Testosterone and Hair Loss in Men
Posted: May 23, 2023
For men experiencing the symptoms of low T, testosterone replacement therapy (TRT) can improve your quality of life. It can boost energy, aid in weight loss, and increase results from healthy exercise. However, like any prescription, there is always a slight possibility of side effects. One that could be a concern for some men is potential hair loss.
Testosterone itself does not lead to hair loss. In fact, the main factor that determines hair loss is genetics. For example, over 95% of hair loss in men is caused by androgenetic alopecia, which is entirely genetic. Additionally, some men’s genetic makeup makes them more sensitive to the effects of dihydrotestosterone (DHT), the key hormone that influences hair loss.
If you have genetics that make you more predisposed to hair loss, testosterone replacement therapy may potentially accelerate it. Fortunately, there are medication options available that can help manage this impact while still allowing you to reap the benefits of TRT in the other areas of your life.
TRT can reduce many of the risks associated with low T, which include serious health conditions such as obesity, diabetes, and even low bone mineral density. In addition, low T can impact your mental health with symptoms such as depression and anxiety. Testosterone replacement therapy can help improve your health and confidence. If you suspect you have low testosterone, book an assessment with one of our healthcare providers today.
How Your Hormones Can Affect Hair Growth
DHT is a byproduct of testosterone and is the hormone largely responsible for maintaining the growth of facial and body hair. Typically, approximately 10% of your testosterone could be converted to DHT. When DHT levels are high, it can link to more receptors on hair follicles in your scalp. This could potentially cause them to gradually shrink and become less capable of supporting a healthy head of hair, a process called hair follicle miniaturization. When follicle miniaturization occurs, follicles become physically smaller. This consequently causes new hairs to lose hair shaft thickness and grow in less effectively. As the hair continues to weaken, eventually it becomes incapable of penetrating through your scalp.
Hair follicles are tiny, tunnel-like structures located on your scalp, face, and body. The process of hair growing out through these follicles is referred to as the hair growth cycle. When DHT builds up in the hair follicles, it can disrupt the growth cycle by either shortening the growing phase or lengthening the resting phase.
Hair Growth Cycle
In this cycle, a hair passes through several specific stages, which include:
- Growing phase: Follicles push out hairs that will continue to grow until cut or until they reach the end of their lifespan and fall out. Around 90% of the hair on your head is in this stage, which lasts about three to five years.
- Transition phase: Over the course of around ten days, hair growth slows and the hair separates from the bottom of the hair follicle. However, it remains in place during its final days of growing. Approximately 5% of the hair on your head is in this stage.
- Resting phase: Hairs stay in place but don’t grow in this phase. Underneath the released hair, new hairs begin to form in the follicle. This stage lasts around three months and accounts for 10 to 15% of the hair on your head.
- Shedding phase: As hair is washed and brushed, you normally lose around 50 to 100 strands of old hair each day. It takes two to five months for hair at the end of its lifespan to fall out.
Research suggests that it’s actually your body’s sensitivity to the hormone, rather than the amount of DHT itself, that causes hair loss. Men who are genetically predisposed to androgenic alopecia have more sensitive protein receptors. This increased sensitivity means their follicles are more susceptible to the detrimental effects of DHT.
Effect of TRT on Men with Male Pattern Baldness
Testosterone does not affect your genetics, which determines your body’s receptivity to DHT and hair loss predispositions. Male pattern baldness, a type of androgenetic alopecia, is a common predisposition affecting more than 50 million men in the United States.
Progressive signs of male pattern baldness can include:
- Thinning temples
- Receding hairline
- Thinning on top of the head
- Widening part
- Thinning across the whole head
- Hair falling out in clumps
There is still uncertainty surrounding the impact of TRT on hair loss in men who are genetically predisposed to male pattern baldness. Several studies have attempted to investigate the potential link between TRT and hair loss in men with male pattern baldness, but the results have been inconclusive.
One cross-sectional study revealed no associations between testosterone and hair loss in men. Previous studies with smaller sample sizes yielded similar negative findings regarding premature balding in men. Thus, further research is required to determine the exact relationship between TRT and hair loss in men with male pattern baldness.
While some men may be concerned about the potential for hair loss associated with TRT, it’s important to note that this is only a potential risk based on your individual genetic predispositions. For most men, the overall benefits of TRT far outweigh any potential risks, making it an effective option for those looking to improve their overall health and well-being.
Medication Options Can Treat Hair Loss During TRT
If hair loss is a concern for you, there is good news. Various hair loss treatments are available for men who have a genetic predisposition to male pattern baldness or an increased sensitivity to DHT, and are experiencing increased hair loss during TRT. Some options help block DHT directly and others stimulate hair follicles to regrow.
Minoxidil, finasteride, and dutasteride are FDA-approved hair loss medications that help improve hair growth. Minoxidil is a topical solution that is applied to the scalp to help stimulate hair follicles to grow. Finasteride and dutasteride block the enzyme that converts testosterone to DHT.
One study showed that over 84% of men with male pattern baldness who consistently used a combination of these two medications maintained a good hair density. Other research shows that finasteride can reduce DHT production by 70-90%, while dutasteride can reduce it by up to 99%.
TRT can work in tandem with medication options that help limit hair loss and promote its growth, so you can still benefit from the many positive outcomes of TRT. However, before starting any treatment, it is important to consult with a healthcare professional to determine the best treatment options for your individual needs.
Treat Low Testosterone with Low T Center
Testosterone replacement therapy has helped countless men improve their lives and feel their best. With TRT, many men report feeling energized and motivated. It can benefit a wide range of health and wellness issues, ranging from increased muscle mass and bone density to an improved mood and sex drive. Our team at Low T Center provides professional consultations so you can discuss your options before embarking on any treatment.
Contact us today and give yourself the opportunity to reap the rewards of optimizing your testosterone levels.
Disclaimer: This article is made available for general, entertainment and educational purposes only. The opinions expressed herein do not necessarily reflect those of Low T Center. You should always seek the advice of a licensed healthcare professional.