Defeat the Pattern of Male-Pattern Baldness
Hair loss is a topic most men don't want to discuss. Yet it affects more than two-thirds of them by age 35. Nearly 85 percent of men will have thinning hair by age 50.
Everyone loses some hair each day. It's part of the normal hair-growth cycle. Excessive hair loss, though, can be caused by a number of reasons, such as an illness, hormonal changes, or certain medications. In men, the most likely culprit is male-pattern baldness, also known as androgenetic alopecia.
Despite what you may have heard, you can't solely blame your mother for male-pattern baldness. Such hair loss can be inherited from both parents. In fact, it's the result of a genetic variation that increases the level of a certain androgen, which is a type of hormone. A rise in the level of this androgen makes hair finer and shorter, eventually stunting growth.
Male-pattern baldness can start as early as the teen years, but it's more likely as a man ages. The condition usually starts at the temples. As the hairline recedes, it often forms an M shape. Many men also lose hair on the top of their head, which may eventually lead to baldness.
Male-pattern baldness can negatively affect all aspects of a man's life: self-esteem, relationships, and career. Fortunately, treatments to slow or even stop hair loss are available. For the best success, though, men need to talk with their doctor early, before significant hair loss occurs.
Two medications that help treat male-pattern baldness are minoxidil and finasteride. Minoxidil, better known as Rogaine, is put directly on the scalp. It has helped some men regrow hair, but it doesn't work for everyone. Another potential drawback: Men who start and then stop using it will begin to lose their hair again.
Finasteride comes in pill form. It's effective in stopping hair loss and spurring new hair growth in many men who use it. It works by lowering how much androgen a man's body produces.
Some men may also benefit from various surgical procedures, including scalp reduction or expansion and hair transplantation. Transplantation involves moving hair to the head from another part of the body. Better instruments and techniques have made this option much more effective.
Always talk with your health care provider to find out more information.