Testosterone Usage and Hair Loss
Over the past few years there have been an increasing number of men undergoing testosterone treatments for no valid medical reason(s) other than a lifestyle trend referred to as “male menopause”. They view these treatments as the “fountain of youth” and can experience many benefits ranging from increased libido, preventing muscle mass loss, and improved energy levels.
But with those benefits can also come some negative side effects. One of the side effects of testosterone use can be hair loss, which, if you’re looking for a way to appear and feel younger, maybe not be route you want to take.
The idea of “Male Menopause” is a relatively new theory being treated by Testosterone therapy. And while doctors have been using Testosterone therapy for legitimate medical reasons for years, this new trend may be causing other issues that men may want to think twice about when considering these forms of therapy.
Let’s take a look at what testosterone is, what testosterone therapy is used for and how testosterone therapy may be related to hair loss in some individuals, and what you can do to help prevent it.
What is Testosterone?
Testosterone is the primary sex hormone produced in all males and provides development of male reproductive tissues as well as promoting muscle and bone development. Peak production occurs somewhere in early adulthood and then declines around 1% each year after age 30. Men with low testosterone levels can suffer from insomnia, lowered muscle strength, and even depression.
As men get older, they may notice a lack of daily energy and inability to concentrate due to the decreased levels of testosterone being produced by their bodies. This can affect some men more strongly than others. Men who are cognizant of their lowered energy levels may resort to “testosterone therapy” as a way to boost their energy levels back up to help maintain a more physical lifestyle.
What is Testosterone Therapy?
Over the past few years, the FDA has approved many various kinds of testosterone therapies. The ones most commonly used come in the form of hormones that are injected directly into the muscle. There are also ones that can be applied to the skin using a cream or even released slowly via a small pellet that’s put inside the body, usually in the soft tissue of the hip.
Many men claim to see results almost immediately. Energy levels shoot through the roof, concentration becomes sharper, and libido returns to that of their younger selves. After a month or so weight loss and muscle improvement are easier to maintain as well.
There are plenty of studies that show the benefits of these types of treatments, but like most things, there are always some consequences to what we put into our bodies.
Side Effects: Can Testosterone Usage Cause Hair Loss?
With all these benefits being reported by men who have undergone testosterone therapy, it’s easy to see why it’s has become so popular. Yet, there are a few side effects that you should know about if you’re considering this form of therapy.
One dangerous side effect is a higher hematocrit (more circulating red blood cells) or “thicker blood.” This can lead to a blood clot in the brain, heart or lungs, resulting in a stroke, heart attack or embolisms, respectively. Though it’s not common, it is very serious, so lab monitoring is important.
Also, testosterone therapy isn’t a one-shot deal. It needs to be administered continuously to your body to maintain the results. If you stop the therapy, you go right back to your old lower testosterone levels – and the accompanying side effects such as low energy/libido/decreased muscle mass. Also with continued therapy, your own body becomes “lazy” and may stop producing any testosterone of its own. So in essence, you will be reliant on continued treatment forever.
The benefits gained from the therapy can also plateau from 6 weeks to 1 year after starting treatment. Some men will get flares of acne while on testosterone treatment. The testicles can also shrink, and sperm production can be significantly lowered.
While most of those side effects may not sound too horrible, there is one that could scare off a lot of men… hair loss.
Hair Loss from Testosterone Use
Many men who have started testosterone therapy have reported that they have started to lose their hair. The increased testosterone can contribute to male pattern hair loss by triggering the genetically predisposed hair follicles on the scalp to fall out.
Since we know male pattern baldness is primarily driven by DHT (dihydrotestosterone), the active form of testosterone, if you pump in extra testosterone into the body, you are going to get more DHT and therefore more stimulation on your hair follicles. Interestingly, DHT signals some hair to fall out (like your scalp) and some to grow (like your face or body hair).
It should be noted that not all men lose their hair when they undergo the therapy. It has been suggested that men who are genetically predisposed to hair loss and male pattern baldness are the most susceptible.
Hair Loss Remedies
Fortunately, if you do start to notice your hair thinning, there are several treatments on the market that can help with hair loss. These hair loss treatments are intended to help treat male pattern baldness and in many cases, can be used successfully in conjunction with testosterone therapy if necessary.
Propecia (Finasteride) is a hair-loss drug that can block testosterone activity specifically in the hair follicles and the resulting male pattern baldness. The main downside is that women who could become pregnant should not handle the medication and there can be some sexual side effects.
Rogaine has been on the market for many years. It’s designed to help increase blood flow to the scalp and hair follicles, thereby preventing the follicles from shrinking. It essentially jump-starts them and gets them growing correctly again.
Unlike treatments such as Propecia, there are very few negative side effects to using Rogaine. It’s best if you consult with a hair loss specialist prior to going on Rogaine. Their wealth of knowledge and expertise can help guide you to the right therapy that will work best for you.
ARTAS Robotic Hair Transplant
A hair transplant is also another terrific way to get natural-looking results without the side-effects of medications. The ARTAS Robotic Hair Transplant Procedure uses a state-of-the-art robot that assists surgeons with hair transplant surgeries.
The benefit to using a robot is that the arm of the surgeon can weaken and tire after working for several hours non-stop. The arm of a robot will be as precise and accurate 3 hours into the procedure as it was when it first started.
Another benefit to ARTAS is that there is no incision so it’s less painful and no stitches are required. It will be very hard for someone to detect the hair transplant.
Hair Transplant Surgeon in San Antonio
If you have begun to experience hair loss after undergoing testosterone therapy, give the Limmer Hair Transplant Center a call at (210) 496-9992 or schedule a consultation online.
Our surgeons are experts in the field of hair restoration and are very familiar with hair loss in men who are currently undergoing testosterone therapy. Our offices are conveniently located from a 10-minute drive from the San Antonio airport. We welcome out-of-town patients and can even schedule a photo consultation.