Male pattern baldness- A ultimate guide: Progressive thinning of the hair on the head is the primary cause of baldness in both the genders. Androgenic alopecia also commonly known as the male pattern baldness is the most common type of hair loss that many men suffer from as they age.
Reports from the National Library of Medicine (NLM), the United States have registered that more half the population of the men over the age of 50 may be affected by male pattern baldness to some extent.
Reports from the Australian medical department also claim that significant balding will tend to affect about one in five men in their 20s, about one in three men in their 30s and nearly half of men’s population in their 40s.
The hair loss primarily begins at the temples and subsequently precedes to the hair at the crown of the head. In severe cases, hair loss is seen to progress over the entire crown of the head, with only a horseshoe pattern of hair remains around the back and sides of the head.
What Are The Factors That Cause Male Pattern Baldness?
Genetics plays a critical role in male pattern baldness. Testosterone is the pivotal male sex hormone that aids in the normal reproductive and sexual function. It plays an important role during male puberty, such as the development of the penis and testes, and facial and body hair formation. In the body, testosterone is converted to dihidrotestosterona (DHT) by an enzyme 5-alpha-reductase, this DHT acts on the different organs in the body which also include the hair follicles and cells in the prostate.
These genes passed are passed on through generations in some families and this is seen to make men prone to have androgenetic alopecia. The hair follicles are more sensitive to DHT in men with these passed genes. Hence the hairs growing from the follicles are seen to become thinner and shorter with each cycle of growth at a very young age.
Inherited male pattern baldness has minimal side effects. However, certain disorders like cancers, medications, thyroid conditions and anabolic steroids are directly linked to permanent hair loss. Therefore it is highly recommended to consult a physician if hair thinning is seen to occur post consuming new medications or if it is accompanied by other health complaints.
How is Male Pattern Baldness Diagnosed?
Healthcare providers use the pattern of hair loss to diagnose male pattern baldness. They may perform a medical history to rule out certain health conditions like fungal conditions of the scalp or nutritional disorders as the cause.
Health conditions can also be a cause of baldness wherein a rash, redness, pain, peeling of the scalp, hair breakage, patchy hair loss, or an unusual pattern of hair loss is seen to accompany the hair loss. Many doctors also perform a skin biopsy and prescribe blood tests to diagnose diseases that are responsible for the hair thinning.
What are The Treatments That aid in Combatting Pattern Baldness?
If the male pattern baldness is not caused by other health conditions then medical treatments are not necessary. However, many treatments are available for men who are not satisfied with their look and prefer to wear an appearance of a fuller head of hair.
The following techniques may be of great help for such folks.
The right haircut or hairstyle plays a pivotal role in hiding the hair thinning in men with limited hair loss. A professional hairstylist may help in sporting a creative cut that will aid in making the thinning hair look fuller.
Hairpieces that come in a variety of styles, colors, and textures. are known to cover thinning hair, receding hairlines, and complete baldness. For a natural look, stylist recommends choosing wig colors, styles, and textures that look similar to the original hair. A professional wig stylist will play a pivotal role in styling and fitting wigs that are known to provide a more natural look. The only downside of the wig usage is that it will need to be changed every 2-5 years at a cost of £500+ each time.
Wigs that are sewn into the natural hair are termed as weaves. An individual must have enough hair to sew the weave into it. The advantage of hair weaves is that they are seen to stay on, even during activities like swimming, showering, and sleeping. The disadvantages of hair weaves include repeated sewing every time a hair regrowth occurs which in turn is seen to damage the natural hair.
Minoxidil is a topical medication used on the scalp. It acts by not only slowing hair loss in some men but is also seen to stimulate the hair follicles to grow new hair. Visible outcomes are seen four months to one year post the use of this medication. Hair loss is seen to happen once the medication is halted or stopped.
Some of the visible possible side effects associated with the use of Rogaine include dryness, irritation, burning, and scaling of the scalp. One is recommended to visit the doctor immediately if he experiences any of the serious side effects mentioned below:
- Weight gain
- Swelling of the body parts that include the face, hands, ankles or abdomen
- Breathing discomforts when lying down
- Rapid heart rate
- Chest decongestion
- Labored respiration
Finasteride an oral medication that slows hair loss in some men is also termed as Propecia or Proscar. It acts by blocking the production of the male hormone responsible for hair thinning. Finasteride is observed to have a higher success rate than minoxidil. The hair loss is observed to return when an individual stops taking finasteride.
This oral drug is seen to produce visible outcomes post three months to one year of usage. If hair growth seizes to occur post a year, the doctor will most likely recommend stopping taking the pill. The side effects of finasteride experienced by many include:
- Breast growth and tenderness
- Swelling of the face or lips
- Painful ejaculation
- Testicles ache
- Erection dysfunction.
One of the rare side effects that can be experienced by ingesting finasteride is breast cancer. If a man experiences breast pain or lumps it should be evaluated by a doctor immediately.
Research indicates that Finasteride may affect prostate-specific antigen (PSA) tests that is regularly used to screen prostate cancer. The medication intake is seen to lower PSA levels, which in turn alleviates the normal readings. Any rise in PSA levels when ingesting finasteride pill needs to be evaluated for prostate cancer.
Hair transplants are the most invasive and expensive treatments available for the male pattern baldness. Here hair from scalp area with active hair growth is removed and transplanted to the thinning or balding areas of the scalp.
Predominantly multiple treatments are necessary and the procedure also is seen to carry the risk of scarring and infection. The only advantage of a hair transplant that makes most men choose it is that the transplanted hair is seen to provide a permanent natural look.
Transplanted hairs are not subjected to the follicle-thinning effects of male pattern baldness. But the old hairs are still seen to cling on, hence, one will need to continue a prevention program involving Propecia and/or minoxidil which makes this treatment even costlier.
Going bald can be a big change for many and some may also face trouble accepting their appearance. One needs to seek counseling if he experiences anxiety, low self-esteem, depression, or other emotional problems caused due to male pattern baldness.
A natural part of the aging process for men is going bald. Hence one can opt for various techniques that can aid in fighting it if he decides that’s the way to go.
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