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Androgenetic alopecia as an early marker of benign prostatic hyperplasia.

BACKGROUND: Androgenetic alopecia (AGA) and benign prostatic hyperplasia are both androgen-dependent entities that respond to the blocking of 5-alpha-reductase.

OBJECTIVES: The objective of this study was to determine whether prostatic volumes and urinary flow changes were higher in patients with early-onset AGA than in healthy control subjects.

METHODS: This was an observational case-control study of 87 men: 45 with early-onset AGA diagnosed in the dermatology department and 42 control subjects. End-point variables were prostatic volume, measured by transrectal ultrasound, and urinary flow, measured by urinary flowmetry. A hormone study was performed on all participants, and the International Prostate Symptom Score and International Index of Erectile Function score were determined.

RESULTS: The groups did not significantly differ in mean age (cases, 52.7 years vs control subjects, 49.8 years; P = .12). Patients with AGA had significantly higher mean prostate volume (29.65 vs 20.24 mL, P < .0001), International Prostate Symptom Score (4.93 vs 1.23, P < .0001), and prostate-specific antigen value (1.53 vs 0.94 ng/mL, P < .0001) and significantly lower maximum urinary flow (14.5 vs 22.45 mL/s, P < .0001) versus control subjects. Binary logistic regression analysis showed a strong association between the presence of AGA and benign prostatic hyperplasia after adjusting for age, urinary volume, urination time, International Prostate Symptom Score, abdominal obesity, glucose levels, systolic blood pressure, insulin levels, fibrinogen, and C-reactive protein (odds ratio = 5.14, 95% confidence interval 1.23-47.36, P = .041).

LIMITATIONS: The study of larger sample sizes would facilitate stratified analyses according to the Ebling type of androgenetic alopecia.

CONCLUSION: There is a relationship between the presence of AGA and prostate growth-associated urinary symptoms, likely attributable to their pathophysiological similarity. This study suggests that early-onset AGA may be an early marker of urinary/prostatic symptomatology. Future studies may clarify whether treatment of patients with AGA may benefit the concomitant benign prostatic hypertrophy, which would be present at an earlier stage in its natural evolution.

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