A common question that men ask us our clinic is, “is baldness linked to testosterone replacement therapy?”
Yes, and no.
In this article we will tell you why testosterone replacement therapy does not cause baldness, but is “linked” to the common symptoms.
Who Linked Baldness and Testosterone?
Going as far back as the ancient Greeks, people thought that baldness was a sign of excessive testosterone. Though of course they didn’t know about testosterone, they associated baldness with a variety of traits which we today associate with high testosterone levels — higher-than-average libido, increased fertility, and increased strength.
Flash forward hundreds of years later where modern science has proved that baldness is not directly associated with higher or lower levels of testosterone. Though there is a relationship between the two, it is not as stark as “more testosterone = less hair”.
Genetic Reasons for Baldness
The source of baldness in men is genetic. Men will either have the genes that causes baldness, or they don’t. By the time most men begin investigating testosterone replacement therapy, it’s usually quite clear whether or not male pattern baldness has begun.
However, there is a connection between baldness and testosterone, just not the connection many expect.
Genes are not directly responsible for hair loss. Rather, they make hair follicles weak in a specific way that becomes sensitive to testosterone. A small amount of free testosterone can cause hair follicles to suffer. However, it does not affect much, so it is unlikely for hair loss. When it comes to testosterone replacement therapy, there is not a ridiculous amount of testosterone being increased. Normally it is just enough to get individuals back into their normal range. Therefore, therapy is unlikely to be the cause for baldness.
The Role of Testosterone
In order to understand the role testosterone plays in hair loss, it’s important to get acquainted with dihydrotestosterone (DHT), one of many testosterone byproducts that, during puberty, helps develop male characteristics such as facial hair. It is estimated that around 5% of a guy’s testosterone is converted into DHT. DHT, a very potent male hormone, is converted from testosterone via an enzyme called 5-alpha reductase. If men have a genetic predisposition to pattern hair loss, DHT can be a catalyst for hair thinning.
The prevailing theory proposes that DHT latches onto receptors in the follicle and causes loss, not by pushing the hair out (as is commonly assumed), but cutting off the supply of proteins and nutrients to the area. The follicle shrinks as a result of the starvation. This may be the cause where hair growth in puberty ends up being destroyed in adult life.
The Benefits of Testosterone Treatment Therapy Outweigh The Risks
The risks of testosterone replacement therapy, in terms of baldness, are practically nonexistent.
However, the symptoms of low testosterone are much worse than simple balding.
Feeling exhausted – even with enough sleep – getting zero results from your hard work in the gym, being unable to concentrate, feeling depressed or never feeling like having sex are all serious issues. They are much more dangerous to men than losing a little hair (or even a lot)!
If you are experiencing low testosterone or symptoms of low t, you may want to come in for a medical exam with us. Click to schedule an appointment today, or learn more about testosterone with our links provided below.