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Male Hair Loss

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Hair fall is a common problem today. Both men and women suffer from hair fall. Women tend to notice it more as the length of their hair is long. Even if few strands shed, it appears like a lot of hair fall has occurred. Men tend to notice it only when there is reduction in density of hair or in cases of recession of hairline.

When is hairfall significant?

Our hair are in different cycles of growth. There is a certain percentage of hair which is in a shedding phase daily. Hence, fall of 100 hair per day is considered to be within normal limits as these many hair are in shedding phase.

Hair fall is significant when:

  • More than 100 strands of hair is shed daily,
  • Visible bald patches develop
  • Appreciable reduction in density
  • Receding frontal hairline

Causes of hair loss

The causes of hair loss are broadly divided into two categories: cicatricial (scarring) and non-cicatricial (non-scarring).

In cicatricial alopecia, the hair producing cells get permanently damaged (due to burns or other skin diseases) and there is no chance of hair regrowth over that area.

Hair may regrow in non-cicatricial alopecia. The major causes of it are

  • Pattern baldness or androgenetic alopecia:- Male pattern baldness leads to a receding hairline and/or baldness over crown of the head. Female-pattern baldness causes the hair to thin in the front, on the crown, or on the sides.
  • Alopecia areata:- Usually presents as round to oval bald patches
  • Fungal infection of scalp:- more common in children
  • Tractional alopecia:- Hairstyles that pull on the hair, such as tight pigtails
  • Repeated hair pulling due to underlying psychological distress (trichotillomania)
  • Telogen effluvium which occurs 3-6 months after a stressor like febrile episode, trauma, pregnancy, etc
  • Anagen effluvium: -due to anticancer drugs

Androgenetic alopecia

Also called male pattern baldness, is most common cause of hair loss. The exact cause for this hairfall is not completely elucidated. There is an interplay between genetic factors and dihydrotesterone hormone. In the past decade, increasing number of young patients are developing androgenetic alopecia. The reason is not well known but is attributed to many factors such as stress and environmental changes.

Causative factors:

Hormones (androgens): Androgens are implicated in hair loss but the levels of these hormones are not elevated in these patients. The hair follicles are more sensitive to androgens leading to hair loss.

  • Local hormonal effects: The hormone does not have similar effect on hair follicles at all sites. The frontal and temple area is most affected.

Natural progression:

Many patients say that their scalp is not completely bald but the hair present do not grow long. This is miniaturization of hair follicles that is the roots of hair shrink in size. The hair become lighter in colour, thinner in girth and shorter in length.

Medical therapy administered at this stage can make the exisiting hair thicker and also reduce hair fall.

Unfortunately, there are no external factors which can delay the onset or completely halt the progression of baldness. Though, making certain lifestyle changes can have a positive effect on overall health and hence the hair as well. These changes include inculcating exercise in your daily routine, taking fruits and vegetables which are rich in fibre and proper night time sleep of atleast 6 hours.