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Can A Hair Loss Treatment Ruin Your Sex Life?

By: Prof (Dr) Saransh Jain

Last Updated: August 13, 2022, 16:00 IST

New Delhi, India

Male sex hormones, or androgens, are a major contributing factor that overlaps between sexual health and hair loss. DHT, the major hormone that causes male pattern baldness, is created as a bi-product of the primary male sex hormone testosterone. (Shutterstock)

Male sex hormones, or androgens, are a major contributing factor that overlaps between sexual health and hair loss. DHT, the major hormone that causes male pattern baldness, is created as a bi-product of the primary male sex hormone testosterone. (Shutterstock)

One of the most effective hair loss treatments available is finasteride, a medication that reduces your body’s production of dihydrotestosterone, or DHT

Let's Talk Sex Sex may permeate our popular culture, but conversations about it are still associated with stigma and shame in Indian households. As a result, most individuals dealing with sexual health issues or trying to find information about sex often resort to unverified online sources or follow the unscientific advice of their friends.

To address the widespread misinformation about sex, News18.com is running this weekly sex column, titled ‘Let’s Talk Sex’. We hope to initiate conversations about sex through this column and address sexual health issues with scientific insight and nuance.

The column is written by sexologist Prof (Dr) Saransh Jain. In this article, Dr Jain will explain how hair loss treatment can affect your sex life and what are other available treatment options.

Hair loss is typically considered as the domain of aging men, but this equal-opportunity condition has many causes and can happen to anyone. As a man, your sexual performance is a matter of pride, so is your appearance. Your hair is an important part of your identity and your hairstyle is a testament to your personality. Assuming you were forced to make a choice between losing your hair or losing your sexual stamina, which do you think you would choose?

Unfortunately, many men do not have a choice; instead, it is a punch to their ego that they’re forced to struggle with on a daily basis. The good news is that hair loss from male pattern baldness is almost always treatable. In fact, if you take action quickly, it’s often possible to prevent any further hair loss and even regrow some or all of the hair in areas of your scalp affected by hair loss.

One of the most effective hair loss treatments available is finasteride, a medication that reduces your body’s production of dihydrotestosterone, or DHT.

What is Finasteride?

Finasteride belongs to a category of drugs called 5α-reductase inhibitors. It works by binding to the 5α-reductase enzyme and blocking the enzyme from converting your testosterone into DHT. DHT, or dihydrotestosterone, is an androgen produced as a bi-product of testosterone.

DHT is a fairly powerful male sex hormone that’s responsible for things like forming male genitalia during pregnancy. The best way to think of finasteride is as a hormonal shield that keeps your testosterone the way it originally was, all while stopping DHT production.

How are Finasteride and Sexual Performance linked?

Sexual Performance and hair loss don’t seem to be directly related. However, there are some factors that may contribute to hair loss may have a positive effect on your erections and sexual performance.

Male sex hormones, or androgens, are a major contributing factor that overlaps between sexual health and hair loss. DHT, the major hormone that causes male pattern baldness, is created as a bi-product of the primary male sex hormone testosterone.

Although high levels of testosterone (and thus DHT) usually aren’t good for your hairline, but at the same time, healthy testosterone levels are important for proper sexual desire and function.

How Does Finasteride lower down your Sexual Performance?

Since, DHT blockers like finasteride prevent the conversion of testosterone to DHT, they can cause a slight increase in your testosterone production, which may result in a noticeably reduced interest in sex.

Just like reduced sex drive, some people also have also reported erection issues due to the lower level of DHT. Therefore, from a hormonal perspective, one of the main culprits behind hair loss is required for maintaining a healthy sex drive and strong erections.

Potential side effects of finasteride which can lower down your sexual desires:

• Decreased libido

• Inability to get or maintain an erection (erectile dysfunction)

• Pain or discomfort that affects the testicles

• Ejaculation disorders or problems, such as decreased ejaculatory volume

• Changes in mood or depression

Should You Take Hair-loss Treatment?

Whether or not to take them is ultimately your choice. What’s clear is that the earlier you start to treat your hair loss, the more successful you’ll be in preventing further hair loss. Some other Hair Loss Treatment options are also available to help slow down and treat hair loss.

Over the Counter Products: Numerous supplements and non-pharmaceutical products are available to help slow down and treat hair loss. These supplements aren’t as effective like finasteride, but they can be a helpful part of your baldness prevention routine.

Hair thickening shampoo: There are countless hair thickening shampoos on the market. Look for shampoos that contain proven ingredients like biotin, ketoconazole and saw palmetto, all of which have real benefits for your hair.

Hair transplantation surgery: Hair transplant surgery is a medical treatment that involves transplanting hairs from the back and sides of your head (areas that aren’t affected by male pattern baldness) onto your crown, hairline or other areas with hair loss.

Scalp micropigmentation: Scalp micropigmentation is a cosmetic procedure that can change the pigment of your scalp, creating the appearance of small, short hairs and a fuller head of hair.

Hairpieces: While they won’t help you grow back any real hair, hairpieces and weaves can produce surprisingly good results if you need to fill in thin spots and cover up your hair loss for an important event.

Acceptance: If your hair loss is severe and you’re not interested in treating it, you can simply accept it. Whether you choose to shave your head or keep your remaining hair cut short, rocking the bald look can be a great option if you’ve got the confidence.

If you’re starting to notice that your hair loss treatment drugs that block DHT is affecting your sex life, then consult your doctor.

Prof (Dr) Saransh Jain is the winner of the Swasth Bharat Rattan Award and is a Certified and Licensed Sexologist by the American Board of Sexology. He is currently a Senior Consultant at Dr SK Jain’s Burlington Clinic in Lucknow.

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first published:August 13, 2022, 16:00 IST
last updated:August 13, 2022, 16:00 IST