The role played by dihydrotestosterone or DHT hormone in bringing about pre-mature hair loss especially in women, has been highlighted by many hair and hormone experts. The commonest belief is that over – secretion of this hormone leads to widespread destruction of hair follicles.
What basically is DHT? Is It Only Destructive?
DHT is essentially a sex steroid hormone and works in the same way as testosterone. However, it is much stronger in its action. The DHT is mainly manufactured in our liver and skin. The process in which DHT is manufactured involves testosterone getting converted into DHT by the action of an enzyme nomenclature 5 – alpha reductase.
The 5 – alpha reductase enzyme has two discrete chemical forms, which are ideally known as isoenzymes. Thus the two types of 5 – alpha reductase are called isoenzyme type I and isoenzyme type II. Both these types of the same enzyme help in the changing of testosterone into DHT. This is a physiological reaction catalyzed by the 5 – alpha reductase hormone.
It is a common belief among hundreds of scientists and dermatologists that the molecules of DHT spread into the inside of the cells of the hair follicles and mix with the cytosol or cytoplasm of the cell. Then the molecules get bound with the androgen receptors. The mixture of the DHT molecule and the receptor at the hair follicle subsequently enters the cell and into its nucleus. The rate of protein synthesis in the nucleus may then be regulated by the complex, more so in such men and women who are genetically susceptible to pattern hair loss.
The Remedial Measures to Prevent DHT From Causing Hair Loss: Do They Really Work?
The introduction of the DHT hormone in to the hair follicles may be prevented by the intake of such drugs like Avodart, active ingredient contained being dutasteride, which can control the action of both the type I and type II of the enzyme from working; and Propecia with finasteride, which can prevent the type II enzyme from working. Both these medications are approved by the FDA. However, it must be borne in mind that Avodart is under conditional approval by FDA and may be administered only for the treatment of benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH)
As these drugs reduce the quantity of DHT in the hair follicle cells and tissues of the scalp, the problem of hair loss is somewhat arrested. The drugs are also believed to promote hair growth in the area of the crown of the head. Such hair grown has been found to be quite healthy. This tendency of growing new hair has been detected in about 35% of men and women taking the drugs. These medicines find much better result in people at their young ages, for whom the problem of hair loss is comparatively new. For the veterans in baldness, the statistics are a little more bleak. But that is no cause of being disheartened. The drugs may work with the same miraculous effect for the aged people as well.
Why is The Hair Loss Problem of Much More Concern to the Young Generation?
The apparent problem with the young people who are suffering from the problem of hair loss, is that when faced with the situation, they have the tendency to taking recourse to any and every remedial measure that come their way. These may be suggested by the most ignorant of all. But the young men will never consider the long – term ill effects that may result from their use.
It must be mentioned here that the drugs that inhibit the action of the 5 – alpha reductase enzyme, are not free from side – effects in the short run. The long – term side effects are actually not yet experienced or exposed. The side – effects of Propecia which are visible in the short term, are also not universal. They occur in about 1% of the users. It is believed by hair experts that the incidence of side – effects of the drug Avodart should be double that of Propecia. It is because of the fact that the former works in inhibiting both the type I and type II isoenzymes.
The following are some of the most serious side – effects:
- Experiencing a reduction in the sexual drive or desire
- Experiencing orgasms which are not of satisfactory degree
- Experiencing impotence.
The good news is that none of these is permanent incapability. If those who undergo these side – effects stop taking the drug, the conditions will be back to normal within days.
Finally, the Good Effects of DHT
DHT hormone plays a very significant role in the working of the central nervous system, and also regulates the proper functioning of the prostate glands and the testicles. The muscle tissues are the only area where DHT does not find any effect.