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Hair Loss – Male Pattern Baldness

Hair Loss – Male Pattern Baldness
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Male pattern baldness is a genetic disorder which causes the hormone testosterone to be converted into Dihydroxytesterone (DHT). DHT has an adverse effect on hair follicles (also known as the hair roots) and subsequently slows down or even stops hair production altogether.

Symptoms Of Male Pattern Baldness:
  • Male pattern baldness begins with a receding hairline, followed by thinning of the hair on the crown and temples until the bald patches meet.
  • Frequently, the first sign of male pattern baldness is a receding hairline, followed by a gradual thinning of the hair and then more widespread hair loss.
When to see a GP
  • If the hair loss is sudden
  • When bald patches begin to form
  • Hair is falling out in clumps
  • Your head itches and burns
  • When hair loss is affecting your mental health

Finasteride 1mg is a prescription medicine used in the treatment of male pattern baldness.

Finasteride comes as a tablet and should be taken every day with no breaks. It works by reducing the conversion of testosterone to DHT, or reducing the levels of DHT, which helps to stop the hair from falling out. Finasteride can only be taken by men suffering from male pattern baldness. It is not suitable for women suffering from baldness.

Taken correctly (one tablet a day, every day), finasteride can be extremely effective in reversing the effects of male pattern baldness. The effectiveness of Finasteride often depends on the length of time it is taken, but the evidence available suggests that 90% of men who use it see an improvement, while two thirds will benefit from renewed hair growth.

Finasteride is not a permanent solution to hair loss, so any positive effects will be reversed if treatment is stopped. If you are suffering from male pattern baldness and are interested in taking finasteride, please talk with your GP.
Finasteride is particularly effective in men who are experiencing mild or moderate hair loss.
You will probably have to take Finasteride for at least 4 months before you see any effect, and if you stop taking it the hair loss process will resume.

Minoxidil (i.e., Regaine)
Minoxidil is another treatment that has been proven to reverse hair loss in men suffering from male pattern baldness. Unlike finasteride, minoxidil is not a prescription treatment and available from your pharmacy. It is most often available under the brand name Regaine.

Minoxidil comes as a lotion or foam. It has to be rubbed into balding areas of the scalp every day to have an effect upon hair loss. It can be used by men and women who are suffering from hereditary hair loss, and is also sometimes prescribed as a treatment for alopecia areata. However, if you are suffering from alopecia areata (where the hair falls out in patches), you should visit a doctor and not self-medicate with minoxidil.

When used every single day, minoxidil can be very effective at reversing hair loss in men with male pattern baldness. One study showed that using minoxidil led to improvement in 60% of men who used it, compared to 90% of men who used Finasteride over 5 years.

These treatments:

  • Don't work for everyone
  • Only work for as long as they're used
  • Can be expensive

Tips on coping with hair loss:

  1. It's important to address the psychological impact of hair loss. If you've lost your hair, even temporarily, life will be easier if you can accept what's happened and learn to live with your altered appearance.
  2. Try and accept it
  3. Talk about it
  4. Avoid miracle cures
  5. Explore treatment options both surgical and non-surgical
  6. Join a support group
  7. Be patient

Hair loss - HSE.ie
Hair loss - NHS (www.nhs.uk)
Women and hair loss: coping tips - NHS (www.nhs.uk)
Finasteride vs. Minoxidil: Which is Right For You? (webmd.com)
Finasteride and sexual side effects - PMC (nih.gov)
Androgenetic alopecia | Male pattern baldness (hrbr.ie)
Androgenetic alopecia - Symptoms, diagnosis and treatment | BMJ Best Practice
Hair loss - Symptoms and causes - Mayo Clinic
Male Pattern Baldness | Causes and Treatment | Patient
Sons_Finasteride_MA_IE_Leaflet_03_Outlined (hpra.ie)