Many men find the prospect of androgenic alopecia, commonly called male pattern baldness, to be intimidating - the fear of this condition often destroys a man’s confidence in his appearance. So today we are going look at the condition and a drug called” propecia a.k.a. finasteride” that is a popular approved treatment that can help alleviate or even cure the condition.
In doing so we are not claiming to give expert legal advice – you should always consult a suitably qualified physician, and will be up to you to decide which is the best treatment for androgenic alopecia.
So don’t despair over your worrisome hair loss, let’s dive in and see what can be done to save your crowning glory!
What Is 'Male Alopecia And What Causes It?
Technically known as “androgenic alopecia”, this is male pattern baldness that typically causes hair to be lost in a “M” shaped pattern beginning at the temples and receding . In addition, the hair thins on top of the head and very often leads to partial or complete baldness.
Many men just accept this as a price of aging, but for those who enjoy having a full head of hair, alopecia can cause psychological distress that add to the secret worries that men have that they never talk about.It is very commonplace, and can start as early as a man’s teenage years, affecting as many as 50 million men in the United States Of America, and some 50% of all men by the age of 50 years.
So what causes “androgenic alopecia”? The good news is that it is not contagious and so you can’t catch it from a someone who has it.
Now for the not-so-good news...
The not-so-good news is that genetics (about which you can do nothing, of course) can play a large role in determining your propensity to suffer from form of alopecia. The National Institutes of Health estimates that if you have the genetic code in your chromosomes carried by a single gene or group of genes that can increase the likelihood that you will suffer from it by as much as 80%.
These are known as “androgens”, the two types of which are testosterone and dihydrotestosterone (DHT), the latter of which is converted from testosterone by an enzyme called 5-alpha reductase) . It is the interaction of these two hormones, but especially DHT, around the hair follicles’ receptors on the scalp that can cause hair growth to decrease and hair shedding to increase as the hair follicles are reduced in length and diameter.
There are various answers as to why some men are more susceptible to male pattern baldness than others, given that we all have the hormones that cause hair loss:
- it is possible that in certain balding areas of the scalp the hair follicles contain more androgens receptors
- a balding individual has more sensitive hair follicle androgen receptors than usual
- in balding areas of the scalp, there is a higher proportion of DHT to testosterone than normal because of increased enzyme activity
Can Androgenic Alopecia Be Predicted?
A recent study published by PLOS Genetics in February 2017 suggests that it can. In a study conducted on behalf of the University of Edinburgh of over 52,000 genome profiles from the UK Biobank, researchers found that there were 250 independent genetic factors linked to severe hair loss.
Using an algorithm, the researches created a polygenic (i.e. a characteristic controlled by two or more genes) genetic score, based upon those factors and found that of the sample scoring in the top 10 percent, 58 per cent had moderate to severe hair loss, as against only 14 percent of those in the lowest scoring sample.
It is early days yet, but this suggests that it may not be long before there are reliable predictive genetic tests of your susceptibility to male pattern baldness.
How Is Androgenic Alopecia Treated?
There are theories that that because the condition is due to an imbalance of the hormones referred to above, it may be reversible, dpeending upon it;s severity and when treatment begins.
The positive news is that there are numerous medical treatments that can help men suffering from androgenic alopecia alleviate the condition.
Bear in mind that Americans alone sped $3.5 billion on hair loss –products; so which should you choose?
One of only two US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved-drugs for treatment, is Propecia a.k.a. Finasteride , which is in tablet form, one form of which can be found at https://www.theindependentpharmacy.co.uk/hair-loss/propecia-1mg-tablets), As an effective inhibitor of DHT, propecia has been extensively studied over the years and has been shown to aid in hair regrowth and/or slowing of hair loss in most men, but it can require regular use for as long as 4 years.
There is no doubt that the easiest way to deal with androgenic alopecia is simply to accept the condition.
However, some men find the worsening baldness to be distressing. If that resonates with you, once again, don’t despair! Just consider the information laid out here and take the steps described in this article that can help you to restore your all-important self-confidence and body image.