Male Pattern Baldness

What is Male Pattern Baldness?

Most men when they pass the age of 30 years notice a loss of hair on their heads.  About half the population of men over the age of 50 years have some noticeable hair loss.  The hair loss usually starts around the temples, then the crown, followed by loss of the widow’s peak and finally leaves hair only around the sides and back of the head.  This is referred to as male pattern baldness or androgenetic alopecia.  This loss of hair usually occurs over 15 -20 years but can occur as fast as 5 years.

How does this happen?

Testosterone is needed in men to maintain normal bone and muscle health, reproductive and sexual function and good mental health and wellbeing.  This type of hair loss is a result of the hair follicles becoming sensitive to testosterone.  In some men, usually due to inherited genetics, the hair follicles become more sensitized resulting in the hair follicles become miniaturised with the subsequent failure of hair growth.

There are other types of hair loss that are not related to testosterone and genetics.  They include:

  • Involutional Alopecia: this is the age-related thinning of hair that occurs
  • Alopecia Areata: this hair loss can be patchy or complete. It is related to an autoimmune response of the body that attacks hair on the body.
  • Anagen Effluvium: this is loss of hair related to chemicals, often chemotherapy or radiotherapy.   Usually most of the hair grows back after about 3 months
  • Telogen Effluvium: this is hair loss related to hair not progressing past the resting phase of growth. It often occurs post stresses such as surgery, illness or other major stresses.
  • Traction Alopecia: this hair loss is result of constant tension being placed on hair, like this who have tight hair styles.

How do I fix it?

Male pattern hair loss is not an illness and is often considered a normal part of aging.  No treatment is an acceptable method of treatment.  Other options include

  • Differing styles of hair fashion
  • Use of a wig
  • Medications
  • Light therapy
  • Surgery

The most appropriate treatment option should be discussed with your GP. They will offer counselling regarding differing treatments and may suggest a referral to a dermatologist for further advice.

Where can I get more information?