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What Is Male Pattern Baldness?

Male pattern baldness, also called androgenic alopecia, is the most common type of hair loss in men. Men with this condition can begin suffering hair loss as early as their teens or early 20s. It's characterized by a receding hairline and gradual disappearance of hair from the crown and frontal scalp.

The main cause of male pattern baldness is the conversion of Testosterone to a hormone called Dihydrotestosterone (DHT) via the enzyme 5-alpha-reductase. It’s this DHT that can shrink your hair follicles as well as shorten the hair growth cycle, causing the hair that grows out to look thinner and fall out faster. DHT can also make it take longer for your follicles to grow new hairs once the old hairs fall out.

Finasteride Is FDA Approved

Finasteride is an oral tablet, prescription medicine that is FDA approved to treat male pattern baldness. Finasteride belongs to a group of drugs called 5-alpha reductase inhibitors and works by blocking the conversion of testosterone to DHT by up to 70% and therefore lowers DHT levels in the body and at the scalp. Lowering DHT will allow your hair to start the process of growing back. Results will begin appearing after 3-4 months but significant results may not be apparent for 6-9 months after starting the medication.

Safety and Warnings

Patients who skip treatment days, weeks, or months may find that the medication does not work as effectively and does not produce the results they were expecting. As with any prescription medication you may experience side effects while taking finasteride. The most commonly reported side effects can include decreased sex drive, increase in breast size or tenderness, and skin rash.

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