What is male pattern baldness?
Male pattern baldness is the most common type of hair loss that takes place in almost all men at some stage. It affects more on men over the age of 50. This condition is also called androgenetic alopecia.
Most men overlook this condition while others wish to undergo some treatment to prevent hair loss. Normally it takes 15-25 years to become bald but some men go bald in less than five years.
In most men baldness starts with hair receding at the sides of the temples. The hair becomes thin on the top of the head and bald patches develop in the middle of the scalp.
The receding sides and bald patches eventually join together leaving a patch of hair in the front which eventually thins down. A small rim of thin hair is left on the back and sides. In some men this also disappears leaving the scalp completely bald.
Teenagers can be at a risk for baldness, but it more commonly occurs in adult men and increases as age advances. Genetics play a vital role in baldness.
What causes it?
The most common cause of male pattern baldness is Heredity which is harmless. This is also associated with the male sex hormones known as androgens. One of the functions of androgens is to regulate hair growth.
Follicles are holes in the skin from where each strand of hair grows. In normal course the hair grow for two to six years, then rest for few months and then fall out.
These are replaced by new growth of hair. In case of male pattern baldness the hair follicles become smaller, the hairs that grow are shorter and finer and eventually there is no growth of hair.
Other causes of hair loss can be some severe health problems. These can be suspected when hair loss is accompanied with rashes, redness, peeling of skin or patchy hair loss. Fungal conditions and nutritional deficiencies can also lead to hair loss.
There is no treatment for male pattern baldness. It is a normal aging process to become gradually bald and requires no treatment for most men. Some men may find baldness distressing if it occurs at an early age.
Hairstyle can hide limited hair loss
Wig or Hairpiece can cover the thinning hair, receding hairlines and complete baldness. They come in variety of styles, colors and textures that resemble the original hair of the user.
Weaves are type of wigs that are sewn into the natural hair. These weaves stay on the head during swimming, showering and sleeping. But they need to be sewn at regular intervals.
Topical medicine Minoxidil
It can be applied to the scalp to slow down hair loss and stimulate the hair follicles to grow more hair. This medication takes about four months to one year to grow hair and hair loss occur when the medicine is stopped.
Common side effects of minoxidil include dryness, burning, irritation and scaling of the scalp. There can be some severe side effects of the medicine which may require immediate medical attention.
These include swelling of the face, hands or abdomen, weight gain, difficulty in breathing while lying down, chest pain and fast heart beat.
It is an oral medication that slows hair loss in some men. It helps in blocking the production of the male hormone that is responsible for hair growth.
This is found to be more successful than minoxidil. The results normally occur in 4 -6 months, but if no results are seen within a year the medicine should be stopped.
Side effects of this oral medicine include depression, rashes, hives, itching, swelling of face and lips, breast growth and painful ejaculation.
It is the most expensive treatment for hair loss. It involves the process of taking hair from the hair growing areas and transplanting them to the bald areas of the scalp.
There is a major risk of infections and scalp scarring in this process. It requires multiple treatments in the course of time. The only advantage of this process is that the look is natural and permanent.