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Male Pattern Baldness - Causes

Male pattern baldness is the most common cause of hair fall in men. According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, more than 50% of all men over 50 years of age will be affected by male pattern baldness to some extent.

The most common cause of male pattern baldness is heredity. Having a family history of hair loss or baldness is an important cause of hair loss in men.

While heredity is a major reason of hair fall in males, it is not the only reason. There are many other factors that are reasons for hair fall in men.

Reasons for Hair Loss in Men

1. Hormonal Changes

Male pattern baldness is associated with the male sex hormones known as androgens. The androgens are responsible for many functions in the body. Regulating hair growth is one of them. Male pattern baldness adversely affects the hair growth cycle. It causes the hair follicles to shrink and produce shorter as well as finer strands of hair. Eventually, the growth cycle for each hair ends and no new hair grows in its place, making it a pivotal cause of hair loss in men. Changes in the thyroid hormone levels can also act as a reason of hair fall in males.

2. Medical Conditions

An important cause of hair fall in men is alopecia areata. It is an autoimmune condition in which the immune system mistakenly attacks the hair follicles. This results in hair loss in patches. Scalp infections such as ringworm can also be a reason of hair fall in males. The infection can penetrate deep into thehair shaft, cause itching and even cause hair to break off at the surface of the scalp or just above it. A hair-pulling disorder called trichotillomania is also a cause of hair loss in men. This condition causes compulsive urges to pull out hair from the scalp, eyebrows or other areas of the body. Scalp psoriasis can also act as a cause of hair fall in men. The condition doesn’t cause hair loss by itself. But excessive scratching, picking at the scaly spots, harsh treatments and increased stress can lead to temporary hair loss.

3. Supplements and Medicines

Certain ingredients in some medications and supplements can act as a cause of hair loss in men. Medications prescribed for arthritis, cancer, heart problems, depression, high blood pressure and gout may cause hair fall as a side-effect. This occurs because the medicines interfere with the normal cycle of hair growth. When it comes to medications, two types of hair loss can act as a cause of hair fall in men – anagen effluvium and telogen effluvium. Anagen effluvium refers to the hair loss that occurs during the growth phase of the hair. Telogen effluvium causes the hair follicles to prematurely go into the resting phase and fall out early.

4. Poor Nutrition

Nutritional deficiency in men can affect the structure of the hair as well as the growth of the hair. Hence, it is an essential reason of hair fall in males. Sudden weight loss or decreased protein intake can lead to acute telogen effluvium. Deficiency in nutrients like iron, zinc, protein, biotin and vitamins A, B, C and E can affect hair growth and can be a cause of hair loss in men.

5. Radiation Therapy

Radiation therapy to the head can destroy the healthy hair cells along with the cancerous cells. Hence, it can be a leading reason of hair fall in males. Radiation therapy may lead to thinning of hair or even complete hair loss in some cases. The degree of hair loss will depend on various factors, including the size of the area being treated as well as the total dose of radiation being given.

6. Hairstyles and Hair Treatments

Hairstyles that pull at the root of the hair can become a cause of hair fall in men. When hairstyles such as tight ponytails, pigtails or cornrows are done very often, it can lead to a type of hair loss known as traction alopecia. Excessive hair fall treatments such as hot oil treatments, hair straightening and so on can also act as a reason of hair fall in males.

7. Increase in Stress and Anxiety

Many people experience an increase in hair loss after going through a physical or psychological trauma, illness or injury. This can include stress experienced while going through experiences such as the death of a loved one, loss of employment, any major surgery and divorce to name a few. Increased stress can lead to three types of hair loss – telogen effluvium, alopecia areata and trichotillomania. Therefore, extreme stress can act as a cause of hair loss in men. This type of hair loss is often temporary.

The reason of hair fall in males varies from person to person. An acute understanding of the root cause of hair fall in men is imperative for determining the right hair fall treatment. This is the foundation of the homeopathic treatment for hair loss in men. The homeopathic doctor at Dr Batra's™ will try to ascertain the specific reason of hair fall in male by taking a detailed case history as well as through a video microscopy test during the consultation. This would be fundamental in determining the ideal homeopathic remedies and treatment that would be most beneficial in addressing the specific reason of hair fall in male.

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What is the main cause of male pattern baldness?

The most common cause of male pattern baldness is heredity. Having a family history of hair loss or baldness is an important cause of hair loss in men. You may inherit it from either side of your family – maternal or paternal.

Does stress cause male pattern baldness?

Stress does not cause male pattern baldness. However, extreme stress can trigger three types of hair loss – telogen effluvium (sudden hair loss after a stressful experience), alopecia areata (autoimmune condition causing patchy hair loss) and trichotillomania (hair-pulling disorder).

Can low testosterone cause male pattern baldness?

It is not the amount of testosterone or DHT that causes baldness. It is the sensitivity of your hair follicles that contributes to it. This sensitivity is determined by genetics. The Androgen Receptor gene produces the receptors on the hair follicles that interact with testosterone and DHT. If your receptors are sensitive, they are easily triggered by even the smallest amounts of DHT, resulting in hair loss and balding.

What gene is responsible for male pattern baldness?

The Androgen Receptor gene located on the X chromosome is one of the genes associated with male pattern baldness.

Does smoking cause male pattern baldness?

A study was published in the journal Archives of Dermatology with regards to the relation between smoking and hair loss in men. It found that current smokers or people who had once smoked but now quit were nearly twice as likely to have moderate or severe hair loss as compared with men who never smoked. The study suggested that smoking may damage the vessels at the very bottom of the hair follicle or may even damage the DNA in the hair follicle. This makes it a potential reason of hair fall in males.


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