Recently, I was made aware that people were considering using products that contained Minoxidil. I am a firm believer that everything in moderation is a good thing. However, I have been combing all day over the common, less common, and severe side-effects of using Minoxidil.
What is Minoxidil
Minoxidil is a vasodilator (the widening of blood vessels) used to treat high blood pressure (hypertension). Minoxidil is usually given together with two other medications including a diuretic (water pill).
Now any time you open constricted pathways there will be some effects. As such, any time you take a medication, you must consider the risk or introducing your body to new stressors.
Minoxidil has been told it will help grow hair. Yet, every single website, publication, and editorial say otherwise. Find out why Minoxidil is bad for Beards
Some common uses of Minoxidil is to treat Hypertension and alopecia areata.
Alopecia Areata: Topical minoxidil solution can induce hair regrowth in alopecia areata. When applied to the local area it can generate hair growth. (NCBI, 2004)
Hypertension: Also known as High blood pressure (HBP) is when your blood pressure, the force of your blood pushing against the walls of your blood vessels, is consistently too high. (AHA, 2019)
Hair Loss: Used to treat the progression of hair loss in men and women.
Common Side Effects
These common side effects are typically temporary or non-serious. If they persist you should consult a physician. However, it is important to note, before doing anything that has side-effects you should have already consulted a physician. Only You and your physician know what is right or wrong for you.
Body hair Growth: In general (legs, arms, scalp hair, and possibly unwanted facial hair around the eyes and upper cheeks)
Heart palpitations: Are the feelings of having a fast-beating, fluttering or pounding heart. Stress, exercise, medication or, rarely, a medical condition can trigger them. Although heart palpitations can be worrisome, they're usually harmless. (MAYO, 2018)
Chest Pain: Likely a result of the heart palpitations and are usually temporary.
Temporary Edema: Also known as swelling, especially during the first few weeks of taking this medication (RXList, 2018)
These side effects are very rare but can occur. If any of these side effects occur, it is recommended to stop usage immediately or consult your doctor. They can be an initial side-effect and have been noted that if the side-effects continue then you should stop using Minoxidil and seek medical attention; again, I cannot stress this enough, YOU SHOULD HAVE ALREADY SOUGHT MEDICAL ADVICE. However, here are the MOST-NOTED side-effects:
Diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, rapid weight gain, swelling of face, feet, hands, lip: This is an indication something is not right. As a result, your doctor will likely tell you to stop using Minoxidil immediately.
Allergic Reaction: Get emergency medical help if you have the following signs – Hives ; difficulty breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.
Changes in vision or decreased visual acuity: also known as Non-Arteritic Anterior Ischemic Optic Neuropathy (NAION) is a Loss of blood flow to the optic nerve due to swelling of the optic nerve head in one of your eyes
fluid build-up in the lungs: Pain when you breathe, feeling short of breath while lying down, wheezing, gasping for breath, cough with foamy mucus; or
severe skin reaction: Fever, sore throat, swelling in your face or tongue, burning in your eyes, skin pain, followed by a red or purple skin rash that spreads (especially in the face or upper body) and causes blistering and peeling.
Long term cardiovascular effects: Your body will adjust to anything you introduce to it. As a direct result, if you use Minoxidil for long term, you will make your heart unable to function properly without the mediation.
As I delved into the side-effects of using Minoxidil to treat Beard growth I browsed “Prolonged use of minoxidil”. The first result that populated was entitled “Could Topical Minoxidil Cause Non-Arteritic Anterior Ischemic Optic Neuropathy?” that was published by the US National Library of Medicine and the National Institute of Health. My first thought was, “Okay, this is interesting and likely credible. The Medical publication was a case study conducted as a result of a person who had no major Alcohol or Nicotine usage was showing symptoms of Non-Arteritic Anterior Ischemic Optic Neuropathy. The publication noted the common uses of this drug were used as a vasodilator for those diagnosed with hypertension Okay, I am not a doctor, never claim to be, so I Google searched each term:
- Non-Arteritic: Characterized Loss of blood flow to the optic nerve
- Anterior: Characterized by swelling of the optic nerve head
- Ischemic: Not-symmetrical
- Optic: Your Eye
- Neuropathy: Nerve Damage
Again, I am not a doctor, yet we all know what Hypertension is, it is your Heart.
Renal is also known as Kidney function. This is also known as your ability to urinate properly. As Minoxidil is a Diuretic one main side-effect is it will increase urination which reduces sodium and fluid in the body. One side effect of diuretics is a loss of potassium, which is carried out of the body in urine along with the sodium. Potassium is needed for proper muscular movement and a deficiency of this mineral can result in fatigue, weakness, leg cramps, and even problems with the heart.
Every single website, publication, and editorial all had one common conclusion, “Since minoxidil has no effect on the hormonal process of hair loss its positive effects are at best temporary and usually yield somewhat disappointing long-term results” (AHLA, 2010). Whether it was the American Heart Association, The US National Library of Medicine, or the American Hair Loss Association they all kept repeating the same thing, take it forever or learn to love the absence of results. Each study that was conducted noted that within 1 to 6 months that the results would deteriorate.
It is just Bad stuff with no real or permanent results. You will damage your body, and get nothing out of it.