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Male Pattern Baldness Explained

Cause and treatment of male pattern baldness

Male Pattern Baldness (Androgentic Alopecia) is a genetic disorder that affects millions of men worldwide, causing them to lose their hair. In fact, Male Pattern Baldness is the leading cause of hair loss in men and it also affects women (on a much smaller scale).

What causes Male Pattern Baldness?

The causes of Male Pattern Baldness are complex, but we do know a few things about it:
  • It is hereditary. Typically, the gene that is responsible for it is passed down from the mother's side of the family.
  • Hormones such as testosterone and DHT play a major role in Male Pattern Baldness.
  • Genetically determined characteristics of the hair follicles cause them to get smaller with age, leading to the inability of the follicle to grow a hair.
What are the symptoms of Male Pattern Baldness?
  • The hairline begins to recede, eventually forming an "M" shape at the front of the head.
  • There will be a larger than normal accumulation of hair in the shower drain after each shower.
  • Hair comes out with the comb or brush during normal grooming.
  • The hair on the crown of the head will begin to thin out, forming a bald spot that eventually expands until it meets the receding hair line.
What treatments are available for Male Pattern Baldness?
  1. Drugs
    • Minoxidil (Rogaine) - This is a solution that is applied directly to the scalp. It stimulates the hair follicles, slowing the hair loss for many men, some of which even grow new hair!
    • Finasteride (Propecia or Proscar) - This is a pill (available by prescription only) that inhibits the production of the male hormone DHT, the build-up of which is the primary cause of hair loss in men with Male Pattern Baldness.

      Note: The loss of hair will resume if the patient stops using either of the above products.
  2. Surgery
    • Hair Transplantation - Hair follicles on the balding areas of the scalp are surgically replaced with those from areas that aren't affected by the Male Pattern Baldness, typically the side and back of the head.
    • Scalp Reduction - The balding areas of the scalp are removed, and the other areas of the scalp are stretched or grafted to cover the affected area.
Male Pattern Baldness can cause a loss of self-esteem, but it isn't at all harmful physically. It is more or less an issue of your personal image.

Unless you desire to try one of the above treatments for cosmetic purposes, you can simply let the hair loss process take its course with no detrimental effects to your health whatsoever.

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