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Male Pattern Baldness

Hair Loss Treatment Options

Most men experience hair loss, also called androgenetic alopecia. The condition is otherwise known as Male Pattern Baldness. It may take anywhere between 15-25 years to go completely bald. But, the process may take less time depending on other factors. Further, the onset of hair loss and explicit balding may vary from person to person. Most men have some amount of balding by the time they are in their sixties. However, hair loss treatment options are available.
 
About 30% of men in their thirties and 50% of men in their fifties experience visible balding.
 
In women, balding seems to start at the top of their heads. Also, they experience more of a general thinning all over the head. Sometimes menopause can adversely affect this condition. About 30% of women over 70 have suffered from hair loss.
 

The onset of balding in men

First, the hair thins and recedes at the temples. Simultaneously, the top of the head also experiences similar thinning of hair thickness. Gradually, a small bald patch appears on the top of the head. Then, the receding hairlines from the temples join the balding central patch.  This leaves behind a patch of hair in the front, which eventually thins out too. On the sides of the scalp and at the back, a rim of hair is sometimes noticeable. This also eventually thins. Consequently, the pattern may cause complete balding in men.

The cycle of hair growth

Hair grows out of tiny pouches just under the skin surface called hair follicles. A single strand of hair grows from each follicle which has a lifespan of around 3 years. The hair then sheds and a new hair grows out of the same follicle. This cycle goes on throughout one’s life.

Causes of balding in men

  • The follicles on the scalp become smaller or shrink in size over time.
  • This causes the new hair to be thinner than the last strand.
  • The average life of a strand of hair is also much shorter as the condition progresses.
  • The hair follicle becomes very small, only a thin stump of hair remains that does not exit the skin surface.

Balding due to male hormones

  • The scalp skin has some cells that aid in converting testosterone into a different hormone called dihydrotestosterone.
  • Hair follicles affected by balding develop sensitivity to this hormone, leading to shrinking follicles.
  • This condition is believed to be genetically transferred along the bloodline.

Outcome of baldness

Most times, young men who experience balding experience negative feelings. To add, balding can affect their general well-being and mental health state. Counseling can help them deal with it as a sign of aging. Balding directly increases the risk of sunburn and damage related to excessive exposure to the sun. Doctors recommend those dealing with balding to wear hats and sunscreens.
 
In women, higher levels of testosterone can cause balding. For example, a medical condition called Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) may cause a receding hairline. It may also cause premature balding in women.

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Hair loss treatment options for male pattern baldness

Coming to terms with balding can be difficult. But, it is important to remember that it is a natural process that comes with age. Hence, doctors suggest that people not try treatments offered by private clinics that promise lustrous growth of lost hair. They are usually not effective and turn out to be very expensive too. In addition, always check with a credible source or your general physician before you agree to such treatment.
 
Usually, gradual balding with age does not warrant any treatment. Routine hair care involving combing and washing of hair may resume unless otherwise advised. A visit to the salon and finding a style that makes you feel good about yourself will reduce balding induced stress. In brief, in the case of early onset of the condition of excessive balding, some treatments or artificial hair treatments can help.
 

Medication

Hair loss treatment options include medication. The two most recommended medicines for hair follicle growth are finasteride and minoxidil. They work by preventing testosterone conversion to dihydrotestosterone. Finasteride blocks the hair follicles from getting affected by balding. Thus, they can grow back to their normal size. But, the treatment is not always successful. Yet, some men have reported satisfaction with the results.

Side effects of finasteride
  • It is a slow process. Thus, it can take up to four months to notice any visible difference and even as long as 2 years for full growth of hair.
  • This is a long-drawn treatment. Abruptly stopping medication will also stop the effect of the treatment.
  • Very rarely, it may cause lower levels of libido or sex drive.
  • Most importantly, this medication is for men use only! Also, it is available only by prescription.
Minoxidil lotion for premature baldness

Minoxidil is an over the counter prescription which can be rubbed on the scalp. The 5% strength is intended for men only and is believed to be more effective than the 2% solution. There is no scientific study to prove its effectiveness in hair regrowth, but it is said to prevent further loss of hair.

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