It was a very weird feeling. I noticed in some pictures that my hair looked a bit thinner up top. Someone even made a comment walking out of a restaurant (Some friend!). The realization hit me that not only was I most likely going to go bald but also that I was getting older. Some men take losing their hair pretty hard. I was one of them.
One of my clients once told me that he began taking Propecia (name brand for the drug Finasteride) once he noticed his hair thinning. It worked like “magic.” His hair stayed and he even grew some back. I immediately called my doctor for an appointment. He didn’t hesitate to prescribe me Finasteride when I requested it. Life was good again. I was going to keep my hair. Then I filled my prescription and read the pamphlet.
As with most (or all) medications, there were some possible side effects. It first mentioned sexual issues like impotence in a very small percentage of users. For some reason, I wasn’t worried. It was such a small percentage. Then it mentioned the C word. Yup. It said that there may be a chance of developing a “very serious” form of prostate cancer. Wow! Now I was confused. Even if the chances were very slim, would keeping my hair be worth the possibility of a life threatening disease? Had I become that vain?
This led me to consult the “experts” on Google. While I wasn’t too worried about the sexual side effects initially, I was now! I read reports from people who experienced very negative sexual side effects. What’s worse, they didn’t always subside after coming off the meds.
After giving it a good amount of thought, I decided to stop taking the Finasteride after only a couple of days. While no one reason by itself might sound like a good case against the meds, the combination of the following were more than enough for me…
- Chance of getting a high grade prostate cancer – Apparently it can mask PSA (prostate specific antigen). PSA is a marker for prostate cancer. This may make the diagnosis of prostate cancer less detectable.
- Possible sexual side effects – Although I wasn’t initially worried about this I really didn’t want to take a chance. After all, I’m still in baby making mode!
- Negative impact on muscle building – The reason Finasteride works in preventing hair loss is because it blocks DHT conversion. The problem is since DHT may have some role in muscle building. Unfortunately, these hormone changes don’t occur in a vacuum. As with most things you may have to give something up to gain another. Since I’m in the muscle building business I’m not willing to take that chance.
What’s so great about hair anyway?
I’m not going to say it’s better to be bald than to have hair. However, the whole bald thing has worked out pretty well for guys like Michael Jordan and Bruce Willis.
The TBBC team and I are reading a great book on Mindset right now called, The Magic of Thinking Big by David Schwartz. I highly recommend this book. Anyway, I tried to use the principles I learned in the book and look at the positives of the potential of going bald. Here is what I came up with…
- Different hairstyles – Now that my thinning is barely noticeable I can grow my hair a bit and layer it. If the thinning gets much worse, I can go with a really short cut.
- More money – I will save money by not spending on frequent haircuts or hair products.
- More time – Since I am a productivity nut, I will gain a few minutes by not having to worry about fixing my hair.
- Hats – I love wearing hats but many times I don’t because my hair looks matted when I remove the hat. Without hair this wouldn’t be a problem.
- Tough guy look – Not sure if this is really a benefit but I figured I would throw it in there.:)
A positive seed in everything
The point is that no matter what we go through, it is up to us how we view it. I am going to strive to maintain a healthy lifestyle (e.g. eat lots of fruits and veggies) and hopefully keep my hair. If that doesn’t work out, I’m going to focus on what I do have rather than what I do not.:)
Billy Hofacker, CEO and Owner of Total Body Boot Camp
TBBC Transformation Coach, B.S., NSCA-CPT, FMS Level 1