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NewsAnabolic Steroids and Alopecia: Is There a Relationship?

Anabolic Steroids and Alopecia: Is There a Relationship?

Synthetic versions of human hormones are known as steroids. Steroids provide many advantages for users, from bodybuilders and sportspeople to people with chronic inflammatory diseases. The two main categories of steroids, anabolic and corticosteroids, each have unique applications.

Are steroids causing hair loss? In terms of hair health, both have opposite effects on the health and growth of hair.

While corticosteroids work to reduce inflammation and its symptoms, anabolic steroids encourage an increase in the size and strength of muscles.

Steroids: What Are They?

Steroid medicines, a synthetic counterpart of adrenal cortex hormones, alleviate inflammation and control immune system activity. Steroids are synthetic hormones created by the cortices of our adrenal glands, which are positioned above the kidneys. The steroid is used in nasal decongestants to lessen airway inflammation brought on by asthma. In cases of arthritis, steroids are also utilized to treat joint discomfort.

Types of Steroids

Steroids can be divided into two basic categories by their physiological properties and the kinds of receptors they bind. Anabolic-androgenic steroids and corticosteroids are the two basic types. In target tissues across the body, the first category of steroids connects to the glucocorticoid receptors, while the second category of steroid drugs connects to the androgen receptors.

Anabolic-Androgenic Steroids

AAS are anabolic-androgenic drugs that work similarly to testosterone. The name “androgenic” alludes to the masculinizing impacts of these steroids, whereas “anabolic” denotes the ability to develop muscle. AAS exerts similar impacts on the target tissues by attaching to the androgen receptors, which typically connect testosterone and dihydrotestosterone (DHT).

AAS, often known as anabolic steroids, are composed of trenbolone, nandrolone, and oxandrolone. They are marketed as tablets and hypodermic syringes. The following justifications lead to their prescription or consumption:

  • As the steroids encourage protein synthesis, the muscular mass will quickly increase
  • Increased muscle mass improves muscle strength and endurance
  • Increased ratio of muscle to fat
  • Speed up the healing process after an accident, frequently when exercising
  • Encourage bone mineralization, improving bone density, toughness, and stress resistance
  • Patients with anemia receive AAS prescriptions from doctors because steroids boost the formation of their red blood cells
  • Beneficial for problems linked to hormone imbalances, such as delayed puberty
  • Develop secondary male sexual traits such as voice inflection, hair growth, and enlargement of the external genitalia.

Anabolic Steroids and Alopecia

Corticosteroids

Corticosteroids, also referred to as “steroids,” are artificial anti-inflammatory medications that operate similarly to the hormone cortisol produced by your adrenal glands. The corticosteroids can be obtained as oral medicines, topical lotions, nasal sprays, eye drops, intravenous injections, ear drops, and intramuscular injections.

Hydrocortisone and prednisone are two examples of corticosteroids. Corticosteroids suppress inflammation and the immunological response because they alter inflammatory mediators and white blood cell activity. This helps treat or manage diseases like rheumatoid arthritis, vasculitis, asthma, multiple sclerosis, systemic lupus erythematosus, and eczema.

Corticosteroids are crucial for defending internal organs against damage brought on by inflammation and enhancing a person’s general well-being.

The following is a list of typical adverse effects of this steroid:

  • A gain in weight as a result of fluid retention and the swelling that results
  • Corticosteroids may cause neurologic side effects such as restlessness, anxiety, and sleeplessness
  • Muscle weakness
  • Blurring of vision
  • The digestive tract may also be irritated by corticosteroids.

Alopecia Areata: What Is It?

We must first define hair loss to comprehend how steroids cause hair loss.

Alopecia areata is a condition in which the body’s immune system assaults the hair follicles, leading to hair loss. The condition may also affect the pigment layer of your eye’s retina and the nails. Anywhere on the body can experience hair loss or baldness, but hair loss patterns and regrowth need to be better established.

Corticosteroids’ Role in Alopecia Areata

One of the finest therapeutic techniques for alopecia areata is corticosteroid therapy. The following methods can be used to give corticosteroids:

1.      Intralesional Corticosteroids

Patients with alopecia areata respond well to this treatment. An effective corticosteroid (for intralesional therapy) is triamcinolone acetonide. Triamcinolone acetonide is injected hypodermically or intradermally at concentrations between 2.5 and 10 mg/mL.

2.     Topical Corticosteroids

To manage AA, topical corticosteroids in the form of creams, lotions, gels, and other products are used. Due to their limited pain threshold at the injection site, this therapy is frequently used on children. The topical treatment uses betamethasone propionate lotion and betamethasone valerate foam, with the foam producing a more potent effect.

Anabolic Steroid’s Role in Alopecia Areata

In the target tissues, anabolic steroids promote the formation of DHT. The anabolic and androgenic effects of steroids boost muscle mass and aid men in achieving their ideal physique, but they also have drawbacks.

The four phases of the typical hair growth cycle are as follows:

1.      Phase A (Anagen)

Anagen, or the growing phase, is the process through which cells in hair follicles multiply, causing the hair strands to grow and lengthen. Approximately 90% of a person’s hair is in the anagen phase at any given moment, lasting between two and seven years.

2.     Phase B (Catagen)

The transition period, also known as catagen, lasts for two to three weeks. The melanocytes and hair follicle cells stop producing melanin during this phase, and neither group of cells divides. The size of the hair follicles decreases, and they lose touch with the dermal papilla beneath.

3.     Phase C (Telogen)

The hair cycle enters the telogen, or resting phase, because the hair doesn’t fall out and stays in the follicle. The new hair that is growing in phase A (anagen) gradually pushes the hair that is in this phase (telogen) outward. This stage lasts for between three and four months.

4.     Phase D (Exogen)

During this stage, hair begins to fall out of the hair follicles. The thinning of the hair during this phase is also facilitated by hair manipulation, such as while washing, combing, or massaging the hair. The average hair loss rate during this phase, which lasts between two and five months, is between 50 and 100 strands per day.

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