Why Do Men Go Bald and How to Deal with It?
Several men of mature age usually get baldness, or androgenetic alopecia, also called male pattern baldness, a hereditary condition. You may wonder if there are other causes of baldness and if it is possible to reverse this trend. This article will discuss what causes hair loss in men and what treatments can decelerate the balding process.
Medical Causes of Baldness
In agreement with the American Hair Loss Association (AHLA), androgenetic alopecia is the main cause of baldness, accounting for over 95 percent of cases. This trait gives men a thinning crown and a receding hairline and is caused by a genetic sensitivity to dihydrotestosterone (DHT), testosterone’s byproduct.
Male pattern baldness is characterized by hair thinning and no other symptoms. The medical causes of hair loss do not usually have a predictable pattern. You may lose hair in a few spots or all over the body. The following are medical conditions that lead to varying degrees of baldness: Some types may be permanent, while you may reverse others. They include:
1. Alopecia areata
This affliction leads the body’s immune system to attack healthy hair follicles, resulting in hair loss. Hair falls out of your head in small patches; this can also affect other body parts. For example, you may have a bald spot in your eyebrows, eyelashes, or beard. The hair may never grow back.
2. Telogen effluvium
Excessive hair loss may sometimes be caused by a stressful event or a shock to the system. It usually occurs after two to three months. Another way one may lose hair is through an accident, drastic weight loss, psychological stress, illness, or surgery. Telogen effluvium does not cause permanent shedding because the hair may grow back within two to six months.
3. Nutritional Deficiency
Your body requires all nutrients to have good overall health. Lack of essential nutrients such as iron may lead to poor hair growth and baldness. Protein and vitamin consumption are critical for healthy hair growth. A deficiency of these nutrients may cause excessive hair shedding, leading to baldness.
Some medications may also cause hair loss. Some of the known medicines associated with baldness include:
- Chemotherapy drugs
- Antidepressants such as fluoxetine (Prozac) and sertraline (Zoloft)
- Acne drugs such as isotretinoin (Accutane)
- Anticoagulants such as warfarin and heparin
- Antifungal medications, in particular voriconazole
- Cholesterol-lowering medications such as atorvastatin (Lipitor) and simvastatin (Zocor)
- Blood pressure drugs such as ACE inhibitors and beta blockers
Hair Loss Treatments
Male pattern baldness can be treated by a range of products that you rub onto your scalp and by more invasive treatments that can restore hair growth or replace the lost hair. Some medications for baldness need a doctor’s prescription, while others are over-the-counter drugs.
The proven drugs to treat or avert male pattern baldness are minoxidil (Rogaine, loniten) and finasteride (Propecia, Proscar), and it may take more than 6 months to start showing results. Minoxidil is available over the counter, while a qualified medical practitioner must prescribe finasteride. Finasteride medication usually interferes with testosterone and DHT by inhibiting the 5-alpha reductase enzyme that converts testosterone to DHT.
Another 5-alpha reductase inhibitor is dutasteride (Avodart), also considered a potential treatment for male pattern baldness. If you want to know how to get testosterone prescribed, please consult a qualified medical practitioner.
2. Laser Treatments
You may also treat male pattern baldness with low-level laser therapy. This treatment is less invasive than a hair transplant and has proven tolerable and safe. There is less research concerning hair growth from laser therapy. However, studies show that laser therapy increases hair growth by about 39 percent.
3. Hair Transplant Surgery
Hair transplant procedures include follicular unit extraction (FUE) and follicular unit transplantation (FUT). FUE involves the removal of an individual’s hair follicles; the surgeon then makes small holes on the scalp where no hair is growing. The healthy follicles are then put into these holes.
FUT is where the surgeon removes a section of skin from the scalp where there’s still hair growth. This skin section is subdivided into tiny pieces known as grafts and inserted into the parts of the scalp where hair has stopped growing.
How to Keep Your Hair Healthy and Prevent Baldness from Other Causes
You can prevent baldness at the first sign of thinning hair by getting a hair loss treatment. Although it would be best if you kept your hair healthy and prevented baldness by doing the following:
- Regular scalp massages Scalp massage may stimulate hair growth or prevent further hair loss.
- Quit smoking. Smoking contains genotoxicants, which can harm the DNA of the hair follicle and cause baldness.
- Manage stress through meditation and exercise.
- A well-balanced diet rich in vitamins, protein, and iron is essential for proper hair growth.
- Take the proper medication. Sometimes your medication may be the main cause of hair loss. Talk to your physician about other options that may not negatively affect your body.