Finasteride is a medication used to treat male pattern baldness by blocking the conversion of testosterone into dihydrotestosterone (DHT) which causes hair follicle shrinkage and hair loss. It is typically taken as a daily tablet with a dosage of 1mg. Propecia, Proscar and finasteride are essentially the same drug with different brand names and dosages.
Research shows finasteride is generally safe and effective for most men seeking to address male pattern baldness. However, rare side effects can occur and it is essential to be aware of these and take steps to minimize their impact.
The comprehensive guide provided in this article offers strategies to reduce and manage potential side effects associated with finasteride use such as consulting with a healthcare professional, starting with a lower dose, taking the medication with food, allowing time for adjustment, monitoring and communicating with the healthcare professional and considering lifestyle changes.
It is crucial to remember that individual experiences may vary, and if any concerning side effects arise or persist, it is crucial to inform a healthcare professional for appropriate evaluation and guidance. Overall, finasteride remains a widely prescribed and effective medication for male pattern hair loss.
How To Reduce Side Effects Of Finasteride
Finasteride is a medication that is used to treat benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) and male pattern hair loss (MPHL). It works by blocking the conversion of testosterone to dihydrotestosterone (DHT) which is responsible for prostate enlargement and hair follicle miniaturization. Finasteride can be effective in improving the symptoms of BPH and MPHL, but it may also cause some side effects. Some of the common side effects of finasteride include:
- Decreased libido
- Erectile dysfunction
- Ejaculation disorder
- Gynecomastia (breast enlargement)
Some rare but serious side effects of finasteride include:
- Allergic reaction (such as swelling of the face, lips, tongue, or throat, difficulty breathing, or hives)
- Depression or mood changes
- Breast lumps or pain
- Testicular pain
- Male breast cancer
- Prostate cancer
These side effects are usually mild and reversible, but they can affect the quality of life and self-esteem of some men. If you are experiencing any of these side effects, you may wonder how to reduce them or prevent them from happening. Here are some tips that may help you:
Talk to your doctor before starting or stopping finasteride. Your doctor can advise you on the benefits and risks of finasteride and help you decide whether it is suitable for you. Do not stop taking finasteride without consulting your doctor, as this may worsen your condition or cause a rebound effect.
Take finasteride as prescribed. Follow the instructions on the label and do not take more or less than the recommended dose. Taking too much finasteride may increase the risk of side effects while taking too little may reduce its effectiveness.
Monitor your symptoms and report any changes to your doctor. Keep track of your urinary and sexual function and let your doctor know if you notice any changes or problems. Your doctor may adjust your dose or switch you to another medication if needed.
Consider alternative or complementary treatments. Some men may benefit from other treatments for BPH or MPHL, such as surgery, laser therapy, minoxidil, herbal remedies, or supplements. However, these treatments may have their own side effects, interactions, or contraindications, so consult your doctor before trying them.
Adopt a healthy lifestyle. Some lifestyle factors may influence your prostate health and hair growth, such as diet, exercise, stress, smoking, alcohol, and sleep. Try to eat a balanced diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and healthy fats. Avoid foods that may aggravate your prostate or hair loss, such as spicy foods, caffeine, alcohol, or dairy products.
Exercise regularly to improve your blood circulation, muscle tone, and mood. Manage your stress levels by practicing relaxation techniques, such as meditation, yoga, or breathing exercises. Quit smoking and limit your alcohol intake, as these habits may damage your blood vessels and hormones. Get enough sleep to allow your body to repair and regenerate.
How long does it take for finasteride to work?
The effects of finasteride depend on the condition being treated and the dose being used. Generally, it may take several months to see noticeable results.
Finasteride for BPH
BPH is a common condition that affects older men. It causes symptoms such as frequent and difficult urination, urinary retention, and increased risk of urinary tract infections and kidney stones.
Finasteride can help reduce the size of the prostate and improve the urinary flow. It can also lower the risk of complications such as acute urinary retention and the need for surgery.
According to the NHS, finasteride for BPH is usually taken at a dose of 5 mg once a day. It may take up to six months to see an improvement in symptoms. However, some men may notice a difference within a few weeks.
Finasteride for MPHL
MPHL is a hereditary condition that affects many men. It causes hair follicles to shrink and produce thinner and shorter hairs, resulting in a receding hairline and bald patches on the scalp.
Finasteride can help prevent further hair loss and stimulate new hair growth by lowering the levels of DHT in the scalp. It can also improve the appearance and quality of the hair.
According to Healthline, finasteride for MPHL is usually taken at a dose of 1 mg once a day. It may take up to three months to see an increase in hair growth and up to 12 months to see the full effect. However, some men may experience faster or slower results.
Finasteride is a medication that can help treat BPH and MPHL in men by lowering the levels of DHT in the body. It can improve the symptoms of these conditions and prevent further complications. However, it can also cause side effects and interactions, and it is not suitable for everyone. Therefore, you should consult your doctor before taking finasteride and follow their advice on how to use it safely and effectively.