Male Pattern Baldness (Androgenic Alopecia)

Male Pattern Baldness (Androgenic Alopecia)


What is Male pattern baldness?

Male pattern baldness, also called male pattern baldness, refers to the permanent loss of hair from the scalp that results in a bald head. In men suffering from male pattern baldness, hair loss starts from the crown of the head or top and then eventually, all the hair on the top and a little to the sides of the head will be gone.  Over 50% of men above the age of 50 years have male pattern baldness condition. If you are one of them and miss your hair, tried every medication available, then your last resort is a hair transplant surgery.

Is there something called female pattern baldness?

Yes, the issue is the same with women too. However, the loss of hair is little different in the case of female pattern baldness. Women’s hair starts to thin on the top and in the crown area. The front hairline starts to recede, making the forehead look bigger. However, the hair fall from the top doesn’t proceed to the front (like that happens in men), so women will still have hair in the front.

Male pattern baldness causes

  1. Genetics – If your dad or grandad had it, it is very likely, you will have it. Genetics is one condition that no one can do anything about losing hair. No matter what you apply or what medicines you take, the hair follicles on the scalp refuse to grow.
  2. Pollution and hot weather – Countries like India are usually hotter and major cities and towns are full of polluted air. Exposing your hair to pollution and heat can lead to hair fall and even baldness. 
  3. Application of strong chemicals via shampoo, conditioner or hair products – Hairstyling has become a trend. Be it with application of hair gels, colours, usage of chemicals filled shampoos, conditioners etc. They may make your hair look nice and super stylish but if you see hair falling off or thinning, note that your hair follicles don’t like what you are doing to your hair.
  4. Undergoing treatment for a different medical condition – Medicines used to treat some diseases such as cancer (chemotherapy) can cause the hair to fall. This doesn’t actually lead to baldness but all the hair on your head may be gone. Hair starts growing back once the medicines are stopped or changed. 
  5. Hormonal Imbalance – Conditions such as hypothyroidism can lead to hair fall. Good diet, healthy lifestyle, regular workout, living stress free as much as possible can keep your hormones in balance. 
  6. Infection of the scalp – Certain infections such as fungal can cause the hair to fall.

Symptoms of male pattern baldness

This is really a redundant section we feel. Losing hair, especially that on the top and near the crown which eventually leads to loss of hair on most of the head, leaving only the sides and back. Initially this may not be evident but if you compare your hair density, you will be able to realise the hair loss.

Male pattern baldness treatment

There are certain medicines your dermatologist or plastic surgeon may want to try initially to stop hair fall and grow it back. Such hair fall medications include minoxidil that is applied to the scalp, finasteride, which is an oral medication. These medicines have got their own side effects including weight gain, depression, rashes, itching etc.

If such medications are not effective, then the only treatment option for getting back the hair on your head is through hair transplantation.

What are the stages of male pattern baldness?

Baldness doesn’t appear overnight. It is a gradual process where hair loss starts from the crown area of the scalp and eventually expands on the top to the front of the head.

Stages of male pattern baldness:

  1. Thinning of hair on the crown and top of the head.
  2. Receding hairline as the hair continues to fall from the top.
  3. Complete hair loss on top, leaving thin hair on the sides and on the back of the head.

Hair transplant - a solution for male pattern baldness?

Hair transplant is an ultimate solution to get your hair back on top of your head. It is better to see a good hair transplant specialist near you before you lose the hair on the sides and the back of your head. Those areas are treated as donor areas and hair follicles are taken from those sites to plant on top of the head.

Cost of hair transplant may range between Rs.50,000 to Rs. 5,00,000 depending on the expertise of the doctor, hospital you choose and the area on your head that needs hair. The number of sessions needed also matters. Some hospitals also provide you with Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy, a few sessions after the surgery so that your healing is much faster and without any infections. 

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Watch out – Hair loss can be due to the sugar drinks

As per a study published in Nutrients, it was found that consumption of sugar sweetened beverages cause male pattern hair loss. Higher sugar consumption increased sugar concentration in blood. This triggers polyol pathways that convert glucose to other sugars. As a result the amount of sugar that is supplied to hair follicles goes down leading to hair loss.