DHT Blocker Side Effects: Everything You Need to Know

  • Medically reviewed by: Dr. Anil Simhadri
  • Written by: William Hartfield
  • Last updated: 29/11/2023

It’s well known that dihydrotestosterone, or DHT, is the male hormone primarily responsible for male pattern baldness, so it makes sense that blocking this hormone would help slow or even reverse hair loss

And it does.

A molecule of the hormone DHTIn this article you’ll learn about some of the side effects that come about from blocking DHT, and you will also learn how to counteract these side effects.

You’ll also learn some of the best ways to block DHT, that minimize any side effects.

Let me say now, though, genetic alopecia isn’t as simple as blocking DHT, there is much more to it than that. Let me quickly explain.

Men with male pattern baldness don’t actually have particularly high levels of DHT, so it’s any sort of high level that is causing loss of hair. Why men lose their hair (and why this tends to run in families) is because of what’s called “DHT sensitivity.”

That means the hair follicles (particularly at the crown and temple of the head) are sensitive to the effect DHT can have on miniaturizing hair follicles. Ultimately what will help you to stop and reverse hair loss will be reducing your DHT sensitivity.

However, blocking DHT can also help to some extent, since having less DHT in your blood and in your scalp will mean less effect on the hair follicle. The problem is, that simply lowering your DHT levels has knock-on effects on your body – side effects.

This is because DHT is a natural hormone that helps with other bodily functions. It is natural, healthy, and normal to have DHT in your blood. A better way to fight baldness is to reduce your DHT sensitivity since this is more of a “genetic predisposition” rather than an absolute certainty.

At Hairguard I do write a lot about how to do this, but this article will focus on some of the side effects that come from blocking, and how to reduce them.

The Best Way To Block DHT?

You can block DHT in a number of ways. The enzyme 5-alpha-reducatase is an enzyme that transforms testosterone into DHT, so inhibiting this enzyme can help lower levels. This is how the popular male pattern baldness drug Propecia (finasteride) works.

There are also natural herbs and supplements that block DHT, and there are certain vitamins that can help as well.

One of the best natural and proven ways is to supplement pumpkin seed oil which conclusively proved to improve hair count after 12 and 24 weeks due to the effects on inhibiting 5-alpha-reductase (the researchers believe.)

Pumpkin seed oil has been proven to improve hair count in men who took it over 24 weeks, the researchers believe this is due to reduce DHT levels.

What Are The Side Effects?

While the following side effects can be associated with all DHT blocking it’s fairly safe to say that they are more common and more severe with pharmaceuticals like finasteride and dutasteride since herbs and supplements are generally less powerful.

DHT is a normal and healthy hormone in adult males, and so an unnatural reduction in the hormone levels can have knock-on side effects. Some men report no side effects, some have noticeable side effects.

In my early days of figuring out how to beat thinning hair, I went on Propecia for a period of around 6 months. Although I didn’t notice any side effects initially, when I stopped taking the drug (I knew I had discovered a more powerful natural way) I immediately felt my sex drive go rapidly upwards.

My ejaculation volume increased and my erection strength improved.

I realized that these sexual side effects hadn’t been noticeable at the time I started the course of finasteride, probably because they took place gradually.

Luckily everything went back to normal for me, unfortunately, some men report permanent sexual side effects even after they stop taking Propecia.

Lower Libdio

A noticeable decrease in libido and less interest in women sexually.

Weaker Erections

Erections may be less hard, and go down quicker. You may have less ability to ‘go again.’

Decreased Ejaculatory Volume

Decreased ejaculatory volume was one of the most noticeable differences in coming off the drug for me (my ejaculation volume went up dramatically.) Some men claim their ejaculate is more watery.

Penile Shrinkage

This probably comes about as a result of the weaker erections

Swelling and Tenderness in Breasts

Some men also report swelling and tenderness of the breasts, probably to do with artificial imbalance of the hormones. I never experienced this but it doesn’t sound enjoyable.

Poorer Memory and Cognitive Function

DHT is responsible for enhancing memory and cognition.

Weaker Bones and Muscles

DHT causes accelerated bone and muscle density. This is what makes men stronger compared to women. If you are a bodybuilder or regular gym user you might find yourself weaker after taking Propecia.

How to Reduce the Side Effects

Obviously, the best way to reduce the side effects of blocking DHT is to reduce the amount of DHT blockers you are taking and find another way to make up for it. You could do this in a number of ways:

  • Scalp massages to reduce tension and stress in the scalp and improve circulation
  • Breathing exercises to increase blood oxygen content and reduce stress
  • Meditation to reduce stress
  • Hanging to increase circulation in scalp
  • Minxodil or natural minoxidil solution for the scalp
  • Decrease masturbation frequency
  • Improve nutrient, mineral, and enzyme content of the blood
  • Improve gut bacteria and microbiome balance for increased nutrient uptake
  • Reduce delayed allergic reactions which increase DHT sensitivity
  • Cold showers

… and on and on.

With that being said there are ways to decrease the sexual side effects associated with finasteride.

One example would be to try topical finasteride (although I still don’t recommend this!)

You can practice ejaculation control whereby you refrain from ejaculation and masturbation, or try to increase the frequency of sex without ejaculation.

This has the effect of increasing ejaculatory volume, and sex drive. Penis exercises can be used to increase penis size. Kegels can be used to increase hardness and longevity.

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