Dermatology/Testosterone

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QUESTION: Does having higher testosterone production increase male pattern baldness or does it have no real effect? I am balding but am worried my energy and libido might be too low. I'm assuming maybe testosterone itself maybe promotes hair regrowth while DHT causes harm to the process and the two remain in similar proportions?

ANSWER:
Researchers are zeroing in on a new potential cause of male pattern baldness, and their discovery may pave the way toward more effective and targeted treatments.

Male pattern baldness affects 80% of men younger than age 70. It occurs when hair follicles shrink, and grow tiny hairs that are only viable for short periods of time.

According to the study, bald men tend to have an abnormal amount of a protein called prostaglandin D2 on their scalps. This protein and its derivatives block hair growth.

The findings appear in Science Translational Medicine.

“We have really identified a factor that is way out of whack by actually studying the disorder,” says George Cotsarelis, MD. He is a chair and professor of dermatology at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. “If you look at all the treatments for male pattern baldness, they were all discovered through [chance].”

For example, one of the current treatments for baldness, minoxidil (most commonly known as Rogaine), was originally developed as a treatment for high blood pressure.

This time, researchers got to the root of the problem. “We looked directly at men who were balding and found an abundance of these proteins,” he says.


Drugs that inhibit the action of prostaglandin D2 should delay male pattern baldness. “This should work in all men who have male pattern baldness,” The new findings are likely to apply to women, too.

Some companies are already developing such compounds, in one case for asthma. “It shouldn’t take too long,” he says.


As it stands, the only treatments for male pattern baldness are:

Minoxidil (Rogaine). A liquid or foam that is applied to the scalp to slow the progression of hair loss and stimulate some hair regrowth.

Propecia. A prescription pill, originally developed to treat enlarged prostate glands, that is part of a class of medications called 5-alpha reductase inhibitors. They block the conversion of the male hormone testosterone into dihydrotestosterone (DHT), a hormone that shrinks hair follicles.

Hair transplants.

Low-energy lasers that may stimulate hair

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QUESTION: My question was would an increase in testosterone cause more hair loss or have no effect? I assume DHT is the inital cause of hair loss? I've already tried Rogaine and had suicidal thoughts soon after starting Propecia. As far as complete hair recovery I was looking to the distance future when they understand stem cells better. But for now I just want to know if increasing testosterone for libido and energy would speed up hair loss?

ANSWER: Hair loss in men and hormones are closely related. Men go through a similar decline and shift in hormones that women go through during menopause, for men, it's called andropause, also known as "the male menopause." Hormones regulated nearly every function in the body, including hair growth. Fluctuating levels of testosterone resulting from stress and poor diet can impact the body's ability to regenerate hair follicles. The relationship between testosterone and hair loss is due to dihydrotestosterone (DHT), a derivative of testosterone. DHT can cause hair follicles to regress and die, resulting in premature balding. Specifically, DHT shortens the growth cycle of your hair and increases the resting cycle. So, over time, hair in these locations grows less and becomes shorter until it simply does not grow anymore. Genes can make certain hair follicles (usually in the front and crown of the head) especially sensitive to this hormone. Furthermore, excess levels of testosterone often result in higher levels of the DHT and hence the greater likelihood of hair loss or baldness. DHT is also partly responsible for adolescent and adult acne in men and for prostate enlargement in older men.
Thus the answer is yes. Increase in testosterone can cause hair loss.

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QUESTION: You say it "can" but might not? I am only 32 and am not sure if that means I'd be going through male menopause yet. I just wasn't sure if testosterone that goes unchanged might increase hair growth at the same rates as HDT decreases it so ultimately their is no effect? I am seriously thinking of taking suppliments thought to increase body production of testosterone naturally.

Answer
Men who take testosterone should know the symptoms of an allergic reaction. These include hives, rash, itching, chest tightness and trouble breathing, swelling of the face or tongue, swelling of the legs or ankles, weight gain, breast growth, pain in the breasts, changes in the shape or size of the testicles, light-colored bowel movements, dark urine, urinary changes, loss of appetite, nausea, painful erections, prolonged erections, stomach pain, mood and memory changes, fatigue and yellowing skin and eyes.

Testosterone Cypionate Side Effects
Men taking testosterone cypionate may experience acne eruptions, changes in their sex drive, hair loss, headaches and a bitter taste in the mouth. Oral problems may also arise. These include gum swelling, tender gums and gum pain.  

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Michael S. Fisher, <B>Ph.D., M.D.</B>

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