Hormonal changes are one of the reasons for hair loss in both men and women. Spironolactone is one medicine that can counteract the hormone effects, making it a very effective treatment for hair loss.
However, does it really work? In this post, we will just go through various evidences that support topical spironolactone for treating hair loss problem.
What is spironolactone?
Primarily spironolactone is used for treating high blood pressure or heart related problems. However, it has certain anti-androgenic properties too, hence spironolactone is often prescribed for treating hormone-related conditions in women.
Also, transgender women often use this medicine for lowering the levels of their male hormone testosterone.
Its anti-androgenic properties also make it a very effective treatment for some kinds of hair loss, particularly in case of androgenetic alopecia which is commonly a male pattern hair-loss that is strongly tied with hormones.
If taken orally, spironolactone will reduce testosterone levels however it is not advised to take it orally.
Instead, for hair loss spironolactone will be used topically to scalp in the cream form. In this way, it will only act locally, and also you can avoid all the side effects that are associated with lower level of testosterone.
We mentioned before that oral spironolactone is prescribed for transgender women in order to counteract the effects of testosterone.
Spironolactone can very powerfully influence on hormones and therefore it is only prescribed for women. For men, following side effects will be seen:
- Sexual dysfunction
- General feminization
- Testicular atrophy
Few other side effects that can affect both males and females are about its diuretic properties. This medicine may cause high potassium levels in the blood, lower levels of sodium, hypotension and dehydration.
However, topically applied spironolactone will cause very little of all these side effects because it will not get absorbed into our bloodstream in large amounts.
Spironolactone meant for hair loss
Those men who are suffering from androgenetic alopecia will have hair follicles which are particularly very sensitive to DHT.
Generally, DHT binds to our hormone receptors in hair follicles that causes them to shrink. As a result, the follicles may get so small and will stop producing any visible hair.
Basically, there are 2 ways of stopping this from happening:
- By reducing DHT levels
- By stopping DHT binding with hormone receptor.
Finasteride, which is an FDA approved treatment meant for hair loss treatment will generally work by using the above first method.
It will lower down the DHT levels by almost 70%. For most of the men, this will be enough to stop hair loss completely or it will slow it down at least very dramatically. However, for few people, though, such kind of drastic DHT reduction may cause few negative side effects too.
However, many natural treatments for hair loss also work by reducing DHT levels quite well.
Unlike all these methods, spironolactone works though, at receptor level. It will block DHT to attach with the hormone receptor, thus preventing this hormone to cause damage to hair follicle.