Male-pattern baldness, or Androgenetic Alopecia (AGA), is a common condition and it can account for 95% of hair loss in men.
There is a general consensus that the main culprit behind male-pattern balding is DHT. This stands for Dihydrotestosterone and is an androgen sex hormone that is produced from testosterone.
Testosterone, the sex hormone responsible for “maleness”, combines with 5-alpha-reductase, an enzyme involved in steroid metabolism. This results in the production of DHT. If you have a predisposed sensitivity to DHT, it can wreak havoc throughout your body, especially your scalp.
Once there, DHT connects to the androgen receptors at the base of the hair follicles. For those who are sensitive to DHT, this leads to miniaturization of the hair follicles and, eventually, hair loss.
A logical option might be to block testosterone. However, while this might be a solution to save your hair, it would result in some very unpleasant side effects like gynecomastia. Gynecomastia is a decrease in strength, sexual dysfunction, infertility, and many more. So if you start to block testosterone then it will eventually lead to a decrease in the characteristics that make you male.
The best option would be to lower DHT levels. While DHT is an essential hormone during adolescence, because DHT is an androgen sex steroid that plays a major role in male sexual development. It assists in the development of secondary sexual characteristics, such as body hair, facial hair, and pubic hair. It looks like DHT has no clear function in adult males (unlike testosterone).
DHT Blocker Side Effects
Now there are potential for side effects for when you use a DHT blocker. The risk increases with internal DHT blockers, though it is possible to experience them with topical blockers, too.
When you are suffering from hair loss, it is easy to see DHT as the enemy. This is a very simplistic view.
The potential side effects associated with DHT blockers:
- Loss of libido;
- Inability to achieve or maintain an erection;
- Inability to ejaculate;
- Loss of ejaculatory volume;
- Lowered sperm count.
In some cases, the use of DHT blockers can even cause enlarged breast tissue, testicular pain, and a rash. DHT blockers can sometimes lower libido and decrease sexual function. This suggests that DHT plays a role in many things that make a man feel, well, manly.
Do keep in mind that if you stop using a DHT blocker, you will likely experience increased hair shedding and hairline recession. This is because the benefits of DHT blockers only generally last as long as the hair loss treatment. Once you stop using them, your baldness will resume.