GENETIC MALE HAIR LOSS
What does and does not cause hair loss in male patients? There are many rumors about what causes hair loss, but most are just that: rumors. In male patients, the most common cause of hair loss is fairly straightforward: genetics. However, many misconceptions persist. Some of the most common misconceptions are listed below.
- Frequent hat wearing
- Frequent sweating
- Frequent showering
- Cheap shampoos
- Frequent brushing/combing
- Daily (normal) stress at home or on the job
- Don’t take vitamins or supplements
- Poor dietary habits
- Poor hygiene
- Too much sun
- Not enough sun
None of these things are directly responsible for hair loss. While some of these things can potentially contribute to a healthy scalp and healthy hair, they are not the cause of genetic hair loss. And while genetic susceptibility is the most common cause of hair loss in male patients, it is not the only cause.
HERE ARE SOME VERY COMMON REASONS FOR YOUR HAIR LOSS:
- Trauma to scalp
- Significant body trauma
- Intense psychological stress
There are several other, possibly less common, causes of hair loss that are also not related to genetics. These can include:
- Hormonal imbalances: Hormonal changes, such as those that occur during menopause or pregnancy, can cause hair loss. Thyroid problems can also lead to hair loss.
- Medications: Certain medications, such as chemotherapy drugs, blood thinners, and birth control pills, can cause hair loss.
- Physical or emotional stress: Major life changes, such as surgery, a serious illness, or a death in the family, can lead to temporary hair loss. Chronic stress can also cause hair loss.
- Nutrient deficiencies: A lack of certain nutrients, such as protein or iron, can lead to hair loss.
- Autoimmune diseases: Autoimmune diseases, such as lupus and alopecia areata, can cause hair loss.
- Infections: Fungal infections of the scalp can lead to hair loss.
- Dermatological conditions: Certain skin conditions, such as seborrheic dermatitis and psoriasis, can cause hair loss.
It is important to see a doctor if you are experiencing hair loss, as they can help determine the cause and recommend treatment options.
GENETIC MALE HAIR LOSS OR “MALE PATTERN BALDNESS”
Genetic male hair loss is measured by the Norwood/Hamilton scale – a classification system that is used to identify the stage of male pattern baldness. It is named after Dr. O’Tar Norwood, who developed it in the 1970s. The scale consists of seven stages, ranging from stage 1 (mild hair loss) to stage 7 (complete baldness with minimal safe donor area remaining). The scale is commonly used by hair transplant surgeons to determine the best treatment plan for patients with male pattern baldness.
It is important to note that the Norwood scale is a rough guide and individual cases may vary. Some men may experience hair loss that does not fit neatly into one of the seven stages, or they may experience hair loss that progresses at a different rate. It is important to consult with a hair loss specialist to determine the best course of treatment for your specific case.It is important to note that hair loss patterns can vary from person to person and may not always follow the typical patterns described by Norwood.
- There are also several other tests that can help diagnose the cause of male hair loss. These may include:
- Blood tests: These can help determine if certain medical conditions, such as iron deficiency anemia or thyroid problems, may be causing the hair loss.
- Pull test: This test involves gently pulling a small amount of hair to see if it comes out easily. This can help determine if the hair loss is due to breakage or if it is occurring at the root.
- Scalp biopsy: A small sample of scalp skin is removed and examined under a microscope to determine the cause of the hair loss.
- However, classic genetic male hair loss is most commonly diagnosed by a simple visual exam performed by an experienced hair loss doctor.
There are several treatments for hair loss being offered by physicians to date:
- Hair Transplant
- Antiandrogen medications like finasteride (FDA approved) or dutasteride (off label)
- Minoxidil (topical form is FDA approved)
- Platelet Rich Plasma injection — unproven and not recommended
- Steroid injection – usually only for specific types of hair loss and not genetic loss
- Low Light Laser Therapy – unproven and not recommended
- Expensive Shampoos – unproven and typically not recommended (unless it is a shampoo containing ketoconazole)
Hair transplants are a surgical procedure that involves removing hair follicles from one part of the body, called the donor site, and transplanting them to a bald or thinning area on the scalp, called the recipient site. The most common type of hair transplant is called follicular unit transplantation (FUT), which involves removing a strip of skin from the donor site and separating it into individual follicular units, which are then transplanted to the recipient site. Another method, called follicular unit extraction (FUE), involves removing individual follicular units directly from the donor site and transplanting them to the recipient site.
The success rate of hair transplants is generally high, with most patients experiencing a significant improvement in the thickness and density of their hair. However, the results of a hair transplant can vary depending on the individual, the type of hair loss, and the skill of the surgeon.
It’s important to note that hair transplantation can be a very effective treatment for hair loss, but it’s not a one-size-fits-all solution. It’s best to consult with a hair restoration specialist to determine if hair transplantation is the right treatment for you. They will be able to evaluate your specific situation and advise you on the best course of action.