If you're experiencing frontal hair loss Finasteride may offer some help in halting the loss. However, this drug has not been proven very effective for re-growing hair that has been lost along the frontal scalp region.
What is Finasteride?
Finasteride is an orally administered prescription drug that is marketed under the brand name Propecia. This drug works to prevent hair loss on a molecular level by blocking an enzyme that is responsible for the formation of a secondary form of testosterone: dihydrotestosterone (DHT). Finasteride has not been approved for females, and is intended solely for male patients. In fact, Finasteride has been completely contraindicated for women, especially pregnant women, because the drug has been shown to interact with the fetus, thereby causing abnormalities to the fetus' genetalia.
The Physiology of Hair Loss
Although testosterone is necessary for both male and female physiological functions throughout the entire body, dihydrotestosterone has been known to cause inflammation in the hair follicle followed by follicle shrinkage. The hair within the follicle is virtually starved throughout further growth cycles. In the end, the follicle shrinks to a size where it dies or becomes dormant.
The enzyme which encourages the production of DHT is called 5-alpha-reductase and is found in two forms within the body. Type I 5-alpha-reductase primarily affects the sebaceous glands whereas Type II is found predominately within the prostate and hair follicles of males. Finasteride works to block the Type II enzyme, thus inhibiting hair loss and encouraging hair growth. It is thought that once the DHT accumulation is removed from the hair follicle, the natural growth cycle will takes over. However, frontal hair loss Finasteride patients may not have such glowing results with the drug.
What Frontal Hair Loss Finasteride Patients Should Know
Finasteride patients will probably not witness the same effectiveness with the drug as a patient with crown hair loss. If you are a person with frontal hair loss Finasteride may slow down your hair growth and you are likely not to have significant re-growth in the frontal region of your scalp. Frontal hair loss is commonly called a "receding hairline," such as what can be found with male pattern baldness. If this sort of hair loss describes your own pattern, then you may want to look into other treatment options.
However, some doctors are quick to prescribe Propecia whenever they hear a male client talking about hair loss. This can be dangerous, because Finasteride is not without side-effects. Contrary to some doctors' advice, some of these side-effects can persist long after the treatment has been discontinued. A quick run through Internet forums presented by past or current Propecia patients will give you a good idea of how effective this medication is at treating or harming your body.
Side effects can include:
- Decreased libido
- Erectile dysfunction
- Decreased volume of ejaculation
Pharmaceutical manufacturers and medical representatives stress that these side effects are uncommon and not severe when they do occur, but if you are a patient considering Finasteride as a treatment for your hair loss, it is best to do some extensive research before beginning the drug.
Remember, Finasteride does not typically begin to show results during the first few days of treatment. Doctors typically recommend that a person continue for three months with Finasteride before results can be seen. Three months gives the drug adequate time to saturate the body and, therefore, block the maximum amount of DHT formation. However, if your body is somewhat sensitive to the drug, three months may be just enough time to really cause some damage to your system.
Finasteride blocks up to 70 percent of 5-alpha-reductase, hence its effects are not 100 percent. Not all patients will show improvement during treatment. This drug must also be continued permanently. Stopping treatment will result in loss of hair as the regular growth and hormone pattern returns.
Saw palmetto has been clinically proven to block the formation of 5-alpha-reductase as well and may be a more natural treatment option for many hair loss patients. It is frequently used for prostate disorders and may or may not be able to help prevent hair loss. Either way, the herb is highly comparable to Propecia, barring Finasteride's questionable side effects.