May 25, 2014
The global statistics for male pattern baldness or hair loss are quite staggering and of course speak for themselves:
• 40% of men will have noticeable hair loss by age 35.
• 60% of men will have noticeable hair loss by age 60.
• 70% of men will have noticeable hair loss by age 80.
• The hair transplant business in America is worth $ 1.3 billion annually.
• In 2010 worldwide 279,381 men had surgical hair transplants.
So what does all this tell you? It should tell you quite simply that male pattern baldness is a normal age related phenomena. It should tell you that it is not a disease or a condition that requires medical treatment. That said, it also shows that there are an awful lot of men out there who simply do not accept this testosterone and age related natural phenomena. And equally, there are plenty of doctors out there who are only all too ready to exploit this weakness in men’s self-image and confidence. It is a major medical industry and a shady one at that.
Self Confidence. An inability to accept yourself as you are reflects a lack of self confidence or self esteemed. It comes from within not from without. As Eleanor Roosevelt so wisely pointed out: “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.” When I see a bald man walk into a room I see self confidence and someone to be admired. When I see a man walk into a room wearing an ill-fitting toupee I see weakness and I feel sorry for him. When I think of baldness I think of Telly Savalas, Yul Brynner and Mahatme Gandhi all men of great confidence and distinction. Yet others, when they see their advancing baldness reflecting back at them in the mirror seem to see something entirely different.
It has long being my contention and remains so, that if one lacks self confidence and this loss of self esteem relates to loss of hair, then such an individual might consider seeing a Psychotherapist skilled in helping people to see their real worth and value. Such a course of action would surely be less expensive and risky that a hair transplant or taking Finasteride.
Treatments for Male Pattern Baldness. I am not going to say anything about the “treatment” of a non-disease. Nor do I wish to swell the ranks of my shady colleagues who make very good livings from exploiting men’s weakness about the natural phenomena that is MPB. However, I have to say something about Propecia or Finasteride because it impinges on my daily life as a doctor interested in Sexual Dysfunctions.
Propecia, Proscar or Finasteride. This drug was designed and licensed to treat Benign Prostate Hyperplasia and to slow down the progress of metastatic prostate cancer. Its action is to block the conversion of Testosterone into Dihydrotestosterone (DHT) which is the potent active form of this androgen or sex hormone. In a word, Finasteride renders testosterone useless. It can’t act on the hair follicles and thus slows down the balding process. But it may do so at a hideous cost to the man taking it.
The sexual side-effects of Finasteride. The sexual side-effects of Finasteride may appear while the man is taking it or, more usually, when he stops taking it. To say that these side-effects go away when the man stops taking Finasteride is a lie peddled by those making a fortune in prescribing it. The sexual side-effects of Finasteride remain on indefinitely and there is, as yet, no cure or proper understanding of them. Symptoms of Post Propecia Syndrome vary a lot from victim to victim but the chief ones would be:
• Total loss of libido or sex drive.
• Loss of nocturnal or spontaneous erections.
• Penile numbness.
• Testicular atrophy.
• Erectile dysfunction.
• Sexual Adhedonia or the inability to experience any pleasure from sexual stimulation or ejaculation.
• Insomnia, anxiety, brain fog and depression leading to suicide.
• Urinary frequency disturbing night’s sleep.
What percent of men taking Finasteride develop Post Propecia Syndrome? As yet we do not have accurate figures for this question. It could be as high as 2% but does that matter? If only one man in a thousand developed this horrible, hideous life sapping disease then that, in my opinion would be one too many.
I beg you please, please please. Never ever take Finasteride as a “treatment” for male pattern baldness. The price could literally cost you your life.