DHT, short for dihydrotestosterone, is a hormone that is typically associated with male sex characteristics like body hair or a deep voice. DHT levels can vary from person to person, and issues may arise if levels are too low. According to the Hormone Health Network, low levels of DHT in men going through puberty are correlated with not being able to develop normal hair growth or experience normal sexual development.
“The other setting where DHT concentrations are low is when men take drugs such as finasteride or dutasteride,” Bradley Anawalt, MD, tells WebMD Connect to Care. These drugs can act as blockers for DHT and prevent them from reaching normal levels. To understand what to look out for, here are four symptoms of low DHT you should be aware of.
Loss of Body Hair
DHT is the main hormone responsible for facial hair, body hair and pubic hair, so low levels of DHT are correlated with hair loss. Once the hair falls out, it will not come back without proper treatment.
Breast development is the result of high levels of estrogen, and normal DHT levels prevent estrogen levels from becoming too high. Low DHT levels mean an increase in estrogen levels, which can lead to breast development.
Decreased Sexual Desire/Libido
For men taking any DHT blocking drugs, Anawalt says: “About 1% of men have been reported to have low libido”—sexual desire—”or erectile dysfunction.” These sexual dysfunctions eventually go away after discontinuing use of the drug.
Increased Weight Gain
DHT affects muscle strength and your body’s ability to keep a lean muscle mass, so low levels of DHT can lead to unexpected weight gain. A 2018 study by the University of Helsinki found that, in pairs of twins where one was heavier than the other, the heavier twin had lower levels of DHT than their leaner sibling.
What Should I Do If I Think I Have Low DHT?
When seeking treatment for low DHT, Anawalt says, “Seeing a clinician who is skilled in the treatment of mood disorders and sexual dysfunction is optimal. It also might be useful to have one to three visits to an endocrinologist”—a doctor who specializes in glands and hormones—“who can perform an expert assessment for testosterone deficiency.”
Don’t Wait. Get Help Today.
The sooner you address the symptoms of hair loss, the better chance you have of preventing irreversible damage. Speak to a medical professional today to begin your journey to a fuller head of hair.