Propecia: does it really work?

Wondering whether or not Propecia will help your hair loss?

For men, hair loss can be devastating. While it is an incredibly common occurrence in men, particularly as they reach maturity, its prevalence makes it no easier to accept.

In fact, by their mid-thirties, over 65% of men will have experienced some degree of hair loss, with this number increasing to well over 80% by the age of fifty. While there are many potential reasons why a man might begin to lose his hair, male pattern baldness remains the most common.

The proliferation of this condition lead to a great deal of research into male pattern baldness, which is a condition that presents in a distinctive pattern of hair loss that begins at the hairline, and generally creates a ‘horse shoe’ shape as the hairline recedes. In the mid-eighties, researchers found that the ingredient finasteride showed significant promise in treating male pattern baldness and, a few years later, Propecia became a lifeline for men who were struggling to come to terms with their hair loss.

Since then, it has maintained a strong status as the go-to treatment for male pattern baldness. It has, however, been subject to some fears over side effects and efficacy, which has deterred some men from it altogether.

So, are these fears ungrounded, or do they hold truth? And does Propecia really live up to expectations as a worthwhile treatment? Read more below.

The Science Behind Propecia

Propecia works by reducing the proliferation dihydrotestosterone – a hormone more commonly known as DHT – within the scalp. This hormone was found to be responsible for slowing the growth of hair, and causing significant ‘thinning’ of the strands that do continue to grow. Both factors lead to the distinctive shape of male pattern baldness.

By blocking this hormone, Propecia is able to promote better, faster hair growth in those suffering from male pattern baldness. If the hair loss is caused by another condition, however, it is unlikely to offer any real benefit – this is likely how some misconceptions over the inefficacy of Propecia came about.

In various studies, Propecia was found to hold the highest success rate in those who sought treatment early. In general, the symptoms of male pattern baldness will begin to become apparent in the late twenties to early thirties – although this can be sooner or later, depending on the individual.

As a result, the vast majority of men will find the greatest benefit from Propecia if they begin treatment before any significant hair loss occurs. As the only FDA approved hair loss treatment backed by a wealth of data, and with the ability to now buy Propecia online, it remains the most effective option for anyone seeking to halt the effects of male pattern baldness.

Fears Over Possible Side Effects

All FDA approved drugs undergo stringent testing to ensure their safety and efficacy, and these studies often produce a number of anomalies or unexpected results.

In the case of Propecia, some men involved within the study were reported to suffer from reduced fertility after taking the medication. It is worth noting that these men all took Propecia for a long time, and presented a number of other risk factors for fertility loss, but the results were picked up on by the media, and subjected to fearmongering over the dangers of the medication.

Many men are also alarmed by the potential for erectile disfunction and reduced libido. While this can occur in a small number of men taking Propecia, the effects have been studied extensively, and found to be reversible when treatment stops. Although ending treatment will put a stop to the benefits for hair regrowth, it has been shown to prevent any side effects from continuing or worsening.

As with any drug, the long list of potential side effects can act as a strong deterrent to those who may find the most benefit from it. It is important to remember that, though worrying, the small risk of erectile disfunction has been found to be transitory; if it happens, then discontinuing use of Propecia will allow the body to return to normal.

Noticing the signs of male pattern baldness can represent an incredibly distressing time in some men’s lives. While the options are limited, Propecia has a long track record as the most successful treatment for the condition, and although media attention raised the alarm among those considering it, there is a wealth of evidence available to allay any fears over there being a significant risk to sexual health and fertility.

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