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Hair Loss in Men- Causes, Diagnosis, Treatment

Hair Loss in Men:

Hair loss and baldness have the same meaning and can be used interchangeably. While baldness is when particular patches of your head begin to lose hair thus causing the baldness, hair loss is just falling of hair. A bald person has patches of absolutely no hair. These patches expose the scalp. Hair loss doesn’t necessarily imply that a person will become bald. However, a persistent hair loss for a long period of time will lead to baldness.

While you have a head full of hair, you will often fail to value it until you actually see them departing from the territory of your head to never turn back again. They will leave your head with white barrens of your scalp, make you look older than you actually are and mar your overall image as a person. If you could connect with this, we know exactly how you feel. But just as it is important to get this issue treated, it is more important to understand how you’ve fallen prey to this issue. There are various causes of hair loss, but they might be different in men and different causes in women.

Causes of Hair Loss in Men:

Hair loss or alopaecia or baldness as these may be alternatively termed refers to a common problem of loss of hair from part of the head or body. Common types include male-pattern hair loss, female pattern hair loss, alopaecia areata and thinning of hair known as telogen effluvium.

1. Hair Loss due to Genetic Factors:

The causes of hair loss are a combined effect of genetics and male hormones. A genetic problem is one which is hereditary and thus is passed through generations. The hormones that are responsible for baldness amongst men are androgens. The extent to which the scalp of a man is affected by this process depends upon hereditary.

2. Hair Loss Due to Aging:

Hair Loss may be due to aging as well. This may start during the onset of middle age. Generally between 30-40 years of age. In the initial stage, one may notice one may notice physiological thinning of hair which may later on lead to felling and then ultimately baldness.

3. Hair Loss due to Stress:

The lifestyle of a person also plays an important role in this regard. A stressful lifestyle, full of tension, illness, trauma and lack of sleep are contributing factors to loss of hair and baldness. Extreme work load and the resulting pressure may cause a person to fall prey to an unhealthy lifestyle and thus may result in hair loss. These are not very prominent factors. They have an effect over a period of time.

4. Baldness due to illnesses:

Health conditions like thyroid, diabetes, anaemia due to deficiency of iron have also been attributed to hair loss problems.

5. Hair Loss due to exposure to chemicals:

Using harmful chemicals found in hair colours and dyes could also lead to hair thinning. Using gels and hair setting serums which are infused with chemicals could worsen the problem. Though it is not necessary that everyone using these products will experience baldness, the reaction of your hair to these factors is greatly influenced by the hereditary factors of a person.

6. Hair Loss due to Fatal diseases:

Fatal diseases like HIV and Cancer are also responsible for hair loss. If these diseases do not cause the baldness, the medications adapted to get these in control may lead to causing of such condition. To state an example, chemotherapy is extremely detrimental to a person’s hair. A person who undergoes these treatments will bound to have lost all his hair.

7. Hair Loss due to Infections:

Infections can also lead to hair loss and baldness. Some of the infections which can be named are dissecting cellulitis which is a chronic inflammatory disorder which causes patchy hair loss. Fungal infections in the scalp also inhibit hair growth and cause baldness. Demodex folliculorum is a microscopic mite that feeds on the glands and denies hair essential nutrients. As a result the hair begin to thin and eventually drop out of the scalp.

8. Hair Fall due to drugs:

Drugs or medicinal intake for treatment of chronic diseases like diabetes, cholesterol, heart diseases, hormone replacement therapy, steroids, etc could also cause balding. Medications for acne and oily skin can also at times lead to thinning of hair. Intake of birth control pills could also have the same effect on your hair.

Diagnosis of Hair Loss in Men:

Experts have their own ways of identifying the cause of hair loss among men and women. The diagnostic techniques include:

  1. The Pull Test:

It helps to evaluate diffuse hair scalp hair loss. An average of 3 strands of hair are pulled from a particular area of the head and then examined under microscope for abnormalities. The hair plucked is also counted. If more than 10 hair strands are obtained from a single pluck test, the test is considered to be positive.

  1. The Pluck Test:

The hair is pulled out from the roots and the roots are then examined to diagnose telogen, anagen or systemic disease. Telogen hair has tiny bulbs without sheaths at their roots. Anagen hair have sheaths attached to their roots.

  1. Scalp biopsy:

When the above two diagnosis cannot ascertain the cause, the scalp biopsy technique is used to recognize the problem. The scalp around the affected area is examined in this technique.

  1. Daily Hair Counts:

This is resorted to when the pull test is negative. The hair fall per day is counted. The hair lost during first combing or during washing must be counted. These hair are collected for until 14 days in a plastic bag. The hair strands that are lost are counted and if they are more than 100 per day, the condition is considered to be abnormal except after shampooing where the number of strands lost could be 250.

  1. Trichoscopy:

It is a non invasive method for examining hair and scalp. The test is performed with the use of handheld dermoscope or a video dermoscope. It permits differential examination and diagnosis of hair and scalp.

Treatment of Hair Loss in Men:

It is important to treat the problem of Hair Loss in order to fill up your bald patch. While there are a lot of food options for helping with hair growth like spinach, onions, sprouts, there are a lot of natural ways for hair growth as well. The treatment of hair loss includes home remedies, or medications and surgery.

Medications for Hair Loss:

  • Minoxidil (Rogaine) is a non prescriptive medication approved for male pattern baldness and alopecia areata. In a liquid form, it is rubbed into the scalp where it becomes foamy nearly twice in a day. This is not a sure treatment. The hair regrowth depends upon the time since you’ve started to lose your hair. If a lot of time has been passed since you experienced hair loss, the effects may be limited. If one stops the treatment, hair loss problem resumes. One must check for allergies as well.
  • Medicine Finasteride (Propecia) is prescribed of one milligram per day. This medication is prescribed only to en and is a strictly a no-no for women or pregnant ladies. This medicine causes hair retention and hair growth. This medication could also have side effects like decreased sex drive and erectile dysfunction among men. However, not many people experience the side effects of this medicine.
  • Alopecia Areata is treated with injections of corticosteroids. This is injected into the scalp.

Surgery for Hair Loss:

  • This includes hair transplant treatment which is carried out under local anaesthesia. In this treatment, healthy hair from sides and other places are moved to areas of thinning. This can take upto four to Eight hours. The transplanted hair may fall off in some weeks but new hair grows at the same place.
  • Other methods that may be adopted are follicle transplants, scalp flaps and hair loss reduction are available but are very painful and thus best if avoided.

One may also proceed to embrace hair loss in style instead of trying hard to conceal it. It does not affect your performance or personality in any way. It is all just in your head. A good looking person is one who is comfortable in his own skin and such a person is as a result extremely confident. Unless it is an acute demand of your work and your lifestyle, taking extreme steps and adapting harmful methods is not advisable. One must make a call only after consulting a skin specialist in this regard.

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Shabnam Vandeliwala

Venturing into writing is my second most admired hobby after litigating in courts. An advocate by profession, writing gives me immense sense of satisfaction especially in the time that I'm free from other work.

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