Male Pattern Baldness: Stages, Causes And Symptoms
Androgenic alopecia, commonly referred to as male pattern baldness, is a type of hair loss that specifically affects individuals who were assigned male at birth (AMAB).
This condition leads to the progressive loss of hair on the scalp, with no regrowth. Common indications of male pattern baldness encompass hair thinning and a receding hairline, characterised by the backward movement of the hairline on the head.
Although male pattern baldness can impact individuals assigned male at birth, the effects of male pattern baldness can vary based on a person's ethnic background. People of white and Afro-Caribbean descent are more prone to experiencing male pattern baldness. Conversely, those of Chinese or Japanese descent are less likely to encounter this condition. Native American, First Nations, and Alaska Native individuals are generally not affected by male pattern baldness.
According to the Hamilton-Norwood scale, male pattern baldness can be classified into seven stages:
Stage 1: In this stage, there is minimal or no hair loss, and the hairline remains unaffected.
Stage 2: A slight thinning of hair can be observed near the temples, between the ears and forehead.
Stage 3: Hairline recession becomes more apparent, forming a distinct "M" or "U" shape around the temples.
Stage 4: Hairline recession intensifies, leading to significant hair loss at the crown (top of the head).
Stage 5: The receding hairline at the temples connects with the bald area on the crown.
Stage 6: Thinning or complete absence of hair is observed between the temples and the crown.
Stage 7: Total hair loss on the top of the head, leaving only a thin band of hair around the sides.
Causes of male pattern baldness
Male pattern baldness is primarily caused by genetics and a family history of baldness. Studies have revealed that male pattern baldness is associated with male sex hormones known as androgens, which play a role in regulating hair growth.
The growth cycle of each hair on the scalp follows a specific pattern. In the case of male pattern baldness, the growth cycle undergoes a decline, resulting in the weakening of hair follicles. As a consequence, the follicles shrink and generate shorter, thinner hair strands. Eventually, the growth cycle ceases entirely, and no new hair replaces the lost strands.
Typically, inherited male pattern baldness does not have any additional side effects. Nevertheless, baldness can be attributed to various factors, including certain cancers, medications, thyroid disorders, or the consumption of anabolic steroids, among other underlying causes. If hair loss coincides with the introduction of new medications or is accompanied by other health concerns, it is advisable to consult a doctor.
Doctors diagnose male pattern baldness by examining the specific pattern of hair loss. They may also conduct a comprehensive medical history and examination to eliminate the possibility of other health conditions as the root cause, including fungal scalp infections or nutritional disorders.
When hair loss is accompanied by symptoms such as a rash, redness, pain, scalp peeling, hair breakage, patchy hair loss, or an unusual pattern of hair loss, underlying health conditions may be contributing factors. In such cases, a skin biopsy and blood tests may be necessary to identify the disorders responsible for hair loss.
Symptoms of male pattern baldness
Hair thinning or hair loss at the crown of the head
Thinning or loss of hair near the temples
Initial treatment for male pattern baldness often involves applying over-the-counter (OTC) medications, like minoxidil, directly to the scalp. However, it's important to note that minoxidil may have some side effects such as headache, scalp irritation, and unusual hair growth. Another option is a prescription oral medication called finasteride, which can effectively address male pattern baldness. However, it's worth mentioning that finasteride may have side effects including allergic reactions, testicular pain, and erectile dysfunction.
This procedure involves a healthcare provider extracting skin grafts from hair-rich areas of your body and implanting them into bald or thinning areas of your scalp. Potential side effects of hair transplant surgery may include scalp pain and irritation, scarring, dizziness, nausea, and vomiting.
Platelet-Rich Plasma (PRP) Therapy
PRP therapy involves a healthcare provider drawing blood from your body, processing it to extract platelets, and then injecting the platelet-rich plasma into your scalp to stimulate hair growth. Possible side effects of PRP therapy may include scalp pain and irritation, as well as dizziness, nausea, and vomiting.
Various hairstyles, wigs, or hair weaves can be used to conceal male pattern baldness and enhance your appearance.
Male pattern baldness is a prevalent condition that typically occurs as men age. While many people accept it as a natural part of the ageing process and choose not to seek medical attention, it can have adverse effects on mental well-being. If you observe signs of male pattern baldness, particularly if it leads to stress, anxiety, or depression, it is advisable to reach out to your healthcare provider. Effective medications and treatments are accessible that can halt or even reverse this condition.Disclaimer: The above content is for informational purposes only and should not be used as a substitute for the advice of a qualified physician or doctor. The Company does not vouch for or endorse any of the above content, and disclaims any and all warranties, express or implied, relating to the same.