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It’s something that will affect many men during their lifetime – and it’s not something they will enjoy dealing with. Hair loss – or alopecia – can affect both men and women, but it tends to be more common in men. Luckily, today there are a variety of solutions to the problem of losing your hair – including drugs like finasteride, saw palmetto, and trichotin.

Hair loss (also known as alopecia) is estimated to affect some 25% of all men

Despite the fact that most men start to lose their hair at some point in their lives, many guys will go to extreme lengths to keep their luscious locks. It is, for certain men, a reflection of how they see themselves. For many others, it is an extension of their personality. Various studies have looked at the emotional and psychological effects of hair loss on men. The results point to the fact that balding can cause distress and affect their self-image negatively.

Are you actually going bald or is it something else? finasteride | Longevity LIVE

There’s a marked difference between male pattern baldness and hair loss. Someone who is losing patches of hair randomly likely has alopecia. This patchy hair loss can happen to both men and women. It can also happen in different parts of the body. Alopecia areata happens when the immune system attacks hair follicles. Androgenic alopecia is an inherited condition that takes place when hair thinning eventually results in hair loss.

On the other hand, hair loss that follows a pattern – such as receding from the temples or the crown of the head – is known as male pattern baldness.

Once you know which condition you’re facing, it’s easier to determine which treatment will work best. Your doctor can make an accurate diagnosis following a physical exam and by finding out more about your medical history, diet, and hair care routine. According to the Mayo Clinic, he or she might recommend one or several tests to assist the diagnosis. These can range from blood tests to a scalp biopsy or light microscopy. With the right treatment, you can slow down hair loss significantly, or even reverse it. Primarily, treatment options are available for either medication or surgery. Your doctor can prescribe you oral finasteride once he determines that this medication will work best for you.

How does finasteride work?

The FDA-approved medicine is also known under the brand name Propecia, and is available in pill form. Finasteride’s function as medicine is to prevent testosterone from breaking down into DHT. This hormone is considered to cause male pattern baldness.

A study published in the Journal of Investigative Dermatology Symposium Proceedings shows finasteride to be a well-established, efficient drug with an excellent safety profile. The study also indicated that the medication resulted in increased hair density as well as an increase in hair count.

How long does it take to start working?

You might need to keep using it for a number of months before you’ll see results. But when you do, you should notice more hair growth, in addition to an improvement in the health of your hair. Remember that the medication will only keep working as long as you take it. In other words, if you’ve grown hair with finasteride and you stop using it, chances are those hairs will start to fall out eventually.

If, however, you don’t see any improvement after a period of 12 months of consistent usage, talk to your doctor about whether he or she suggests that you keep using the medication. After this period, it is unlikely that you will see a drastic change from finasteride.

Are there any side effects? finasteride | Longevity LIVE

Finasteride is part of a class of drugs called 5-alpha-reductase inhibitors. It’s considered less effective in men that are over 60. Women who are or could possibly be pregnant should avoid touching the medicine. Rare side effects of finasteride use in men include:

  • tender and/or enlarged breasts
  • feelings of anxiety and depression
  • rashes on the skin
  • neurological problems including mental fogginess
  • pain in the testicles
  • lowered libido, difficulty ejaculating, and erectile dysfunction

Speak to your doctor and confirm whether you are a good candidate for finasteride to stop hair loss.

What other options are available?

Saw palmetto is a popular herbal treatment for hair loss. It is believed that this treatment – which is available in various forms, including tablets, liquid extracts, powdered capsules, as well as whole dried berries – has the ability to fight inflammation. As a result, it can help to fight some of the causes of hair loss.

One study that compared the effects of finasteride to those of saw palmetto found that 38% of participants saw an improvement in their hair loss when taking saw palmetto over the course of two years. This was compared with 68% of participants that saw similar improvements while taking finasteride over the same period.

Did you know?

The earlier you start working on preventing hair loss and living a healthy lifestyle that will protect your hair, the easier it is to stop hair loss from becoming a problem as you age. Find out which superfoods to include in your diet to help prevent hair loss.

References:

Men’s Health Editorial. 10 Things You Should Know About Male Hair Loss. https://www.menshealth.com/uk/style/grooming/a746086/the-mh-guide-to-hair-loss-263096/

Shapiro, J., Kaufmann, K.D.  2003.  Use of Finasteride in the Treatment of Men With Androgenetic Alopecia (Male Pattern Hair Loss). Journal of Investigative Dermatology Symposium Proceedings. (1) 2: 20-23. https://doi.org/10.1046/j.1523-1747.2003.12167.x

Rossi, A., Marp, E., Garelli, V., Maxiai, C., Scalp, E., Iorioi, A., Carlesi, M.  2012.  Comparitive Effectiveness of Finasteride vs Serenoa Repens in Male Androgenetic Alopecia. International Journal of Immunopathology and Pharmacology. (25) 4: 1167-1173  https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/pdf/10.1177/039463201202500435

https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/hair-loss/diagnosis-treatment/drc-20372932 

If your country has gone in full lockdown mode, you’re probably fretting about how you’re going to be able to spend all that time with them without going insane. This is a valid fear considering the fact that since the decree for self-isolation, there has been an “unprecedented” spike in divorces in some districts of Xi’an, capital of Northwest China’s Shaanxi Province. Speaking

Couples & Family Therapist, Author Dr. Kalanit Ben-Ari, a couples’ therapist with over 15 years of experience, revealed that couples living in extremely close quarters may start to feel trapped and plagued by feelings of anxiety. As such, these emotions result in both parties feeling resentful and defensive and, coupled with cabin fever, this is a recipe for relationship disaster.

Love at a time of coronavirus

Additionally, if you aren’t living with your partner, you may be worried that your relationship won’t survive suddenly becoming a long-distance one. Either way, it’s important to know that a pandemic doesn’t mean a reintroduction to single hood. The fact is, you can still help to flatten the curve and maintain the health and happiness of your relationship.

Relationship advice for self-isolation

Couples staying together

1. Communicate

A healthy relationship has one component at its core – healthy and open communication.

We’re all battling with the unknown at this time, and this can arouse feelings of fear, anger, sadness, and pain. With that said, it’s important for couples to be able to express their fears.

That said, it’s important that when we find ourselves venting to our partners, we do so in a respectable manner that won’t lead to an intense argument. Feel free to share your feelings with one another, without being judgmental or critical and do your best to stop using words like ‘you’ and avoid statements like “you’re exaggerating,” or “you’re acting crazy.”

“One of the biggest communication mistakes couples make is to talk about their partner in a harsh and direct manner, saying ‘you do/you don’t/you are’, rather than speaking about themselves and what they really want (for example: “I feel anxious about something right now/I need assurance that this will be ok”)” explains Dr. Ben-Ari, “This requires a level of honesty, vulnerability, and tact, but it will help to maintain a healthy and happy relationship.”

2. Carve out some time – for yourself

Just because you’re stuck under the same roof, doesn’t mean that you need to spend every second together. Self-care is just as important and you need to set aside some time so that you can relax and rebalance, letting go of any irritation that may be building up.

Self-care can take the form of a home workout, a long warm bath, sitting quietly in a corner, putting on headphones, mediating or even finishing that Call of Duty game. Do whatever you want but just make sure you’re doing it alone.

3. Keep it light

Just because it’s trending news doesn’t mean that you should be talking about COVID-19 at every turn. Yes, it’s important to keep up to date with the WHO’s guidelines and recommendations but there is a limit.

Longevity Live CommunityInstead of getting all worked up over the unknown, why don’t you keep it light by catching up on your favorite Netflix show or by redecorating the house? Can you even have a dance party in the lounge or try to master his mum’s favorite recipe? Additionally, for couples that are both working from home, you can get yourselves an imaginary co-worker to blame things on.

4. Get intimate

New York City’s public health department sent out a notice, specifically outlining how one could practice safe sex while preventing the spread of COVID-19. So if you were worried about being abstinent whilst living with your partner, you’ll be happy to know that you can still enjoy intimacy. In fact, you can even use this time to reconnect physically with your partner.

On the other hand, as stress can affect libido, it’s important not to nag or shame your partner into sex if they’re not feeling up to it as this will only result in feelings of rejection and blame. Just do your best to understand.

5. Acts of kindness

Yes, your partner is driving you insane, but it’s important not to take them for granted. Try random acts of kindness such as making them tea in bed, cooking their favorite meal, or even leaving them messages around the house.

This will help your partner feel appreciated and ease any lingering tension in the house. Remember, it’s the little things.

6. Setting a schedule

A lot of us rely on our schedules to provide a sense of stability. Now, with all of that disrupted, we may find ourselves lost and more irritable. That said, creating a structured plan for the day with your partner can help to restore a sense of normalcy. Relationship | Longevity Live

Assigning roles and responsibilities for each day can make your time at home pass more quickly and it can also minimize conflicts.

7. Stay in touch with the outside world

Your partner doesn’t have to be your only source of connection. With apps such as HouseParty, FaceTime and Whatsapp, you can still stay in touch with your family members and friends. Regardless of your relationship status, it’s important to still maintain outside relationships.

If you feel unsafe

If unfortunately, you are stuck in the house with an abusive spouse, it’s important to know that no lockdown or quarantine is more important than your health. Police and other emergency response services are operating as normal, and if you are worried about your safety, you should not hesitate to call the authorities immediately.

Couples in a long-distance relationship

1. Watch your digital tone

As mentioned, good communication is at the heart of every healthy relationship. Now with you spending more time away from your partner, it’s important that you maintain a healthy communication balance.

Everyone has their preferences when it comes to chatting online; some people reply late, some overuse memes and gifs. It’s important that you clarify your likes and dislikes and that you do your best not to get into a tiff over a misread text message.

2. (Digital) date nights are still important

There’s no reason as to why you can’t get dressed up, and sit across a screen, sharing a glass of your favorite wine. Keeping up with date nights adds a sense of normalcy that can bring you two closer together. Don’t let absence define your relationship. Rather than moaning about how much you miss each other, why don’t you make a list of the things you’re looking forward to doing post-lockdown, be it travel destinations or restaurant hotspots?

Don’t just stop at date night. You can place your phone in a good spot in the house and cook together, or watch your favorite movie.

Additionally, you can also write them a physical letter or send them an unprompted gift as both will no doubt be well-received.

3. Try cybersex

It’s interesting times and people are finding new and creative ways to cater to their needs, as well as those of their partners.

Before delving into Skype sex, make sure that you’re comfortable and that you discuss boundaries. There are various forms of long-distance intimacy, ranging from texts, to voice notes to a simple phone call. Find out what you’re comfortable with and see what happens.

In regards to texting, especially images, don’t feel pressured to include your face or your entire body. You can wear clothing as well if you prefer, leaving much to your partner’s imagination.

The bottom line

No matter how long you’ve been staying together, or how long you love each other, you and your partner are definitely going to run into conflict. It’s a stressful and uncertain time, so of course, you’re going to be more aggravated than usual. With that said, it’s important to remember that none of this will last forever.  You’re both doing your part to protect everyone’s health. So, forget the unnecessary drama and look forward to the good times you’ll get to enjoy in the future.

Johane du Toit

Johane du Toit

Johané du Toit is the Health Writer at Longevity Magazine. With an Honours degree in journalism from the North-West University at Potchefstroom, she has a keen interest in medical and scientific innovations and aspires to provide the public with the latest reliable news in the fields of medicine, fitness, wellness, and science. Johane is happiest outdoors, preferably near a large body of water or in the mountains, and loves waterskiing, cooking, travelling and reading.

The content in this editorial is for general information only and is not intended to provide medical or other professional advice. For more information on your medical condition and treatment options, speak to your healthcare professional.