It is one of the ironies of life that in a bid to address one problem we often create another – medications and unwanted side effects seem to go hand in hand. It is the same with some hair loss treatments and sexual dysfunction. On the one hand men want to prevent hair loss and maintain their appearance of youthful vitality by retaining a head full of hair, but as a result of this they risk the problem of erectile dysfunction as well as other problems.
The commonly used synthetic anti androgen called Finasteride marketed under brand names Propecia and Proscar, which is used as a baldness cure to treat male pattern baldness is observed to have certain such side effects.
To an extent finasteride is seen to be an effective baldness treatment, and clinical studies have shown that it can make a palpable difference in terms of preventing hair loss and also re growing hair. However these hair loss treatments have also been seen to produce the following side effects:
Erectile Dysfunction – One of the known side effects of this baldness cure is that of decreased sex drive or libido. Men find that they have problems with erectile dysfunction with this drug which is something that the manufacturers also admit to and say that these problematic effects of their drug wear off when one stops taking the medication. What has been seen actually is that the erectile dysfunction often persists beyond that period; even after men stop using the drug.
Increased Risk of Prostate Cancer – Finasteride is known to increase risk of high grade prostate cancer; but different studies have indicated different findings on the point. This drug can also have a seemingly opposite effect on prostate tumors as well: that this drug could actually reduce the growth of benign prostate tumors, and could also at the same time increase risk of prostate cancer since it could mask the early detection of this common cancer type.
Increased Risk of Male Breast Cancer – Overall risk of male breast cancer when taking finasteride was not seen to increase significantly in trials, however clinicians do not rule out the possible negative impact of this cure for baldness on increased risk of male breast cancer.
Threat to Pregnancy – Finasteride is also used as a baldness cure by women; however this is specifically not indicated when a woman is pregnant. This is because finasteride is known to cause birth defects in the baby if used by a woman during her pregnancy. It is also unsuitable for breastfeeding or lactating women since it is known to pass on to the baby though breast milk. And since the medication can be absorbed through the skin as well, pregnant or lactating women are advised to not even handle the drug.
Considering the many possible side effects of the so called cure for baldness anyone would be well advised to take a call on their use only after careful consideration. Weigh the possible benefits with the possible side effects to see if their use is worth its while.