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Can Women Use Finasteride? 
Dr Kieran Dayah (GMC)
Medically reviewed by
Dr Kieran Dayah (GMC)
Updated on November 28, 2022

Although hair loss is typically something that’s associated with men, there are many women who also struggle with losing hair.

In fact, more than 50% of women are expected to experience hair loss at some point in their life [1]. Although this is considerably lower than the 85% of men who go through hair loss, it still represents a very high amount of the female population.

Losing your hair as a woman can be a real hit to your confidence, especially if you start to notice this earlier on in life. 

If you’re a woman who has been experiencing hair loss, you may have already started to do some research into the different medication and treatment options that are available to you.

One of the most popular forms of prescribed medication that is used to treat hair loss is Finasteride. But, is it safe for women to use? Keep on reading to find out more about Finasteride for women.

What is Finasteride?

Finasteride is a private prescription drug (it’s not available on the NHS) that is commonly prescribed to men who are experiencing male pattern baldness or benign prostatic hyperplasia (enlarged prostate).

It comes in the form of an oral tablet and is sold by a variety of brands as well as generic versions. The most popular brands of Finasteride are Proscar and Propecia.

Finasteride works by decreasing the amount of dihydrotestosterone (DHT) in your body, which is a male hormone that is converted from testosterone. By reducing the amount of DHT in the body, Finasteride protects and slows down/stops hair loss. This is why hair loss is more common in men than in women. Learn more about if Finasteride works.

Can women use Finasteride?

Although Finasteride has been approved for use on male pattern baldness for quite some time, Finasteride for female pattern baldness still hasn’t been approved.

Because it is not recommended for use by women, it will only be prescribed in very rare circumstances. Despite this, there have been some recent studies that have set out to discover whether Finasteride could be used for women experiencing hair loss.

One major study was published in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology [3] where Finasteride was administered to 137 postmenopausal women with female pattern hair loss. After taking the usual dosage of Finasteride (1mg, daily) for a year, it was found that the drug had no effect on hair growth or thinning. This was the same result when 1.25mg of Finasteride was administered, too [4].

In another study [5] where a stronger dose of Finasteride (2.5mg) was administered along with an oral contraceptive, researchers found a significant improvement in hair density after 12 months – however, they were not sure if this change was due to the Finasteride or the contraceptive pill.

More recently, a study [6] evaluated the clinical efficacy of administering 5mg a day of oral Finasteride in normoandrogenic postmenopausal women. After 6 months, 22 patients experienced significant improvement, 12 moderate improvements and 6 no improvement.

Overall, studies have shown that the typical 1mg dosage of Finasteride is not adequate to address hair loss in women, instead, a larger dose of up to 5mg is preferred. However, it’s important to note that with these higher doses, the likelihood of experiencing side effects also increases.

Are there any risks of using Finasteride as a woman?

Although there have been studies that have proved the efficacy of Finasteride as a treatment for female hair loss, there haven’t been any large-scale trials that prove its safety for women as they do for men.

Some reviews [7] have found that Finasteride is safe and well-tolerated by women. However, there are a few side effects that occur in a small percentage of cases, including:

  • Decreased libido
  • Dry skin
  • Mild acne
  • Headaches
  • Irregular menstruation
  • Increased body hair

Can I use Finasteride if I’m pregnant?

Finasteride is not safe for women who are pregnant as it can harm an unborn baby and, because of its effect on DHT, could cause issues with male genital development.

According to experts, even touching a crushed or broken Finasteride could potentially get into your bloodstream and cause adverse effects. Also, if your partner is using Finasteride, you should use a condom during sex to prevent Finasteride from being passed through semen.

Learn more about hair loss and pregnancy.

How to cope with female hair loss

Although Finasteride may not be the most suitable drug for women to use to counteract hair loss, there are plenty of other ways that you can cope with the mental consequences of losing your hair.

Here are some of our top tips:

  • Talk about it to your family/family and let them know what kind of support you need
  • Join a support group of like-minded people who are going through the same experience
  • Learn how to cover up your hair loss in a way that makes you feel comfortable
  • Research into alternative medication for women suffering from hair loss
  • Be patient when waiting for Finasteride results, there’s no such thing as a miracle cure!

Alternatives to Finasteride for women

If you want to do something about your hair loss, there are other treatments and procedures that are safe for women to use, unlike Finasteride. 

Over the counter medication such as Minoxidil is a great example of what you can use. As this is a topical treatment that does not cause changes in hormones, this is safe to use for men and women.

However, if you want to see results quicker, or would like something that doesn’t involve applying hair growth serum to your hair every day, a hair transplant may be something you want to consider.

Hair transplants for women are growing increasingly popular, and they’re something we specialise in at Wimpole Clinic.

The most common form of hair transplant for women is an FUE (follicular unit excision) which includes taking individual grafts of hair from areas where hair is growing and reimplanting them in the areas where hair loss is occurring.

If you’re wondering what to expect from this procedure, or just have some questions, we provide all our customers with a free, no-obligation consultation call with one of our experts so they can decide if this is the right decision for them.

Can Women Use Finasteride? , Wimpole Clinic

 

References:

[1] https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/16921-hair-loss-in-women 

[2] https://www.americanhairloss.org/men_hair_loss/introduction.html 

[3] https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/11050579/ 

[4] https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/22879729/ 

[5] https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamadermatology/fullarticle/403800 

[6] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3746222/ 

[7] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7060023/  

Dr Kieran Dayah (GMC)
Medically reviewed by Dr Kieran Dayah (GMC)Updated on November 28, 2022
The Wimpole Clinic offers FUE Hair, Beard & Eyebrow Transplants & Trichology.
Talk to a specialist ☎ 020 7935 1861.
Dr Kieran Dayah (GMC)
Medically reviewed by
Dr Kieran Dayah (GMC)
Updated on November 28, 2022

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