Male Pattern Baldness
Male pattern baldness (also known as androgenic alopecia) is the most prevalent kind of hair loss and affects most men at some point. By age 35, two-thirds of men in the United States experience hair loss to some degree, according to the American Hair Loss Association. By age 50, roughly 85 percent of men experience noticeably thinner hair. Some cases are more severe, while other men experience only mild hair loss. In the majority of cases, it begins with a receding hairline coupled with thinning hair on the crown of the head. As time goes on, the hair generally tends to get finer and thinner. Male pattern baldness is the result of genetics and hormones. The American Hair Loss Association reports that 25 percent of men who are affected begin losing their hair before the age of 21.
Treatment for male baldness
For men who wish to seek treatment, a variety of medications are available. Experts say that intervening as early as possible often renders the best results. Drugs like finasteride (Propecia) contain 5-alpha-reductase inhibitors. This helps prevent testosterone from converting to dihydrotestosterone (DHT). As a result, DHT levels go down. (DHT shrinks hair follicles and causes baldness.) Finasteride is considered a first-line treatment. Minoxidil (Rogaine) may also restore hair loss and help regrow some hair. However, the results can be mixed. The drug, which is non-hormonal, is thought to encourage thicker hair and increased strands.
According to the National Institutes of Health, hair transplants are another option. This involves removing plugs of hair from other parts of the body where hair growth is rich. Those plugs are then placed in areas that are balding. This typically involves multiple sessions and has been associated with minor scarring and possible infection. While male pattern baldness is not considered a medical disorder, the NIH reports that it can impact a man’s self-esteem and confidence.
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