Hair loss is a common problem affecting around 70% of men and around 40% of women suffering from pattern baldness at some stage in their lives. There are numerous types of hair loss affecting both genders, with androgenic alopecia being the most common one. Also known as male pattern baldness (when affecting men) and female pattern baldness (when affecting women), androgenic alopecia is caused is caused by a mix of genes and hormones (Dihydrotestosterone). Men are genetically more predisposed to conversion of testosterone into DHT and are thus more prone to baldness. DHT causes androgenic miniaturization of hair follicles; consequently the follicles shrink and over the time lose their ability to grow new hair.
Although common to both genders, androgenic alopecia causes different hair loss patterns in both males and females. While women suffer from generalized hair thinning over the entire scalp, men experience bald patches here and there, in a specific pattern, which starts from temporal region and progresses towards the crown area.
Male Pattern Baldness:
As stated above, hair loss in men begins from the temples and gradually progresses towards hairline. As the hairline begins to recede backward, it gets the shape of letter “M”. In case of severe hair loss, the hairline meets the bald crown area, resulting in a “U” shaped pattern of hair around the scalp. This is the typical pattern of androgenic alopecia in men. Since the hair at the back and sides of the scalp are resistant to Dihydrotestosterone, they do not fall off even in case of severe hair loss.
Treatment for Male Pattern Baldness
There are numerous surgical and non-surgical solutions for male pattern baldness, with medicines and hair transplant surgery being two most effective treatments.
- Medications for Male Pattern Baldness: Minoxidil and Finasteride are two most-commonly recommended medicines for treating androgenic alopecia in men. The former is a topical application whereas the latter is an oral pill. Both these medicines have been approved by the US Food and Drug Administration for treating hair loss and have shown significant results. Minoxidil is an over the counter medicine while Finasteride needs doctor’s prescription for its purchase.
- Hair Transplant for Men: Medicines have without any doubt shown promising results in hair regrowth, but they offer a temporary solution to hair loss. You grow hair as long as you are using medicine. Once you stop use of a certain medicine, hair loss returns. Hair Transplant Surgery offers the only permanent solution to hair loss. It uses DHT resistant hair follicles for transplantation, which retain their balding resistant qualities, despite high levels of DHT.
Female Pattern Baldness:
Contrary to men, women do not experience bald patches instead they lose hair from the entire scalp. Nevertheless, hair thinning in females also occurs in a specific pattern, with slight recession in the hairline and profound thinning at the crown area. Hair thinning usually begins at the centre of the scalp and extends to the temporal region. Most women retain hairline, but some also experience significant hairline recession – Frontal Fibrosing Alopecia. If not treated in time, this hair loss can become severe and spread to the sides as well – towards the temples and even above the ears. Some women also suffer from bald patches, but this is very rare.
Treatment for Female Pattern Baldness
Like men, women can also effectively fight pattern baldness with medicines. Although hair transplant surgery is not that common among women, they can still benefit from it in dire need situation.
- Medicines for Female Pattern Baldness: Medicines that are mostly prescribed to women for treating female pattern baldness include Minoxidil, spironolactone and flutamide. The former is a hair growth stimulant while the latter work by minimizing the effects of androgens on the scalp tissues. Flutamide and spironolactone also increase estrogen levels in the body, and thereby enhance feminine traits, including hair growth.
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