7 Minute Read
Did you know that 30% of men report noticeable thinning hair by the time they reach 30? Shocking. So much for the golden years of youth! It's no surprise that more and more men are turning to prescription medications like finasteride (Propecia) and dutasteride (Avodart) to hold back the tide of balding. It's not all sunshine and full hairlines with these prescriptions, however. Many are now realizing an unfortunate side effect to hair loss prevention medications – erectile dysfunction and a low sex drive.
Deciding between hair loss and erectile dysfunction is like being stuck between a rock and a not-so hard place. And we don't want you find yourself there, Brother. So we've combed through medical studies to find out why these medications cause such problematic side effects. Is there a safer alternative?
How Loss Prevention Treatments Work
Time for a quick science lesson. Hair loss treatments, like finasteride and dutasteride, are what's known as 5-alpha-reductase inhibitors. Like the bouncers outside a club, they refuse entry to a hormone called dihydrotestosterone (DHT). DHT, a byproduct of testosterone, plays a vital role in specific tissues, including the prostate gland, skin, and hair follicles. By reducing the production of DHT, these medications keep your hair follicles from thinning and your hair from waving goodbye. However, DHT isn't all bad and its reduction can have some unintended effects – let's just say, things for instance might not rise to the occasion in the bedroom. But how exactly does this happen?
Why Finasteride and Dutasteride Lower Sexual Stamina
When finasteride and dutasteride reduce the production of DHT, they are also reducing testosterone and inadvertently impact your sex drive and erectile function. DHT plays a crucial role in maintaining your libido and erectile health. The same hormone that’s got your hair packing its bags also keeps things spicy between the sheets.
The big question is, are these side effects reversible? Finasteride erectile dysfunction recovery is a topic of ongoing research. Some studies suggest the effects might be reversible once the medication is stopped, but others point towards a more enduring impact. One study found that even after 3 months of discontinued use, subjects between ages of 21-46 still frequently exhibited symptoms of sexual dysfunction (1). Another clinical series found that 20% of users exhibited long term side effects of reduced sex drive that lasted more than 6 years after discontinuing finasteride (2). It's definitely a gamble.
Aside from messing with your love life, these hair loss prevention medications cause other side effects. Everything from mood changes, breast tissue enlargement, and rashes have been reported – now that’s a side effect trio no man wants to invite to his party.
Holistic Alternatives for Hair Loss Prevention
While prescription medications may seem like the quickest route to a fuller head of hair, they're not the only way to put the brakes on hair loss. There are safer, holistic alternatives that have shown promising results, without turning your love life into a tragic comedy. Here are a few you might want to try:
- Apple Cider Vinegar: Not just for salad dressings, ACV is believed to stimulate hair growth by improving scalp health.
- Peppermint Oil: This isn’t just a Christmas treat – when massaged into the scalp, it can help to stimulate hair growth (3)
- Saw Palmetto: This natural DHT blocker is a popular supplement for hair loss prevention (4)
- Rosemary Oil: This is a potent natural hair loss preventative with little to no known side effects (5). Rosemary extract is a key ingredient in Stamen Supplement for Men.
- Ginger: Powerful anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial improves the health of skin and hair follicles for healthy growth. This is another key ingredient in Stamen Supplement for Men.
- Scalp Massage: No oils or pills needed, just your hands. A good scalp massage can stimulate blood flow to the hair follicles, encouraging growth. The best low-cost holistic alternative!
1. Irwig MS, Kolukula S. Persistent sexual side effects of finasteride for male pattern hair loss. J Sex Med. 2011 Jun. [PubMed]
2. Irwig MS. Persistent sexual side effects of finasteride: could they be permanent? J Sex Med. 2012 [PubMed]
3. Oh JY, Park MA, Kim YC. Peppermint Oil Promotes Hair Growth without Toxic Signs. Toxicol Res. 2014 Dec;30(4):297-304. [PubMed]
4. Evron E, Juhasz M, Babadjouni A, Mesinkovska NA. Natural Hair Supplement: Friend or Foe? Saw Palmetto, a Systematic Review in Alopecia. Skin Appendage Disord. 2020 Nov [PubMed]
5. Panahi Y, Taghizadeh M, Marzony ET, Sahebkar A. Rosemary oil vs minoxidil 2% for the treatment of androgenetic alopecia: a randomized comparative trial. Skinmed. 2015 Jan-Feb;13 [PubMed]