What is hair loss?
Hair loss, also known as Alopecia, occurs in many different ways. Male pattern baldness is the most common type of hairloss, affecting at least half of all men by 50 years of age. It usually starts around the late twenties or thirties.
Male pattern baldness follows a pattern, starting with a receding hairline, followed by thinning of hair on the crown and temples. Though it is rare, it can even progress to complete baldness. This condition comes about due to a variety of reasons such as increased sensitivity, hormonal changes, and underlying medical conditions.
The condition often has an emotional impact on men, as they feel embarrassed and uncomfortable with their appearance. It rarely requires to be treated, however treatment is sought by many for cosmetic reasons, where hair loss can be prevented and sometimes even reversed.
Male pattern baldness can show in different ways, depending on whats causing it. Symptoms may appear suddenly or gradually.
Common types and symptoms for male pattern baldness include;
- Gradual thinning on top, this is the most common type, hair begins to recede from the forehead.
- Circular or patchy bald spots, causes smoothe, coin-sized bald spots.
- Sudden loosening of hair, handfuls of hair may come out when combing or washing your hair, causing overall thinning.
Almost everyone sheds 50-100 hair in a day. It usually doesn’t cause any noticeable thinning because new hair is growing in at the same time. However, hair loss occurs when this cycle of shedding and hair growth is disrupted or when the hair follicle is somehow destroyed.
There are numerous causes for male pattern baldness;
Oversensitive hair follicles
Causing hair loss very easily, it is linked to having too much of testosterone.
This is the most common cause of hair loss. It usually occurs gradually and in predictable patterns – a receding hairline and bald spots. Genes also affect the age at which you begin to lose hair.
Changes and imbalances in hormones can cause temporary hair loss, brought about due to conditions such as Thyroidism.
- Scalp infections – ringworms can invade the hair and skin of your scalp.
- Skin disorders – lupus or sarcoidosis
- Hair pulling disorder – irresistible urge to pull out hair
Certain medicines, such as for cancer, arthritis, depression and high blood pressure can cause hair loss.
A lot of people may experience a general thinning of hair after a physical or emotional shock. Further, risk factors include one’s family history, age, nutritional status and stress.
Hair loss can be easily diagnosed by your GP. He will likely take ask about your medical and family history.
Certain tests can be ordered to confirm the diagnosis.
- Blood test – to check for underlying conditions such as thyroid disease
- Pull tests – your GP might gently pull your hair to see how many might come out
- Scalp biopsy – samples from the skin or hairs may be assessed to determine the presence of an infection.
Hair loss rarely needs to be treated, it doesn’t lead to any further complications, however many seek treatment for cosmetic reasons. Treatments can be expensive and might not always work.
We can prescribe Finasteride, it works by preventing the hormone testosterone from being converted to the hormone dihydrotestosterone (DHT), causing hair follicles to shrink. Blocking its production allows the hair follicles to regain their normal size, preventing unnatural hair loss. It is usually prescribed for three to six months for any visible effect. Balding might resume if treatment is stopped.