What Causes DHT to Increase?

Reviewed on 7/27/2022
Man looking in the mirror at his balding hair
Increased DHT (dihydrotestosterone) can be caused by conditions such as benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), prostate cancer, male pattern hair loss (androgenic alopecia), and excessive male-pattern hair growth in females (hirsutism).

DHT (dihydrotestosterone) is a type of androgen, a male sex hormone, that stimulates the development of masculine characteristics such as body hair, muscle growth, and a deep voice.

  • About 10% of an adult’s testosterone is converted into dihydrotestosterone by the testes and prostate (in men), the ovaries (in women), and the skin and other parts of the body.
  • Increased DHT production is believed to be responsible for the beginning of puberty in boys, causing development of the penis, testes, and scrotum, and pubic and body hair growth. 
  • DHT is also necessary for prostate growth in men, and it is thought to combine with testosterone to cause the expression of male sexual behavior and to maintain a sex drive in men. 
  • DHT also plays a major role in male-pattern baldness.
  • In females, DHT causes body and pubic hair growth seen in girls after puberty.

Excess testosterone production can cause DHT to increase. Conditions that exhibit increased DHT activity include:

What Are Symptoms of Increased DHT?

Males who have high levels of DHT (dihydrotestosterone) may not have symptoms.  When symptoms of high DHT occur in males, they may include: 

Symptoms of high DHT in females may include: 

  • Increased male-pattern hair growth (hirsutism)
  • Absent menstrual periods (amenorrhea
  • Acne
  • Depression 
  • Abnormal changes to genitalia 

Higher levels of DHT can also have some positive effects, such as: 

How Is Increased DHT Diagnosed?

  • DHT (dihydrotestosterone) levels can be measured with a blood test.

What Is the Treatment to Increase DHT?

Treatment to increase DHT is testosterone replacement therapy. 

There are also some lifestyle changes that may help increase the body’s natural production of testosterone, and thus DHT, such as: 

Talk to your doctor before taking any supplements as they may have unwanted side effects or interactions with medications you take. 

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Reviewed on 7/27/2022

Image source: iStock Images