Worried about losing your hair? Be calm, you’re not the only one suffering from this problem. We all are well aware that hair is an important characteristic of appearance which directly has an adverse impact on the self-confidence and can hamper the social life of the affected person.
Androgenetic alopecia (AGA), also known as male pattern hair loss, is the most common type of hair loss. Nearly all men have some hair loss by the time they are in their 60s. However, the age the hair loss starts is variable. About three in ten men aged 30 years and half of the men aged 50 years have significant balding.
A similar condition affects women but in a different pattern. In women, it tends to particularly affect the top of the head. It may also be a more general thinning of hair all over the head. Hair thinning in women is much more common after the menopause.
Before knowing about the various techniques used to restore hair, we must know what causes hair loss. Male pattern baldness is related to your genes and male sex hormones. The male hormone testosterone is the main culprit in this condition. It causes the hair follicles to become thinner (what is termed as miniaturization) and also shortens the growth phase.
Typically, at first, the hair begins to thin (recede) at the sides (temples). At the same time, the hair usually becomes thin on the top of the head. A bald patch gradually develops in the middle of the scalp. The receding sides and the bald patch on the top (the crown) gradually enlarge and join together, leaving a patch at the front. The patch at the front eventually thins as well. A rim of hair is often left around the back and sides of the scalp. In some men, this rim of hair also thins and goes to leave a completely bald scalp.
Investigations are usually not required with typical pattern hair loss. In cases with diffuse hair loss where the typical pattern is not obvious, thyroid profile to check hypothyroidism and complete hemogram to rule out anaemia may be required. In women especially those with severe adult acne, hirsutism and irregular menses, a hormonal evaluation may be required to rule out hyperandrogenism. A skin biopsy, blood tests, or other procedures may be needed to diagnose other disorders that cause hair loss.
Main medical management in men is topical minoxidil solution and finasteride tablets daily. While in women, in addition to topical minoxidil solution, antiandrogen therapy, topical estrogens have also shown a response.
Minoxidil, a solution that is applied directly to the scalp to stimulate the hair follicles. It slows hair loss for many men, and some men grow new hair. Hair loss returns when you stop using this medicine.
- Finasteride is a pill that interferes with the production of a highly active form of testosterone. This is linked to baldness. It slows hair loss.
If hair loss is very severe then only topical and oral medications are not sufficient to give a result. In this case, hair transplantation surgery is advised. In men, a good hair density is present in the donor area (back of scalp), unlike women in whom there is diffuse thinning of hair. Moreover, surgery is most effective in restoring frontal hair loss. Hair transplants consist of removing tiny plugs of hair from areas where the hair is continuing to grow and placing them in areas that are balding. Hair weaving, hairpieces, or change of hairstyle are alternatives for the person who is scared of hair transplant surgery and it may disguise the hair loss as well. This is usually the least expensive and safest approach for male baldness.