Male Pattern Baldness

Male pattern baldness is a very common condition that eventually affects most men. It is a pattern of hair loss also known in scientific terms as androgenetic alopecia. Hair loss is progressive and men usually go bald after a period of 15 to 25 years. It can also be a lot faster in some men, who lose all their hair in five years or less.

In most cases, male hair starts to become thin at the temples (the sides of the scalp). Another area where baldness can begin is the top of the head. The condition progresses slowly and the patch without hair expands on the scalp. Eventually, the areas without hair on the sides and on top merge and create a larger area of baldness, while a patch of hair survives in front. This patch becomes thin and disappears as well, in time. Some men lose their hair completely and become totally bald. However, some hair usually remains at the back of the head and along the sides of the scalp.

According to studies, male pattern baldness is sometimes connected with a number of diseases, some of them severe. These include heart diseases (coronary) and prostate issues. It can be a side effect of high blood pressure, insulin-related problems such as diabetes or obesity or prostate cancer. Women normally lose their hair in a different pattern. In women this kind of hair loss can be a sign of vulnerability to the polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). This is a hormonal disturbance that can also have other symptoms such as too much body hair, weight increase or erratic menstruation.

Men can lose their hair for many different reasons but the most common cause is male pattern baldness. Most often, the cause is genetic and is transmitted from father to son. However, there are other possible causes for hair loss, such as traumatic events, side effects of aggressive medication or very serious diseases.

People who develop male pattern baldness usually inherit from their fathers hair follicles sensitive to dihydrotestosterone (DHT). These start to become smaller and every sensitive follicle has a shorter lifespan. At some point, these vulnerable follicles no longer produce hair at all.

In most cases, the trademark of male pattern baldness is a thin crown and a retreating hairline. DHT seems to have the worst effects on the hair located on the temples and the top of the scalp. The hair becomes thinner in time and eventually the entire top of the scalp becomes bald. When hair loss becomes severe, the remaining areas of hair have a distinctive "horseshoe" shape. However, some men continue to lose hair and even this remaining area can become bald in time.

Dihydrotestosterone (DHT) is a compound related to the hormone testosterone, being a by-product of it. Using the enzyme 5-alpha-reductase, testosterone becomes DHT. Research has revealed that DHT is to blame for the lost hair follicles, which remain healthy if the action of DHT is neutralized. However, the exact genetic transmission of male pattern baldness is not completely clear.

Even if a follicle is sensitive to DHT, the hormone needs a long time to damage it and make it smaller. This is a big advantage due to the modern medical advances. If action is taken early, the process of hair follicle miniaturization can be stopped completely or at least slowed in most cases.

What causes male pattern baldness?

It seems that the most important risk factor for male pattern baldness is genetic inheritance and people with a family history are very likely to lose their hair. Biologically, baldness is caused by imbalance of the androgens, or male hormones. These have numerous roles, one of them being to tune the growth of hair.

The hair also falls naturally, as part of its normal growth cycle. However, in male pattern baldness, the hair gets weaker with every cycle, becoming shorter and thinner. At some point the follicle no longer grows any hair at all, and the cycle ends for good, the result being baldness.

Usually, there are no significant medical problems linked with inherited male pattern baldness. Sometimes, baldness is not inherited but caused by a number of very serious problems. These can be aggressive medication, some forms of cancer, steroids or thyroid diseases. If you suspect that you are losing your hair due to medication or disease, contact a doctor immediately.

Male pattern baldness is normally diagnosed by monitoring the progression of hair loss. Doctors will also look at the medical history of the person, in order to investigate other possible causes. These can be eating disorders or a fungal infestation of the scalp. When the pattern of hair loss is irregular, the hair falls in patches, or the scalp is affected by pain, redness or rashes, it is quite possible that other health issues are responsible for hair loss. Doctors also have more detailed investigations at their disposal, such as skin biopsies or blood tests.

What are the treatment options for male pattern baldness?

Male pattern baldness is usually a normal effect of aging and most men are affected by it. Usually, there is not effective treatment available. Baldness can be a very disturbing problem for esthetic reasons, especially if it starts at a young age. In such cases, Elma 11 Scalp and Hair Revitalizer can be one of the most effective forms of treatment.

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