Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Alopecia - Male Pattern Baldness Causes and Prevention

Male pattern baldness or androgenic alopecia is a common problem that affects innumerable men due to various reasons. This type of baldness is often seen in males after the age of 40, wherein the hair loss is faster and more extensive. In this article, let us see the causative factors and how you can prevent male pattern baldness.
Physicians also refer male pattern baldness as “androgenetic alopecia”, which means that a combination of hormonal imbalance and genetic (hereditary) predisposition is required to diagnose this condition. However, the exact cause of this type of alopecia is unknown. 

What is male pattern baldness?

Androgenic alopecia is a condition in which a male suffers from progressive thinning of hair with falling that usually occurs in males aged 40 or more. However, this type of alopecia is affecting young adults, and as their age progresses, their hair fall becomes worse that may lead them to total baldness. According to healthcare experts, worldwide, 50% of men will suffer from this type of alopecia at some point, in which they will lose 75% of their total head hair. In androgenic alopecia, men may experience hair fall from the top, side or front of the head. However, men can prevent this type of baldness by visiting their physician as soon as they notice extensive hair fall.

What are the causes of male pattern baldness?

The main etiological factor associated with androgenic alopecia is hormonal imbalance. A male sexual hormone known as androgen helps in regulating hair growth. In androgenic alopecia, the levels of dihydrotestosterone (DHT), an androgen, is on the higher side due to hormonal imbalance. Due to excessive amount of DHT in body, men suffer from androgenic alopecia, thus it can affect young adults as well.
Other important causative factor that leads to male pattern baldness is genetic predisposition, which means people having strong familial history of androgenic alopecia have greater chance of developing this type of baldness. Alopecia can also occur due to some chronic underlying medical condition, scalp infections, nutritional deficiency disorders, thyroid problems, and bad effects of certain medications like cancer drugs, anabolic steroids, etc. 

How to prevent male pattern baldness

Innumerable men search for various medications, cosmetics, and techniques to overcome hair loss problem. Majority of them go for artificial hair transplant, but it is not a preventive step, though it is considered as the standard treatment for alopecia. The proper management of androgenic alopecia is to prevent thinning and falling of hair. 

·         Medications – Medications are available in the form of pill and topical application (solution) to prevent male pattern baldness. Pills are prescribed to block the secretion of DHT, and topical application to stimulate the hair follicles, which promotes re-growth of hair.

o   Finasteride:
Finasteride is a well-known drug prescribed by physicians for treating male pattern baldness. It inhibits the enzyme known as 5alpha-reductase – that converts testosterone into DHT. By inhibiting this enzyme Finasteride stops the conversion of testosterone into DHT; thereby decreasing the levels of DHT and preventing hair fall by slowing down the hair-loss process. Nearly, 90% of men experienced re-growth of hair with the help of Finasteride. It is important to use this drug with utmost care, because you may fail to get desired effects due to irregular treatment. Hence, it is recommended to consult your doctor before taking this medicinal drug.

o   Minoxidil:
Minoxidil is a topical lotion/solution that is applied directly on the scalp to prevent hair loss. You should apply it with extreme care, and follow the directions provided on the medicine leaflet. Minoxidil enlarges and stimulates hair follicle which helps promote hair re-growth. For satisfactory results, you should use this solution on regular basis. However, one may experience irritation, redness and flaking of scalp. In such case, ask your physician for further usage of the lotion. 

One can also use natural remedies to prevent male pattern baldness. Remedies such as saw palmetto, nettle root, mustard seeds, cinnamon and olive oil are found helpful in preventing androgenic alopecia. It is advisable to consult a well-qualified herbalist before using these natural remedies.

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