In this article you’ll learn whether you can, and should use Spironolactone for hair loss. You’ll learn about the most recent research and the 12 month study that looked at Spironolactone for female hair growth.
I’ll discuss the pros and cons, the side effects, how and why it works. You’ll also learn about how long results take and what is the best way to use Spironolactone today.
What is Spironolactone?
Spironolactone, also known by its brand name Aldactone, is a medication that has been used for almost 60 years, and has a number of research-backed uses.
Like a variety of other prescription medications that have been produced with one particular use in mind, spironolactone has also been found to have a few interesting off-brand applications as well. One such application is the reduction of DHT found in the body and, more specifically, the scalp.
What are the Conditions Commonly Treated with Spironolactone?
For women who suffer from treatment-resistant acne, spironolactone has been found to be an effective treatment. Short- and long-term use has been deemed safe, though additional research would be beneficial for women looking to use spironolactone as a long-term acne treatment.
Early puberty, medically referred to as precocious puberty, is a condition in which the onset of puberty and its related effects occur at an unusually early age. In familial male-limited precocious puberty, onset can begin as early as age 2. For the short-term treatment of early-onset puberty, the combination use of spironolactone and testolactone was found to be effective.
Edema is a fluid buildup in the body which is related to a number of serious medical conditions, including heart failure and renal failure. Spironolactone has been used effectively, in small doses, to treat edema, according to this 2010 scientific review published in the Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology.
Excessive Hair Growth
Hirsutism, also known as excessive hair growth, is a common symptom in women who suffer from Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS). This condition is caused by an excess amount of androgens, such as DHT, in the body, and spironolactone has been proven to effectively reduce the level of androgens present and reverse hirsutism.
A study was performed on 1663 patients suffering from heart failure. 822 of these patients received a daily dose (25 mg) of spironolactone, while 841 patients received a placebo.
At the end of the study, the patients who received the spironolactone had a 35% less frequency of required hospitalization, and also had a 30% decrease in risk of death.
High Blood Pressure
In patients with uncontrolled hypertension, spironolactone was shown to be an effective treatment.
DHT, the androgen hormone which is also responsible for excessive hair growth in women as mentioned above, is also responsible for pattern baldness which can occur in both men and women.
Spironolactone has been shown to reduce the levels of DHT in the body, and has been found to be an effective treatment for those suffering from hair loss.
Can Spironolactone Be An Effective Hair Loss Treatment?
As mentioned above, Spironolactone was found to reduce the amount of DHT in the body. This is great news for hair loss sufferers!
What is DHT and how is the reduction of DHT useful for hair growth?
We’ve discussed the effects of DHT on male-pattern baldness before here at Hair Loss Revolution, but here’s a brief overview:
DHT is a chemical that’s produced when testosterone, the male sex hormone, comes into contact with an enzyme known as 5-alpha-reductase.
When someone suffers from androgenetic alopecia, also referred to as male-pattern baldness, the production of DHT leads to the miniaturization of hair follicles in DHT-sensitive regions of the scalp.
What does this mean for those who suffer from male-pattern baldness?
To understand this, it’s first important to understand how hair grows.
There are three phases associated with hair growth: anagen, catagen, and telogen.
Anagen is the phase of active hair growth, and this phase has a length of anywhere from two to six years. Catagen is next, and is known as a transition between active growth and rest. Lastly is telogen. This is the phase in which the follicle is at rest (i.e. no active growth) and is most commonly associated with the shedding of hair.
What happens during the above three phases, however, when the hair follicle has been miniaturized by DHT?
As the follicles miniaturize, the growing phase (anagen) shortens. This means that, over time, shorter and shorter hairs will be produced. At the same time, the telogen phase (follicle rest and hair shedding) lengthens. Eventually, the hairs become so short that they will no longer peak through the follicle, and the follicle stays in a perpetual state of rest.
It’s obvious, then, that for those individuals suffering from male-pattern baldness, that the reduction of DHT is vital in order to prevent further hair loss and stimulate hair regrowth.
What Does the Research Have to Say About Spironolactone and Hair Loss?
While the majority of research surrounding the use of spironolactone in the treatment of androgenetic alopecia has been performed on women, the results can still be used to show the effectiveness of such a treatment.
The subject was initially treated with a 200 mg oral dose of spironolactone daily. She had documented hair regrowth at the 12-month mark, though, hair growth did eventually plateau by the 24-month mark.
It was at this point in the study that a twice daily dose of minoxidil 5% solution was prescribed, and further hair regrowth was documented.
What does this mean for sufferers of androgenetic alopecia and, more specifically, male sufferers?
One, this study shows that spironolactone supplementation is effective in not only stopping hair loss, but also effective at hair regrowth.
Two, combination treatment (in this case, spironolactone and minoxidil) can be an effective treatment for those with male-pattern baldness.
The four figures above show that supplementation with spironolactone is effective in preventing further hair loss and promoting hair growth. And, while the results plateaued after two years of use, the combination of spironolactone and minoxidil had further positive results.
Are There Side Effects Associated with Spironolactone Supplementation?
You may be wondering, if AGA is more common in men, why are the majority of studies on AGA and spironolactone performed on women? There’s a very good reason for this, and that’s oral supplementation of oral spironolactone in men has been connected to feminization.
According to a 2004 study entitled Gynecomastia and Antihypertensive Therapy, oral supplementation of spironolactone in men has a number of unpleasant side effects. These side effects include gynecomastia, impotence, and decreased libido.
The incidence and severity of these effects is dependent on the given dosage, though even a low oral dosage of 25mg/day had a 10% incidence of gynecomastia and/or breast pain in men.
Does this mean that men cannot use spironolactone to treat hair loss? Absolutely not! While oral supplementation has been linked to gynecomastia and other feminization effects, topical supplementation was found to be highly effective in the treatment of alopecia, and the side effects were minimal or even non-existent.
How Can You Use Spironolactone for Hair Growth?
While oral supplementation may be a viable option for women suffering from androgenetic alopecia, the best course for men is topical supplementation of spironolactone.
When applied topically to the scalp, spironolactone appears to have only a localized effect. This is a great treatment option for men who would like to try spironolactone but are wary of the more common oral side effects.
How to Obtain Topical Spironolactone
The easiest way to get topical spironolactone for use in male-pattern baldness treatment is as a prescription from a dermatologist or other medical professional.
Unfortunately, spironolactone is not available over-the-counter, so the help of a doctor in obtaining the treatment is required.
How to Apply Spironolactone to the Scalp
There’s no right or wrong way to apply spironolactone topically.
Some individuals who are using spironolactone to treat male-pattern baldness apply it only to problem areas, while other individuals will apply to the entirety of the scalp.
Application is simple: begin with a pea-sized amount of spironolactone on your fingertips. Rub your fingertips together, and then massage the cream into your scalp in a gentle, circular motion. Repeat the above steps until the areas you’d like to target (either problem areas or entirety of the scalp) have been massaged and the spironolactone applied.
While clinical studies have applied the spironolactone on a daily basis, you may also find that every few days or even once per week is sufficient for your needs.
There’s no doubt that supplementation of spironolactone has an effect on the androgen levels in the body, both male and female.
For treatment in male-pattern baldness, however, topical supplementation is the best course of action and should be discussed with your doctor.
Always talk to a qualified medical professional before starting any hair loss treatment.