DHT blockers and inhibitors are popular options when looking to prevent hair loss and male pattern baldness. However, there are many DHT blocker side effects that you should know about before you start using them for hair loss treatment. Some DHT blockers are approved by the FDA but they also have a myriad of adverse symptoms. Here’s a quick overview of DHT blockers, examples, and side effects.
What are DHT blockers?
Before looking at DHT blocker side effects, it is important to know what they are and how they work. DHT (dihydrotestosterone) is a molecule formed from the conversion of testosterone. It occurs naturally in men and women of all ages, more in men since males have more testosterone levels. About 5% of testosterone is converted to DHT, facilitated by the enzyme 5-alpha-reductase (5AR). DHT attaches to the 5AR receptors in hair follicles and other places and is known to shrink the follicles, causing baldness. A DHT blocker prevents existing DHT from binding to the 5AR receptors. Most hair loss treatments are DHT blockers, although you can also find inhibitors, which hinder the natural production of DHT in the body.
Are DHT Blockers Effective?
DHT blockers prevent the molecules from attaching to receptors in the hair follicles, thus preventing male pattern baldness. Women can also use DHT blockers, but the medications aren’t recommended for pregnant and nursing mothers. There are many popular DHT blockers in the market, including Propecia, Proscar, Biotin, and Pygeum bark. All of them are FDA-approved and have been shown to help reduce hair loss and promote hair growth. However, patients suffering from androgenic alopecia (hair loss) will continue to lose hair as soon as they stop using DHT blockers. Natural DHT blockers also exist, although most have limited studies to support their efficacy.
DHT Blocker Side Effects
Although pills and hair loss medication are effective, they carry an extensive profile of DHT blocker side effects. Having high or low DHT levels will result in various symptoms. Here are some of the common DHT blocker side effects:
- Stomach upset and diarrhea
- Nausea and vomiting
- Erectile dysfunction
- Premature or delayed ejaculation
- Gynecomastia (excess fat around the breast area)
- Thickening and darkening for upper body hair, including facial hair
- Prostate cancer
- Water retention and congestive heart failure
DHT blockers have also recorded some rare instances of liver damage, pancreatitis, bleeding in the brain, and even death.
There are many DHT blockers and options available for those looking to prevent hair loss. Pills and medication are only one category. Those suffering from androgenic alopecia can use DHT blocker foods, herbs, essential oils, diets, exercise, massage, ayurvedic treatments, and more. Each option comes with unique limitations and drawbacks. For instance, DHT blocker ingredients, such as saw palmetto, and foods have hardly been studied clinically. Most studies are preclinical and done using animals or inside test tubes. The pills and medications have been researched and shown to be effective. Unfortunately, there adverse DHT blocker side effects make it is essential to consult your doctor before using them. There are many treatments for hair loss, including hairpieces and extensions.