Hair Loss Treatment Side Effects
Side effects of hair loss tablets
Finasteride is generally safe to take for hair loss, but it can still cause some side effects.
Uncommon side effects can include:
- low sex drive
- erectile dysfunction (ED)
- unusual weight gains or loss
- feelings of depression
- problems with ejaculation
Other side effects can include:
- allergic reactions such as hives and itching
- heart palpitations
- tender or swollen breasts and nipples
- discharge from the nipples
- lumps in the breast or underarm
- testicular pain
- blood in semen
- difficulties with erections or ejaculation, even after stopping medication
It is not known how often these other side effects occur. You must talk to a doctor right away if you notice a lump in your chest or breast. For a full list of side effects, see the leaflet that comes with your medication.
Some of these side effects may be temporary. They may be a result of the body adjusting to the treatment and will fade. Others may carry on even after you stop taking finasteride. If you are suffering side effects and want them to stop, your best option may be to stop taking finasteride. Note that this will cause your DHT levels to rise and you will start losing your hair again.
Side effects of hair loss shampoo
Minoxidil treatments can have side effects, usually due to irritation of the scalp, you may notice some redness, itching or flaking. Some men will notice hair shedding around 2-6 weeks after starting the treatment, this usually lasts for a couple of weeks but if it is continuing for more than 2 weeks, you should stop using the treatment.
If the Minoxidil treatment comes in contact with other areas of skin other than the scalp, you may notice hair growth in these areas. Be careful to apply the treatment only to the scalp.
Rare possible side effects include a drop in blood pressure. If you notice that you feel dizzy, lightheaded or you faint after using Minoxidil, you should stop using it. You should also stop the treatment if you notice any pain in your chest, feel your heart racing, notice swelling of your feet or hands, gain weight or if any irritation of the scalp does not get better. Speak to a doctor if any of this happens or if you notice any other new symptoms.
Other treatments for hair loss
These treatments have varying success and will not be right for everyone.
Laser therapy: For this treatment, infrared laser light is used to penetrate the scalp and stimulate blood flow and hair follicles. This is meant to cause the growth of new hair and discourage the build up of DHT.
Steroid injections: Injections and creams with steroids in them are also used to treat people with hair loss. This is often used where an autoimmune disease is causing hair loss. Autoimmune diseases cause the immune system to attack healthy tissues like hair follicles. Corticosteroids can be used to counteract this effect and allow hair to regrow. These steroids can be applied topically or injected into the scalp, or taken by mouth.
Wigs: This is another option that can simply cover up hair loss. In some cases, the cost may be covered by the NHS. Human hair wigs have a more natural feel and look, but are more expensive and last longer. Man-made wigs have a shorter life but are more affordable.
Cosmetic surgery: Hair transplants can treat hair loss in some cases. It involves moving hair from where it is full, to where there is balding or thinning. The procedure is normally done under local anaesthesia.
There are two variations to this procedure:
The Follicular Unit Transplantation (FUT): A narrow band of hair is taken from the rear of the head. The size of the strip depends on the number of follicles needed to be transplanted to balding areas. The strip is cut into smaller parts, with each one having about 1-4 hair follicles. They are then re-inserted to the balding area on the scalp. FUT is also known as the strip method.
Follicular Unit Extraction (FUE): Hair follicles are taken from the back of the head and reinserted in balding areas. This leaves many tiny scars at the back of the head, but is less painful and heals faster. The hair can also be taken from other parts of the body.
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