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Male pattern baldness: Know its causes and treatment

Male pattern baldness is associated with male sex hormones called androgens.

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DNA Web Team

Updated: Aug 30, 2022, 04:13 PM IST

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Baldness refers to an excessive loss of hair that usually affects the scalp. It is considered normal to shed about 50 to 100 hair daily with new growth replacing this hair. However, if the lost hair does not renew or come back thinner than the one that was shed, it eventually leads to baldness.

Men with male pattern baldness tend to develop a receding hairline and bald spots. In the early stage of male baldness, hair loss is noticed at the front of the head and gradually recedes to the back where the scalp in the upper and crown areas becomes more visible. Pattern baldness affects a majority of men at some age in their lives.

What causes male baldness?

One of the biggest causes of male pattern baldness is genetics or having a family history of baldness. Research has found that male pattern baldness is associated with male sex hormones called androgens. The androgens have many functions, and it also responsible for regulating hair growth. Androgenetic alopecia, male-pattern baldness happens as hormone levels change over the course of a man’s life.

There are 7 stages of male pattern baldness

Stage 1- In this stage, the person has a head full of hair, but there is a slight thinning of hair which is often not noticed or ignored.

Stage 2- Here, there is a slight recession of your hairline and this is generally called the adult hairline.

Stage 3- Now, this is where your baldness starts becoming noticeable. The hairline at the temples starts receding the future and it moves backwards.

Stage 4- In this stage, male pattern baldness becomes most evident. Your hair starts to recede even more, and it keeps pulling backwards. There is also a significant amount of hair loss on your head which looks like a bald spot.

Stage 5- In stage 5, as your hairline keeps pulling backwards, it is more or less like stage 4, but a little severe. The strip of hair between the hairline and the bald spot begins to slightly disappear and it becomes thinner.

Stage 6- Then comes stage 6, where there is no more hair strip of hair separating the bald spot and the hairline. The two of them join together and form the largest bald spot. Hair on the sides of the head, but the front area and the crown are mostly bald.

Stage 7- This is like full-blown baldness. The hair which is still growing on the sides is weaker and thinner than generally.

The earlier you begin to treat your hair loss, the better. Once the hair follicles start becoming dormant, the only option you will be left with is a surgical procedure. So, it’s always best to keep track and take action the moment you realise that you are losing your hair.

Treatment

Topical minoxidil (available without a prescription)- In clinical trials, minoxidil has been shown to reduce hair loss, stimulate hair growth, and strengthen existing strands of hair. While minoxidil can help, you’re unlikely to see full regrowth.

Finasteride (prescription medication): Finasteride has been shown to slow down further hair loss in about 80% to 90% of men taking it. Some men also see some hair regrowth, which tends to occur in men who start finasteride when they first notice signs of hair loss.

Some other treatments such as hair transplantation and low-level laser therapy can also be useful.

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