- Is the link between hair loss and erectile dysfunction an urban legend?
- Dihydrotestosterone causes hair loss and supports sexual appetite.
- Hair loss drugs like Propecia block DHT.
- Hair loss treatments may cause erectile dysfunction in some patients.
- Erectile dysfunction and hair loss share many triggers.
Have you heard that if you’re losing your hair, you may be able to reclaim it at the cost of your sexual performance? If so, you may have wondered, what does one have to do with the other?
The hormone dihydrotestosterone (DHT) affects erectile dysfunction and hair loss. It is a strong androgen that causes hair loss and supports sexual function. Hair loss treatments that reduce the amount of DHT in the body can cause erectile dysfunction.
DHT is one of the most potent androgens and a link between hair loss and erectile dysfunction.
For a hair-loss sufferer, DHT is a bad guy. It is an undesirable entity that is the root of many problems plaguing the scalp.
But for a man struggling with declining sexual performance, DHT is a potential savior. Its lack, rather than its presence, is the problem.
DHT is a Target for Hair Loss Treatments
Doctors looking to cure baldness discovered that DHT may be the main culprit in hair loss. The follicles of hair loss sufferers are more sensitive to this hormone. It binds to receptors in the follicles, sending them a signal to stop producing hair.
Most hair-loss medications work by suppressing DHT.
Researchers know that 5-alpha reductase plays a role in male sexual development before birth and during puberty. There are two types of 5-alpha reductase enzymes:
- Finasteride, which inhibits 5-alpha reductase type 1.
- Dutasteride, inhibits both types of 5-alpha reductase, achieving better DHT suppression.
Considering the role of 5-alpha reductase and DHT in male sexual development, it’s not surprising that their suppression can cause sexual side effects.
Can Hair Loss Drugs Cause Erectile Dysfunction?
Theoretically, they can. Whether they will, however, is a different question.
According to data from 2017, young men taking finasteride or dutasteride for hair loss assume a greater risk of developing persistent erectile dysfunction than those who don’t take 5-alpha reductase inhibitors.
The same study established that the longer you take finasteride, the more likely you are to develop erectile dysfunction.
Finasteride and dutasteride are more likely to cause impotence, erectile dysfunction, or a drop in sexual performance than smoking, diabetes, or hypertension.
Not all researchers agree, however, that hair loss drugs can cause erectile dysfunction. According to a 2008 study, testosterone, rather than DHT, powers sexual performance. This study concludes that 5AR inhibitors do not cause erectile dysfunction to a “significant degree.”
Yet another study, this one done on men with benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), found that long-term finasteride therapy lowers total testosterone in the body in addition to lowering DHT. It thus negatively impacts sexual performance.
How likely are you to develop erectile dysfunction as a result of your hair loss treatment?
Only 3.8 percent of Propecia users reported side effects such as erectile dysfunction, decreased sexual appetite, and ejaculation problems. These problems subsided both in those who quit the treatment and those who pushed on with it. After five years of treatment, fewer than 0.3 percent of Propecia (finasteride) users reported side effects.
Initially, 4.7 percent of Avodart (dutasteride) users reported impotence, and 3 percent felt that their sexual performance suffered. After a year and a half of treatment, however, only 0.8 percent still suffered from impotence. And only 0.3 percent reported a loss of sexual vigor.
In conclusion, 5AR inhibitors, such as finasteride, increase your chances of developing erectile dysfunction. In this sense, there is a link between hair loss and erectile dysfunction. This increased risk is small, however.
Mathematically, you don’t have to trade your sexual function for a full head of hair. You may get to have that cake and devour it, too.
How Do You Know If You Have High DHT?
It makes sense to consider drugs like finasteride for your hair loss only if you are sure that DHT is the cause of your follicular problems.
You may have high DHT if:
- You have acne. Androgens like DHT often cause acne in addition to hair loss.
- Your hairline is receding. Many people start balding at the temples in a characteristic “widow’s peak” pattern.
- You lose hair at the crown. Drugs like Propecia work best to regrow hair in your crown area. They have a lesser impact at the temples.
- Your hair and scalp are oily all the time. DHT may enlarge your oil-secreting sebaceous glands. These glands work overtime, producing more oil than usual.
Does Hair Loss Cause Erectile Dysfunction?
While there are links between hair loss and erectile dysfunction, they are not direct. Hair loss does not directly cause erectile dysfunction or vice versa. On the contrary, some of the factors that contribute to hair loss support male sexual function.
Erectile dysfunction may be a symptom of low DHT and testosterone, so it may predict a full head of hair rather than hair loss.
Still, erectile dysfunction and hair loss sometimes go hand-in-hand.
Other Links Between Hair Loss and Erectile Dysfunction
Several health conditions may contribute to hair loss and erectile dysfunction. These include:
- High blood pressure
- Extreme stress
- Medications doctors use to treat these conditions
- Physical trauma
If you suffer from a medical condition that triggers hair loss and erectile dysfunction, it may seem like one causes the other.
There are many links between hair loss and erectile dysfunction. The DHT link illustrates perfectly why it is so difficult to cure hair loss. Triggering a hormonal change here will cause an unintended effect there.
Still, medications like Propecia represent a relatively safe alternative to invasive surgery.
eDrugstore Has Your Back
eDrugstore can help with hair loss and erectile dysfunction. We can help you figure out whether Propecia is the right choice for your problem. You may not have to choose between your sexual health and healthy-looking hair. With the right approach, you may be able to have both. Call 1-800-467-5146 for a free medical consultation today.
James spent the better part of the last decade studying and writing about the physiology of sleep and its correlations with dreams. He studied various drugs, natural substances, and hallucinogens that can impact the intensity and frequency of dreams.
For two years, he busted dietary supplement scams, analyzing various performance-enhancing compounds, nootropics, etc.