One disease that afflicts men, although non-fatal, is male hair loss (male pattern baldness, MPB). While most people do not really consider it as a “disease”, the condition affects a man’s self-confidence and esteem. Others may ignore hair loss, but for others, the experience can be devastating. Thus, its treatment is just as important as those for other diseases.
What exactly causes hair loss for males? There are many different causes. The most prevalent cause is genetic. This means that if your father or other male ascendants develop baldness as he grows older, then there is a big chance of you to go bald as you reach their age or earlier. This form of hair loss disease is also called androgenetic alopecia, which comprises 95% of male hair loss. While patterns become more evident at age 35, others develop hair loss at an earlier age of 20.
Some hair follicles are more sensitive to dihydrotestosterone or DHT than others. When sensitive, follicles miniaturize. Once miniaturized, its lifespan becomes affected, until it eventually does not produce hair anymore. DHT is a derivative of testosterone. A certain enzyme in the oil glands of the hair follicle aids in the conversion of testosterone to DHT. The goal, therefore, of treating hair loss is to suppress exposure of hair follicles to DHT in order to minimize or slow down the miniaturization process.
To diagnose male pattern baldness, its appearance or pattern as well as medical history of the incidence of hair loss in the family are analyzed. A device called a Norwood scale is used to classify the levels of hair loss. To further examine and assess the extent of miniaturization, a densitometer is used to magnify the scalp. It is important that proper assessment be made. With proper assessment, the doctor is able to recommend the more appropriate treatment for the baldness.
Other causes of hair loss are stress, medication and disease. When these causes are treated or absent, hair shall then grow back.
Treatments come in many forms. There are lotions that you apply directly on the scalp to stimulate the follicles. You can also take tablets that are likewise hair growth stimulators. It works by slowing down hair loss while stimulating growth of new hair. Other treatments are hair transplants. One word of caution though. Before taking any drug, make sure that it is FDA approved. And if you need to undergo surgery, the surgeon must likewise be licensed to perform any surgical procedure. Consulting a doctor is therefore extremely important, more so if there are other symptoms that go with it.
Male hair loss can be treated, if treatment is administered when hair loss is still in its early stage. If treatment is given at its early stage, chances are the follicles are not completely damaged yet, so there is still a chance of hair to grow out of it. However, once the follicle is damaged, hair loss becomes permanent. Bald men should not fret. While baldness was associated with ugliness in the past, Hollywood has shown us that bald men can be attractive and sexy as well. We see more good-looking bald men in the movies and in magazines now than there were before. So instead of hiding it under a hideous wig or a cap, why not leave it as it is.