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What Causes Male Hair Loss?

Thursday 6 May 2021
Hair Loss
6 minute(s) read

Table of Contents

I. What is Male Pattern Hair Loss?

II. Symptoms of Hair Loss

III. Types of Male Hair Loss

IV. Risk Factors for Hair Loss

V. Medications for Hair Loss 

What is Male Pattern Hair Loss?

Losing hair is a common occurrence for men. Not every man will experience male hair loss, but 50 percent of men over 50 will be affected by this condition. There are several reasons behind a balding head. The most common causes are typically genetics, age, and medical conditions. 

We all lose dozens of hairs a day, but if the hair loss becomes more pronounced, you may want to seek the help of a doctor to find out if medications can prevent future hair loss. Because this is such a common problem for men, there are many helpful medications available. You may be prescribed generic Avodart or Propecia for hair loss. You can receive discount hair loss medications through an online Canadian pharmacy like Canada Pharmacy Depot. Read on to learn more about the symptoms and risks of hair loss.

Symptoms of Hair Loss

There are several ways hair loss can manifest itself on the body. Most men are concerned with the hair on their heads, but hair loss can appear in several different areas. Hair loss may occur gradually or suddenly. The most common symptoms of hair loss include:

  • Circular or patchy bald spots: Patchy spots may occur on the head, eyebrows, or beard. The skin can also become itchy during this process.
  • Gradual thinning: Gradual thinning of the hair commonly occurs with age. This type of hair loss begins at the hairline on the forehead and pushes backward.
  • Sudden loosening of hair: Clumps of hair may fall out suddenly if you comb or wash your hair. It may be temporary but can lead to overall hair thinning.

a man getting his hair brushed

Types of Male Hair Loss

Male pattern hair Loss: Male pattern balding is also known as androgenic alopecia. Changes in sex hormones are the most common cause behind male baldness. Dihydrotestosterone (DHT) is an androgen that is responsible for male sex characteristics, like body hair. DHT is derived from testosterone.

In around ten percent of adults, testosterone converts into DHT through a bodily enzyme. DHT will then begin to flow through the entire system and attach to receptors on the hair follicles. Once DHT is present, it can cause the hair follicles to shrink, making them unable to grow healthy hair. Over time, an increased level of DHT may also cause an enlarged prostate, heart disease, and the slow healing of skin injuries.

Alopecia areata: This type of hair loss presents itself as patchy hair loss on the scalp and beard area. This causes coin-sized bald patches to appear. Adults and children may be affected by this hair loss, and it may start and stop suddenly. Over 6.8 million adults have this condition in the United States. Genetics and autoimmune conditions are risk factors for this type of hair loss.  

Traction alopecia: A person’s hairline can recede due to repeated pulling on the hair. This occurs if you often wear a tight ponytail, bun, or braids. Chemicals or heated hair tools may spur on traction alopecia. Hair loss may become permanent if you do not stop pulling your hair back. You may experience the following symptoms of traction alopecia:

  • Scaling
  • Bumps
  • Scalp redness
  • Itching
  • Soreness of the scalp

a person’s hair tied up in a bun

Telogen Effluvium: Both men and women may experience telogen effluvium. Chronic telogen effluvium may occur with no cause, which can make it difficult to diagnose. Telogen is the last phase of the hair-growing cycle, and 30 percent of hair follicles are in the telogen phase with this condition. This means that more shedding occurs than normal. Most of the time, this form of hair loss occurs temporarily and may occur after a stressful or traumatic event. You will not lose all your hair, but you will notice that it will become thinner.  

Risk Factors for Hair Loss

Family history: As mentioned briefly above, genetics are typically the number one cause behind male pattern baldness. Hair loss usually begins in the 20s and 30s, growing more severe as a person ages. As the body ages, the normal cycle of hair changes, creating shorter and thinner hair. This then causes certain parts of the scalp to lose hair. Contrary to the old wives' tale, baldness is not inherited from your mother's family. A combination of both parents’ genes contributes to male pattern baldness. [1]

Poor nutrition: Hair health is closely tied to your diet. If you frequently participate in crash diets or drastically limit your calorie intake, you may experience hair loss. An adequate amount of protein, fatty acids, and zinc are needed for hair growth, so a lack of these essential nutrients can increase your risk of hair loss.

Medical conditions: If you have an autoimmune disorder, you are at an increased risk of experiencing hair loss. If you have diabetes, the immune system may attack the hair follicles. Lupus and thyroid disorders can also lead to hair loss.

Stress: If you experience prolonged periods of stress, the hair follicles are pushed into a resting phase, so they do not produce new hair strands. This also causes hair to fall out more easily when it is washed or combed. This type of hair loss is usually temporary, but you should talk to your doctor if you experience noticeable shedding. [2]

a bald man looking distressed

Medications for Hair Loss

The treatment for hair loss often involves several tactics. If you are stressed or eat poorly, you should try to remedy these factors to lower your risk of hair loss. If you are worried about hair loss, your doctor may initially recommend over-the-counter medications like Rogaine. This medicated foam or liquid can help treat male and female pattern baldness.  

Sometimes, Rogaine is not enough, and prescription drugs may be necessary. Propecia (finasteride) is a common medication that works by decreasing the DHT hormone in the body. This lets the hair regrow faster and slows hair loss. This medication needs to be used regularly to get the most benefit from it. Propecia can take three months to work fully.

Your doctor may also prescribe Avodart, also known by its generic name dutasteride. This drug is used to treat prostatic enlargement, but physicians sometimes prescribe it for male pattern baldness. It works similarly to Propecia by lowering DHT and reducing the risk of damage to hair follicles.

Aldactone (spironolactone) may also be used to slow down the production of androgens (male sex hormones). When androgens are inhibited, the loss of hair can be reduced and prevent future hair loss. If you are worried about your hair loss, talk to your doctor today.

The content provided in this article is based on thorough research and in some cases, reviewed by a medical professional. Our goal for the information is to provide helpful, general health informational. It is not intended as a substitute for professional medical advice.