Male pattern baldness has long been a source of anxiety for men, raising concerns of appearance and aging. Aside from aesthetic effects, though, it can have much more serious implications. An early September study on the relationship between male pattern baldness and prostate cancer indicated that there was a definite connection between the two.
Specifically, men over 45 with vertex pattern balding are at 39 percent higher risk for aggressive prostate cancer. The connecting factor between hair loss and prostate cancer is male hormones, also know as androgens. The androgens testosterone and dihydrotestosterone (DHT) are associated both with balding and with prostate development and cancer. These are most likely the link between the two conditions.
Interestingly, DHT suppression is a main function in the hair loss drug Propecia.
Using Propecia for Hair Loss: Persistent Sexual Side Effects
Although DHT suppression shows success in fighting hair loss, it also contributes to the sexual side effects of Propecia. Propecia’s active ingredient of finasteride is responsible for blocking this hormone as well as for the side effects.
Propecia side effects include:
- Erectile Dysfunction
- Loss of Libido
- Ejaculatory Disorder
- Genital Soreness/Pain
Unfortunately, some of these side effects, such as erectile problems and reduced libido, can persist long after ceasing to take Propecia. After surveying men who formerly took Propecia, one study found that these men experienced sexual side effects for an average of 40 months. A follow up study with these same men revealed 96 percent of them suffered the same conditions of sexual dysfunction a year later.