18 votes

I've been on the hair loss drug Dutasteride for two years now. AMA.

I'll start this post off by summarizing my hair loss experience.

When I was 18, a few months shy of 19, I went to the barber and there was a miscommunication and the barber ended up buzzing my hair off. This is the first time that I was able to see my hairline in a while and I saw that it was higher than I remembered. I was scared at first, I couldn't believe that my hairline was receding. But then I read a few things figures maybe it was just maturing, and then I eventually forgot. Actually a few months later I was back thinking to whether I was losing my hair or not. I talked to a cousin of mine and he said something about a pill that he was taking but that it had a possible side effect of erectile dysfunction. I wasn't going to take a chance on that when I wasn't even sure if I was actually balding.

The next year and a half, I stop thinking about hair loss. It's like I had my memory wiped of that moment, probably due to stress from school. The only thing that happened is that I thought to myself was "man my hair is kind of weird right now." And also I had developed a scalp issue, which I later found out was psoriasis also due to stress.

So, right before the pandemic hits in February 2020, me and my dad go have lunch at this restaurant. I take a shower and go out. My hair is still wet by the time we go to the restaurant. My dad looks up at my hair and asks "are you losing your hair?" And that's when I realized that I was indeed going bald. For the next three months, I was going through all the stages of grief. I was wildly depressed and anxious. I did some research into possible treatments. It took me a while to learn (or re-learn) about the pill known as finasteride. I then find out about a website where you can buy prescription meds without a prescription shipped over from India so I buy finasteride from there and I started treatment on May 1st 2020. I was 20 years old. I then go to the dermatologist two months later and they prescribe me Dutasteride which I have been on ever since.

My initial side effect on the drug was watery semen, which cleared up a few weeks after starting the drug. My hair has re-grown a lot. It's back to it's original thickness, and my hairline has made a rather substantial comeback. It's not all back, but enough to the point where the average person wouldn't know I'm balding anymore.

Let me know if you have any questions. I would love to post pictures, but I rather not if that's okay with everyone.

16 comments

  1. grahamiam
    Link
    Hey, I have a related recent story too! I got a small bald/thinning spot at the crown of my head after taking Accutane for a year at 16. It never got bigger and I have no family members who are...

    Hey, I have a related recent story too! I got a small bald/thinning spot at the crown of my head after taking Accutane for a year at 16. It never got bigger and I have no family members who are bald, and it was small enough I was never concerned, so I didn't worry about it. Fast forward almost 20 years in my late 30s, my wife had a problem with a zinc deficiency which caused some hair loss. She was prescribed Minoxidil, but quickly recovered from the hair loss once she got her zinc under control, so we had an almost full bottle of the medicine. I had always assumed, but never looked it up, that Rogaine and the like were specifically for genetic baldness, but after researching, it turns out genetic baldness is one of the things it works the least on.

    Anyways, I've been applying it for about three months, and the spot is actually improving to my surprise. So if you have a similar experience, give it a try.

    4 votes
  2. [3]
    mtset
    Link
    Thank you for sharing your experience! As a side note, as a trans woman I find it very interesting how many men go on finasteride and derivatives. It's not on-label for either feminization or hair...

    Thank you for sharing your experience! As a side note, as a trans woman I find it very interesting how many men go on finasteride and derivatives. It's not on-label for either feminization or hair loss prevention (it is a prostate hyperplasia drug), and while it's widely used for both worldwide, it's only used for the latter in the US. For feminization, US providers generally prescribe spirinolactone, which has more side effects.

    4 votes
    1. [2]
      cloud_loud
      Link Parent
      Finasteride is FDA approved for hair loss. Just at a smaller dose than for the prostate. Funny you bring Spiro up because that’s also often prescribed to women dealing with genetic hair loss.

      Finasteride is FDA approved for hair loss. Just at a smaller dose than for the prostate. Funny you bring Spiro up because that’s also often prescribed to women dealing with genetic hair loss.

      2 votes
      1. mtset
        Link Parent
        Oh, interesting! It's odd that the 1mg and 5mg approvals aren't listed together; I wonder why that is?

        Oh, interesting! It's odd that the 1mg and 5mg approvals aren't listed together; I wonder why that is?

        2 votes
  3. [7]
    krg
    Link
    Do you think you'd ever accept yourself as a balding/bald person at some point?

    Do you think you'd ever accept yourself as a balding/bald person at some point?

    3 votes
    1. [6]
      cloud_loud
      Link Parent
      I'll be honest and say probably not. I never thought I would go bald. My father is in his 50s and he has zero signs of hair loss. Both of my grandpas still had pretty good heads of hairs at the...

      I'll be honest and say probably not. I never thought I would go bald. My father is in his 50s and he has zero signs of hair loss. Both of my grandpas still had pretty good heads of hairs at the ends of their lives. It was never a thing I imagined myself living with.

      Maybe by the time I get to like 60 I'll accept it. But even men in their 60s end up getting hair transplants or wear wigs. I listened to an interview with Noel Gallagher who said his biggest fear was losing his hair, and it was a recent interview. So I don't think that fear ever goes away in some guys, me included.

      4 votes
      1. [3]
        blitz
        Link Parent
        I feel like this is pretty common knowledge by now but it's a cool fact: Male-pattern baldness is coded for on the X chromosome, which as a man you only get one copy of and it's from your mother...

        My father is in his 50s and he has zero signs of hair loss.

        I feel like this is pretty common knowledge by now but it's a cool fact: Male-pattern baldness is coded for on the X chromosome, which as a man you only get one copy of and it's from your mother (you get your father's Y chromosome), who got one of her two copies from your grandfather. It's therefore your mothers father you have to look to if you're worried about going bald; there is no connection between a man's father's baldness and his baldness.

        4 votes
        1. [2]
          cloud_loud
          (edited )
          Link Parent
          From everything I read and seen that’s not entirely accurate. Either way, like I said my maternal grandpa wasn’t bald either. The one that did deal with hairloss however was my grandmother. The...

          From everything I read and seen that’s not entirely accurate. Either way, like I said my maternal grandpa wasn’t bald either. The one that did deal with hairloss however was my grandmother. The only other one in my family that deals with genetic hair loss is one of my aunts.

          If one of your parents deals with hair loss that instantly increases your chances of dealing hair loss as well. So if your father is bald there’s a higher chance that you’ll be bald.

          4 votes
          1. blitz
            Link Parent
            Interesting! Thanks for the info!

            Interesting! Thanks for the info!

      2. [2]
        teaearlgraycold
        Link Parent
        I’m balding at 26. No plans to try and counter-act it. At some point I’ll just keep it shaved or nearly-shaved.

        I’m balding at 26. No plans to try and counter-act it. At some point I’ll just keep it shaved or nearly-shaved.

        2 votes
        1. cloud_loud
          Link Parent
          That's great. I actually shaved my head a little bit before I got on the pill. I hated the way I looked with my lumpy head exposed like that. It felt great though, the sunlight hitting my scalp...

          That's great. I actually shaved my head a little bit before I got on the pill. I hated the way I looked with my lumpy head exposed like that. It felt great though, the sunlight hitting my scalp helped with the psoriasis a lot. It's also how I learned that I didn't just have a receding hairline, but I was also diffuse thinning.

          3 votes
  4. [3]
    Greg
    Link
    Do you notice it having any impact on your mood or libido? That’d always be my worry for any kind of hormonal medication, which I also feel like might end up being a self-fulfilling prophecy! Was...

    Do you notice it having any impact on your mood or libido? That’d always be my worry for any kind of hormonal medication, which I also feel like might end up being a self-fulfilling prophecy!

    Was there a specific reason for the switch from finasteride to dutasteride? I’d only previously heard of the former, so I’d be interested to know how they differ.

    3 votes
    1. [2]
      cloud_loud
      Link Parent
      I was pretty worried about side effects that could affect my mood. One of the possible side effects of the medication is increased depression. I screened positive for depression a while ago, so I...

      Do you notice it having any impact on your mood or libido?

      I was pretty worried about side effects that could affect my mood. One of the possible side effects of the medication is increased depression. I screened positive for depression a while ago, so I was a bit worried about that. It didn’t make my depression worse, thankfully. Actually, in fact, I would say it helped a lot with my anxiety. Because I was so anxious about losing my hair the pill acted like anti-anxiety medication. The comfort of knowing that I was dealing with that helped me a lot, it made me able to move on from this problem that wouldn’t leave my mind.

      As for libido, I actually experienced an increase in the first few months on the medication. The pill blocks the formation of DHT, and when you stop producing that in order to compensate your body produces more T. So that increased my sex drive by a lot.

      Was there a specific reason for the switch from finasteride to dutasteride?

      I initially knew the difference between the drugs. Dutasteride is a stronger version of the treatment. Finasteride blocks about 70ish percent of DHT and Dutasteride blocks about 90ish percent of DHT. I know that many doctors in other countries prescribe Dutasteride primarily now as opposed to Finasteride. The doctor I got said “it’s more effective but with less side effects.”

      Whether or not it grew my hair more than just finasteride, I don’t know. But I think I’m a good responder to the treatment in general.

      4 votes
      1. Greg
        Link Parent
        That’s all really good to hear - thanks for taking the time to explain!

        That’s all really good to hear - thanks for taking the time to explain!

        1 vote
  5. [2]
    bub
    Link
    I was balding at 18, and I just gave up on it shortly after. I shaved my head before college and I've kept it that way ever since. No medication, topical or otherwise, seemed to have any effect on...

    I was balding at 18, and I just gave up on it shortly after. I shaved my head before college and I've kept it that way ever since.

    No medication, topical or otherwise, seemed to have any effect on the march of baldness, so I was left with the conclusion that there was no real effective treatment for male pattern baldness.

    So I'm actually pleasantly surprised to hear you've seen any positive effect from drugs whatsoever.

    I guess I've been trying to maintain an attitude similar to what Gene Roddenberry described when asked about Captain Picard's baldness. Some reporter said to Roddenberry "Surely they would have cured baldness by the 24th century," and Roddenberry said "In the 24th century, they wouldn't care."

    I can't pretend I've always managed not to care, but it's how I want to feel about it.

    3 votes
    1. cloud_loud
      Link Parent
      Just out of curiosity, when did this happen. What medications did you try, how long did you try them for?

      Just out of curiosity, when did this happen. What medications did you try, how long did you try them for?

      2 votes