I’m an Athlete and Concerned That DHT Plays a Role in Strength and Aggression

Hi, I have a couple of questions about finasteride, if you have any answers they’d be very appreciated:

– Does finasteride shrink the prostate even in men with a normal prostate (no BPH)? Are there any studies available for this?

– I have read that although finasteride is said to increase testosterone, it actually decreases free/bio-available testosterone which is more important than total testosterone for muscle strength/libido etc (see here). This worries me because as much as I want to save my hair, I am also an athlete and want to be at my peak. Could you comment on this?

– Along the same lines, do you have many patients that are sportsmen using propecia without side effects or reduction in their performance (particularly those in more ‘physical’ sports)? Apart from the ‘free testosterone’ theory, I have heard that DHT plays a role in strength/aggression etc.

Many Thanks for taking the time to read. I find it so frustrating that there isn’t more information on the subject and when I do find something I can’t be sure to trust whether it is a study which should be considered valid or not.

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I don’t know if finasteride shrinks a normal prostate, though since it is used to treat enlarged prostate it can be inferred that there is the possibility of some effect. I don’t have any studies to refer to off the top of my head, but there have been many studies done relating to finasteride and BPH… so if someone has links to studies that this reader is requesting, please feel free to share.

From a practical point of view, I do not know if taking finasteride will negatively impact your overall physical strength. I would doubt that you would see an impact from reducing your DHT, but everyone is different and this opinion is not universal across the board. I don’t recall any of my more athletic patients mention their athletic performance being limited after taking the medication.

On the flip side of the coin, finasteride/Propecia was once banned in professional sports by the World Anti-Doping Agency due to a similar idea that it may enhance performance or mask steroid use. It does not and it is not banned in professional sports anymore.

Tags: propecia, finasteride, hairloss, hair loss

7 thoughts on “I’m an Athlete and Concerned That DHT Plays a Role in Strength and Aggression

  1. Hi, I’m a sprinter and use propecia. As Ive mentioned before I did notice a drop in libido on starting the drug which alleviated over several months and has not quite returned to pre drug levels. My natural affinity for higher DHT though meant I had a very high sex drive which I accept may be impacted by reduced DHT.

    DHT is part of aggression but I have not lost any sense of competitive drive. If anything getting my full head of hair back actually improved my mood and confidence and seemed to improve my ability to control and focus myself. Hair loss, rightly or wrongly, impacted my self belief and was a distraction from dedicating myself.

    DHT is not blocked entirely by propecia and although I did notice an early tendency towards higher fat gain this receded quickly. I have maintained my explosive power and lift loads and even progressed further since I have been on propecia. I know other athletes who have similarly had no problems gaining muscle, maximising force and who compete at a high level.

    I suspect that the severe side effects hit around 2% of users which is probably an indication of how many athletes also find a DHT inhibition affects them directly.

    I do know some men in the MMA/fighting arenas who have used DHT based steroids to solely enhance aggression so there is probably something to it if a more aggressive style is required. Personally I feel propecia is unlikely to impact your performance in any noticeable way. I found many other common medical prescriptions had a more profound impact on my training.

    Sorry it may not be a scientific overview and this is just anecdotal but I feel you’d be worth talking to your doctor about propecia, try it or a part dose, if you do experience side effects that negatively impact performance you can always cease using and accept hair loss. Personally the confidence and increased ability to focus on my self belief and functioning from seeing my hairline restored was more than worth it.

  2. I’m not clear why the poster is interested in whether finasteride shrinks the prostate in men with a normal prostate. But, there are no published studies evaluating this for two reasons. First, there would be no basis for conducting such a study (in normal individuals). More importantly, there would be no ‘outcome measure” that one could evaluate. In other words, in patients with BPH, the prostate isn’t actually measured. The improvement of urine flow and less “post-void residual in the bladder” (amount of urine left in the bladder after urinating) by ultrasound is logically assumed to be from alleviation of obstructive prostate disease. Men with normal prostates, of course, have normal urine flow and no evidence of post-void residual on bladder ultrasound.

  3. I am the OP of this question.

    Paul – thanks for the great info.

    Biotech – My reason for asking about the size of the prostate is because the prostate is important to sexual function I believe. It concerns me to shrink it beyond normal size…I am young so I would be using this over a long period potentially. It seems that pretty much anyone I have spoken to about fin has got watery semen and nobody seems to know why this is. There are so many unknowns about the why the side effects of fin happen – i don’t understand it really.

  4. Hi again,

    I experienced a drop in semen volume certainly not extreme but noticeable. DHT does have an effect on a lot of tissues in the body, from skin oils to prostatic fluids, so I expect it could be lowered DHT. In the men I know who’ve used non converting steroids this is a common side effect as well. I’m guessing the disruption in DHT is just the same from a different pathway.

    My beard growth actually became slightly softer for the first year but it returned to normal
    After that. I expect any time you alter a hormone level you’ll see some tissue changes.

  5. Tim
    As I understand it, your question is not really does finasteride shrink the prostate in normal men but, rather, does it have a side effect of decreased semen (and decreased fertility) in men without BPH (such as you). These events can be completely independent. That is, while there is no evidence that finesteride shrinks the prostate in men who do not have an enlarged prostate, the labeled possibility of decreased semen occurs in men with or without BPH (ie “shrinking” the prostate is not directly related to this side effect). The real issue – I suspect – is whether this infrequent occurrence (decreased semen) has anything to do with decreased fertility, and I am not familiar enough with the data to know.

  6. I don’t have kids but I know plenty of men who have had fertility tests done fine with finasteride. The decrease in seminal fluid seems to be an actual fluid change not related to the production of sperm.

    Like I say I’m not a doctor I’m an athlete so I’ll leave the medical statements alone after this. I know on a lot of the anti-propecia forums the statement is often used that seminal fluid production is related to the prostate and that lower DHT levels mean your prostate tissues are less able to produce the normal level of fluid. I suspect this is simply because DHT is a primary androgen and accelerates tissue production of fluids that are androgenically dependent, from skin sebum to prostate fluid. But unlike testosterone analogue steroids which can lead to hormonal shutdown, I doubt finasteride has much if any effect on fertility. I know a lot of men say they have less oily skin, watery semen, softer body hair/beard growth etc. I expect it depends on your own tissues response to DHT.

  7. As I have mentioned before, I am a little puzzled by Biotech MD’s inaccurate responses.

    The Proscar literature shows that the average prostate volume decreased by about 20% for a BPH study. Of course, the prostate side will also shrink for those with healthy prostates as well but for most men this does not pose a problem. For the Proscar study, an MRI was performed to ascertain the change in volume before and after treatment.


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