Friday, 27 August 2010

Three months on finasteride

    It's about three months ago that I asked my doctor for a finasteride prescription to help me hang on to my hair. Not for reasons of vanity, purely because it occurred to me that someone in my position would be well advised to hang on to what they have. This post is simply to record my experience in case any readers are considering the same, both in terms of whether the drug has had any effect and how any side-effects have manifested themselves. Nothing to see here unless you're in to the boring minutiae of hair loss medication.
    Finasteride comes in two doses, 5mg and 1mg. The 5mg dose is given to patients with prostate problems while the 1mg dose is for treating hair loss. My NHS doctor is unable to prescribe the 1mg dose as it is too expensive for NHS budgets, so he gave me a prescription for the 5mg tablets and instructed me to buy a pill cutter. I cut each pill into quarters and take a quarter each day for four days before taking nothing on the fifth day and then repeating the cycle. I have to be very careful to keep any particles of the broken pills from getting anywhere near my wife, as were she to become pregnant there is a risk it can cause birth defects in male children.
    Finasteride has several side-effects, as this quick cut-and-paste from Wikipedia describes:
Side effects of finasteride include impotence (1.1% to 18.5%), abnormal ejaculation (7.2%), decreased ejaculatory volume (0.9% to 2.8%), abnormal sexual function (2.5%), gynecomastia (2.2%), erectile dysfunction (1.3%), ejaculation disorder (1.2%) and testicular pain.
    So which of those have I had? To be honest, I'd have to say none of them, at least not as described there. I have noticed a reduction in unwanted arousal, that's about it. As someone with a brain from the girl parts bin I find that particular side-effect to be welcome, lessening as it does the intrusion of blokedom when I don't want it. And no gynaecomastia. How sad, to think there will be patients seeing that effect who are all bloke and hate it, while I who wouldn't mind it am steadfastly flat-chested.
    How about the hair? I should have had a tattooist inscribe a ruler on my scalp so I could chart any hairline movement. Sadly though I didn't, so I have no idea whether I've advanced, receded or stayed still. But that's not really the point. I asked for finasteride because I could see hairs every day on my desk at work. Not huge numbers of them, but more than I used to see when I was younger and their numbers were increasing. In the last few months I am pleased to say this is no longer happening. I no longer have to worry whether my desk is covered in hairs before someone comes over for me to show them something.
     In conclusion, I think it was worth asking my doctor for this prescription. It won't give me significantly more hair and anyway having a bloke life to maintain I'm  keeping it to a buzz-cut, but I'm seeing evidence that it's reversed any decline I had. The funny thing is that as a bloke I have no problem with hair loss - after all, look at Patrick Stewart! - but as a girl I recognise that it's possible I could find myself very glad at some point in the future that I took some steps now to hang on to my hair. If I reach that position I'd imagine I'll be in one hell of a state, no point in making it any worse needlessly.


  1. By the time they came out with anti baldness drugs, my alopecia was too far gone for them to have any positive effect. I'm afraid it will always be wigs for me.

    A buzz cut? Jenny you need to be a little kinder to yourself! :-)

    Melissa XX

  2. I'll say one thing for a very short bloke haircut, it is zero maintenance!

  3. Zero maintenance it may be, but is it worth it?

    Then again Mrs Stace hates the length of my hair at the moment, so the zero maintenance thing may have advantages :)


  4. I wish I could grow mine out, but Mrs. J. has something in common with Mrs. Stace on that one.

  5. A wise decision to use this drug, Jenny. I wasn't even aware that it existed. I am fortunate, however, in that I have had little hair loss over the years. It is unfortunate that I can't take advantage of a full head of hear. I would so like to grow it out.

    Calie xxx

  6. The thought of a chance I might eventually fall over the precipice knowing that had I asked for this years ago I would have it a bit easier was too much.

    It's never too late to start it BTW if you are worried about your hair.

    I'm so with you on wishing I could grow it out!

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  8. I had my physical last month, and asked for finasteride. I'm new to prostate issues, but this is 1mg for hair loss. My scalp is clearly visible through my hair on top of my head, and I confessed that it was bothering me. I didn't mention that the side effects might be beneficial, too.

    I haven't filled the prescription yet, but I'm very eager to start.

  9. Let us all know how you get on. No sense in increasing your potential for GD distress through hair loss.

    I was having this conversation last night at the support group meeting. A regular attendee who has truly beautiful natural hair is worried lest she lose it, and also worried lest her wife object to the prescription on the basis that it is for trans reasons. I pointed out to her that many hundreds of thousands of non-TS men take Finasteride for simple vanity and she could perfectly justify it as "him" on that basis.