Male Pattern Baldness

Male Pattern Baldness: An Overview Image

Most men first notice the onset of male pattern baldness as a few hairs in the sink. Then it becomes a lot of hair in the sink and a receding hairline. Eventually, if it is not treated, male hair loss can become complete and permanent.

Male pattern baldness, or “androgenic alopecia,” affects an estimated 35 million men in the United States (U.S. National Library of Medicine, 2011). Some guys don’t care about losing the hair on their heads, while others find it devastating. Should you notice the early signs of male pattern baldness, you must first make a decision about your baldness: treatment or no treatment? Whatever you choose, it’s best to be educated about the causes of male hair loss and the treatments you have available.

What is Male Pattern Baldness?

Male pattern baldness is not a disease. Most male hair loss is caused by a combination of hormones and genetics as you age. Some men may experience male pattern baldness in their 20s or earlier; others don’t see male hair loss until much later in life.

Male pattern baldness is a thinning of the hairline in a predictable pattern–hair is first lost from the temples and the crown of the head. For some males, a ring of hair remains around the head, while others lose all of their hair. The results of male hair loss range from complete baldness to mild thinning of the hairline.

Male Pattern Baldness: Your Options

What you do about male pattern baldness is a personal decision. Some men are comfortable with letting nature run its course, while others try to hide it with hairpieces, hats, scarves or existing hair. Still others seek preventative baldness treatment as soon as they start noticing the signs of hair loss.

As you weigh your options, remember there is no cure for male pattern baldness; this is the natural progression your body is programmed to take. However, certain baldness treatments can slow or halt the loss of hair or, rarely, cause some to grow back. The most effective treatments for male pattern baldness are surgical and pharmaceutical.

Male Hair Loss and Your Health

In rare cases, male hair loss is the result of an underlying health problem. If you notice abnormal, abrupt or rapid hair loss, see a doctor, as this could be the result of a medical condition or the side effect of a prescription drug you’re taking.

Resources

Mayo Clinic Staff. (2010). Hair loss. Retrieved February 23, 2011, from http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/hair-loss/DS00278

Medline Plus. (2009). Male pattern baldness. Retrieved February 23, 2011, from http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/001177.htm

U.S. National Library of Medicine: Genetics Home Reference. (2011). Androgenetic alopecia. Retrieved February 23, 2011, from http://ghr.nlm.nih.gov/condition/androgenetic-alopecia