Why do men lose their hair?
Hair loss is a condition that affects up to two-thirds of UK men to varying degrees. While hair loss is completely painless, and does not have any physical side effects or complications, there are cultural and social issues associated with male baldness. Most men strongly dislike losing their hair and experience emotional distress, or even psychological problems. Hair loss may (mistakenly) be regarded as a sign of premature aging. Hair loss is known to be a difficult and sensitive issue for sufferers, especially if they worry that it is making them less physically attractive.
What are the causes of male hair loss?
The natural causes of hair loss with men are not fully understood, but it is known that sufferers have a genetic predisposition to the condition that is influenced by the male hormone called dihydrotestosterone. Hair loss may also be affected by diet and stress levels.
The hair on your head has a natural growth and replacement cycle. Each hair goes through a growth phase, a transitional phase, and a shedding phase. Hair loss occurs when hairs that have naturally fallen out are not replaced by the body. Hair loss is cumulative with age, leading to partial or total baldness in susceptible individuals.
Hair loss is also caused by certain prescription medications for conditions including cancer, hypothyroidism and HIV/AIDS. Fungal infections, sarcoidosis and some autoimmune conditions may also result in hair loss. Hair loss in these cases is usually dealt with as part of a wider treatment plan.
Myths about the causes of hair loss
Hair loss is not caused by any of the following:
- Premature aging
- A high sex drive or virility
- Superior or inferior intelligence
- Overtraining in the gym
- Emotional or psychological problems
What are the symptoms of male hair loss?
The symptoms of baldness are self-evident. They usually begin with the gradual thinning of the hair above the temples and around the hairline of the forehead. This may progress to include the top of the head and result in a complete loss of hair in affected areas.
Everybody reacts differently to hair loss. Some men shrug it off and simply shave their heads, or favour a very short hairstyle. Other men are deeply affected and may seek treatment for their hair loss, even opting for wigs or hair transplants.
- Embarrassment and anxiety
- Negative body image
- Social phobia
- More severe psychological problems
If you’re experiencing hair loss and suffering distress as a consequence, you may wish to explore treatment options including, Finasteride or Propecia.
How is Hair Loss Diagnosed?
If you are a man suffering from hair loss it will become noticeable when you look in the mirror. Usually the first signs will be thinning hair around the temples or hairline above the forehead. If you are losing hair on the top of your head, your barber or partner might be the one to point it out.
Male pattern baldness is a very common condition that doesn’t cause any physical side effects. But if you experience sudden, or patchy hair loss, it may be worth mentioning it to your GP and checking that it isn’t a symptom of another physical condition.
What are the treatments for hair loss?
There are a number of treatments for hair loss that range from alternative herbal treatments and diet supplements, to surgical hair transplants. Although diet may be a contributing factor to hair loss, there is no evidence that herbal or vitamin supplements alone can reduce hair loss.
Hair transplantation is a surgical procedure that transplants hair follicles from areas of the scalp or body that are genetically resistant to baldness, and grafts them onto bald or thinning patches. Hair transplant doctors claim a high success rate but these claims are hard to quantify. The high cost of hair transplantation often puts the procedure out of reach of most patients.
Most people who are serious about stopping or reversing hair loss will end up opting for a long term approach using a prescription medication such as Finasteride or Propecia.
Propecia and the generic medicine Finasteride both use the active ingredient finasteride to keep your hair on your head. Prolonged use may also result in new hair growth. A daily tablet works to lower the levels of the male hormone dihydrotestosterone (DHT) in your scalp. DHT is responsible for decreasing the growth phase of new hair and reducing the replacement of naturally shed hair.
How do I prevent hair loss?
Scientists are working on developing and improving hair loss treatments all the time. The condition is still not fully understood. Until there is a new scientific breakthrough, it will not be possible to prevent hair loss. At this point in time, it can only be treated.