Going bald is a fact of life for millions of men. involves the state of lacking hair where it often grows, especially on the head. The most common form of baldness is a progressive hair thinning condition called androgenic alopecia or ‘male pattern baldness’ that occurs in adult male humans and other species. The severity and nature of baldness can vary greatly; it ranges from male and female pattern alopecia (androgenetic alopecia, also called androgenetic alopecia or alopecia androgenetica), alopecia areata, which involves the loss of some of the hair from the head, and alopecia totalis, which involves the loss of all head hair, to the most extreme form, alopecia universalis, which involves the loss of all hair from the head and the body.
Adults lose about 10,000 scalp hairs each and every day. More than half of men are affected by male pattern baldness by age 50, and baldness treatments are estimated to be a US $1 billion per year industry. Since the 1980s, drug therapy has increasingly become a realistic management option for baldness for men and women. Increased understanding of the role of dihydrotestosterone (DHT) in male and female pattern baldness has led to targeted intervention to prevent this hormone from acting on receptors in the scalp.
Types of Baldness
Male pattern baldness typically begins with a receding hairline or the top of the head toward the back. Without treatment, men are usually left with hair on the sides and back of the head while there is no hair on the top of the head from front to back.
Female pattern baldness begins with overall thinning of the hair and balding in the area where the hair is parted. Women lose a few hairs almost daily, when it becomes more than just a few hairs, you might see small clumps in your comb or brush, and you should be concerned if this happens.
There are causes of baldness across the board. Some are easily reversed but others may not be. The best course of treatment for hair loss/balding can be determined with the assistance of your physician.
Causes of Baldness
Hormonal changes in women and men can trigger hair loss. Birth control use, pregnancy, and childbirth can all trigger hair loss in women. Testosterone must be present in order for balding to occur in men, men who do not produce testosterone do no get this type of hair loss. Thyroid problems can result in hair loss as well.
Stress, both physical and emotional stress, can affect hair loss. In the case of serious illnesses, injuries, or surgeries can also affect hair loss. Nervous habits like pulling your hair or rubbing your scalp too much can result in breakage and hair fall out. Medications such as those used in chemotherapy and radiation treatments can cause hair loss.
Treatments of Baldness
The good news is that there are treatments or solutions to benefit hair loss. These treatments are effective. Only you and your doctor can decide the right course of treatment to meet your specific needs. Whether these treatments can be deemed as cures may be questionable.
Topical treatments such as Rogaine (minoxidil) and oral medications such as Propecia are among the many treatments available. Also available are surgical options such as hair transplants. These treatments are effective in stopping hair loss, preventing further loss, and in some cases reverse and restore hair growth.
Hair cloning is a procedure where a group of hairs are reproduced, copied if you will. The new hairs are real hair and they would be your hair. It’s meant to be a permanent solution. Implanting these hairs often gives the person a full head of hair and is a surgical procedure.
These treatments are not without side effects. In many cases, once treatment is suspended as in chemotherapy and radiation treatment. Side effects of Propecia which can be sexual also go away when the medication is stopped.
Hair loss can be treated. Most will at least stop hair loss or prevent the loss from progressing. Some treatments will actually facilitate new growth or re-growth. Treatments are effective and when re-growth occurs, it will be some time before results are seen. Whether these can be called cures or not is debatable. Only time and research will tell us that.