result of taking the drug and more than 66 percent 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.
In a nutshell: Officially, finasteride is shown to be 85 percent effective with hair regrowth within the first three to four months of use.
2. Finasteride Stops Baldness at Its Source
It works by stopping testosterone from being converted into dihydrotestosterone (DHT), a male androgen that’s 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 1mg finasteride is enough to reduce the amount of DHT in the scalp by more than 60 percent. Other clinical studies have found finasteride at higher doses (5mg — a greater dosage than what’s used to treat male pattern baldness) can block over 70 percent of DHT.
The point is, it works.
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.
If you stop taking finasteride, you can expect to lose the hair you’ve regrown in one year.
4. Finasteride Is One of the Most Effective Ways to Combat Hair Loss
When it comes to hair care, finasteride is one of the most effective treatments against male pattern baldness.
In one study, finasteride’s effectiveness was compared to 5 percent minoxidil. Researchers found that 80 percent of the men who took finasteride benefitted from dense hair regrowth, while only 52 percent 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 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.
Specifically, on average, 1.3 percent of finasteride users experience erectile dysfunction, 1.8 percent experience a decrease in libido and 1.2 percent experience a lower level of ejaculate.
Other side effects include breast tenderness and rashes, which are each experienced by less than one percent of finasteride users.
And though very rare, it’s worth noting that 1.4 percent of people who experience any kind of side effect from finasteride (roughly 0.02 percent of the people who take it) continue to experience them even after cessation of treatment.
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 once-daily pill 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.