More and more men are coming forward with complaints that Propecia caused them to suffer penile fibrosis. This can cause erectile dysfunction, loss of penis girth and shortening, genital pain, and physical deformity of the penis.
Propecia (finasteride) is a prescription medication that treats male pattern baldness. If you suffer from male pattern baldness, it is because you have a genetic predisposition to lose your hair when your hair follicles are exposed to dihydrotestosterone (DHT). Your body uses an enzyme called 5-alpha reductase to convert the male sex hormone testosterone into DHT. Propecia treats hair loss by inhibiting 5-alpha reductase, which in turn reduces DHT levels by 75-80%. The end result is an end to hair loss. However, it can also mean an end to your sex life. One side effect of finasteride is sexual dysfunction. Testosterone and DHT are involved in a male physical and metal sexual function. Men taking finasteride have reported erectile dysfunction, loss of libido, decreased ejaculate volume, genital shrinkage, and penile fibrosis.
Propecia and Penile Fibrosis
Penile fibrosis is a medical condition that occurs when there are plaques, hard bumps, or dense fibrous tissue inside the penis. This causes irregular hardening of the penis. The condition produces a painful deformity, physical changes in the penis (especially curvature or bending of the penis), decreased penis size, and sexual dysfunction. A hard bump on the penis may cause the penis to become curved. Most men with penile fibrosis also notice hard, irregular collagen tissues in the penis. Over time, they may also notice that some muscles in the penis atrophy, leading to a smaller penis.
Propecia causes massive hormonal changes in a man’s body. The penis is filled with hormone receptors, and male sex hormones are necessary for healthy mental sex drive, as well as the maintenance of genital tissue. It is possible that Propecia could increase the risk of penile fibrosis by decreasing the amount of DHT in a man’s body. In some men, the body compensates by increasing production of estrogen. This major hormonal imbalance could cause a wide variety of side effects, including penile fibrosis.
Studies of Propecia and Penile Fibrosis
- This Chinese study from March 2003, published in the Asian Journal of Andrology, found that rats treated with finasteride developed thick and irregular-arranged collagen fibers in the penis, and smooth muscles were scarce or disappeared after finasteride treatment
The researchers concluded that male sex hormones were vital for the development of external genitals in male mammals. The study suggests that changes in hormone levels may affect the appearance of the male genitals, but there have not been enough studies regarding this potential finasteride side effect.