Propecia Review: Benefits and Side-Effects of Finasteride

Guest post by Neil Hughes

I remember always having quite thick hair as a child, and even as a teenager. My friends would often make fun of me for having such bushy, thick locks. At the time I thought it was a bit of a curse, but now I realise just how lucky I actually was!

My thick locks continued well into my twenties, and I was always very content with my hair.  It was never an issue, because it always seemed to be healthy and full. I always had compliments on my hair from girls on night outs, which was great for my ego and self-confidence.

However, I started noticing changes in my hair as I approached my mid twenties. It was a gradual process, but it felt so sudden. I hadn't had any problems with my hair before, in fact it was always the opposite, but suddenly my locks were getting thinner, and there seemed little I could actually do about it.

Losing your hair at such a young age really is a terrifying process. It was confusing, and I felt completely frustrated by the fact there was nothing I could do to fix the problem.  I felt like I had lost control of something that was so important to me.

Taking Propecia (Finasteride) for baldness

I have always been a problem solver by nature, and so my first reaction was to try and find a solution for my hair loss.  After doing some research online, I came across the medically approved treatment pill for male baldness, Propecia.

Finasteride, labelled as Propecia here in the UK, is a prescription drug that can help reverse the pattern of baldness in men suffering from early stages of hair loss. I went to the doctor to get the prescription, and at £35 per month, I was ready to go.

I was aware of the potential side-effects that are associated with Propecia, so I won't lie, yes, I was a little concerned about taking this pill. The thing is, I was in such a state of worry and panic over my hair, that I think it clouded my judgement on most things, including the risks of taking Propecia.

Does Propecia work?

Providing I didn't suffer any major side-effects, I was determined to give Propecia a fair trial, so, I took the pill continuously for about 18 months.  In that time I experienced the following results:

Positive results:
  • Slight stoppage of hair loss
  • Improved thickness of strands
Negative results:
  • Frequent headaches
  • Low sex drive
  • Skin problems
To be fair, after the first couple of months of using Propecia, I did notice the thinning slow down slightly, and my hair did appear to look and feel slightly thicker.  Luckily I tackled hair loss at its earliest stages, so I feel this had a lot to do with how effective the treatment was initially.

Then, after the first two or three months, my hair started gradually thinning again, which kind of took me back to square one. I went to see my doctor about this, and he told me it was perfectly normal to experience excess shedding phases during the treatment plan.

The doctor was right to some degree, because my shedding did slow down shortly after that, but my hair never seemed to look or feel as thick, which concerned me. I was growing more and more frustrated with the whole situation, but I decided to plod on and continue taking the pill, for lack of a better option.

What are the negative side-effects of Propecia? 

Unfortunately, I did experience some negative side-effects from using Propecia. I always tell myself that it could have been much worse, but even so, the negative side-effects were there, and they weren't very pleasant.

My facial skin went through the most noticeable changes during my time on the pill, with constant spells of acne and skin rash. The doctor said it was unfortunate, but not uncommon.  There really wasn't much I could do about it, so it did leave me very frustrated.

I think the skin problems just added to the stress of the whole situation, which was what probably led to my constant headaches.  Stress is actually one of the most common causes of baldness, so all these factors really weren't helping my cause.

Before taking Propecia, I was particularly worried about erectile dysfunction. It seems to be quite a common side-effect in men who are taking the pill, but my doctor told me there was a less than 10% chance of this occurring.

I am pleased to report that I did not suffer from any major forms of erectile dysfunction, however, my sex drive definitely took a hit during that 18 months of using Propecia.  I was less interested in anything sexual, which was unusual for me, being a young man with a normally strong sex drive.

What did I stop taking Propecia?  

I think, with all the problems I was having with my skin, my headaches, and my disinterest in sex, I did start to question why I was still taking these pills.  A big part of me was still hoping that Propecia would work and solve all my problems, but the reality was quite clear: It was giving me a growing list of negative side-effects, and it wasn't even doing anything positive for my hair!

I got to the point where I was throwing money at the treatment, and it wasn't even producing noticeable results. If anything, Propecia was just a hindrance to me and on my life. So, I decided to stop taking the pills, and try to find a different solution for my baldness.

What are the alternatives to Propecia? 

Finding a safe and natural alternative to something that is medically approved isn't an easy task. I did try another medically approved treatment, Minoxidil, for a while, but that just seemed to make my hair shed even more aggressively, which I found totally confusing.

I started looking into multi-vitamin hair supplements - naturally formulated, and safe from major negative side-effects. The problem is, there are quite a few out there, so I had to establish which one would be most effective for me.

After considering Viviscal, Nutrafol, and Procerin, I finally settled on HR23+.  HR23+ is a potent, yet safe, multi-vitamin supplement packed with 23 key ingredients for optimal hair health. It is designed to help prevent the effects of early stages of baldness in men and women.

I purchased three bottles of HR23+ hair health supplement, and nearly two years later I continue to use this product.  HR23+ has helped slow down the hair fall to the point where I do not even lose hair any more. My hair is much thicker, and I have not experienced any negative side-effects whatsoever.  I would highly recommend this product, especially if you are at the early stages of hair loss and you want something that is safe and effective

Summary of Propecia

My experience with Propecia may not seem like a disaster from your point of view, but it certainly felt like one to me. After a relatively promising start, it all went a bit down hill after the second month, and I eventually found myself back to square one, but with even less hair than when I started the treatment.

It should be noted that results will vary with each individual, so something that didn't quite work for me, may have better results on the next person. The same goes for any hair loss treatment on the market.  Until we find a cure for baldness, results will always vary.

The truth is, Propecia can help many men with baldness, and in some cases it works very well, however, we should also remember that this is a chemically based drug that alters testosterone levels, and so it will always come with the risk of negative side-effects.

If you are considering trying Propecia than be sure to do your research. Don't let your emotions get the better of you, because your health should always come first. Always seek safe alternatives - there are plenty of decent products out there - and granted, some won't work, but some are effective, and so it's just a case of finding the ones that work for you individually. 

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