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Male Hair Loss

In the vast majority of cases, balding in men is hereditary and caused by an increase in the production of the hormone dihydrotestosterone (DHT).

Whilst DHT is responsible for the vast majority of cases of male pattern balding, it’s not the only reason why men lose their hair.

WHAT CAUSES HAIR LOSS?

For men who start losing their hair, one of the first questions on their mind is – why is this happening?

Everyone knows that a certain percentage of men go bald but not everyone knows the scientific reason behind it. It’s easy to blame factors such as stress and poor diet, and whilst they certainly play a role in the health of your hair, they’re not the primary culprit.

The role of DHT

  • Dihydrotestosterone (DHT) is a male sex hormone and is the main cause of hair loss. The reason that balding occurs is due to the hair follicle’s sensitivity to DHT, which causes them to shrink, or ‘miniaturize’. Miniaturization causes your hair to grow for shorter periods as well as becoming lighter and finer. This type of hair is often referred to as ‘peach fuzz’.
  • The amount of DHT produced in the body varies from one individual to the next. This is why men lose their hair at different rates and to varying degrees. For some men, balding occurs very slowly over a number of years, whilst for others it’s much quicker.
  • The most widely used drug to treat hair loss– finasteride, is essentially a DHT inhibitor. It works by blocking the production of DHT at a systemic level and therefore halting the advancement of male pattern balding.

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Other causes of hair loss

Whilst DHT is responsible for the vast majority of cases of male pattern balding, it’s not the only reason why men lose their hair. Below are some other causes of hair loss:

  • Trauma – There are two types of trauma that can cause hair loss. The first is trauma to your hair itself that often occurs as a result of wearing a ponytail or other tight hairstyles such as cornrows. The second type of trauma is the emotional trauma that can occur due to surgery, illness or poisoning.
  • Medication – There are a number of medications that can cause hair loss, especially those for blood pressure, heart disease and diabetes.
  • Nutrition – It’s been shown that poor nutrition can cause hair to become weak and thin, however, complete balding usually doesn’t occur.

Why Does Hair Loss Happen?

Androgenetic alopecia (also known as male-pattern or female-pattern baldness) is the most common reason why hair loss happens. In men, the hair usually starts to thin around the hairline and the crown. It can take decades to become bald or it can happen at an early age.

Both men and women can have a genetic predisposition to hair loss, as you may inherit the genes associated with hair loss from either one or both of your parents, no matter your sex.

There are many other reasons besides androgenetic alopecia for hair loss, such as hormonal changes from thyroid problems, chronic stress, or a diet that is very low in iron.

Reasons You’re Losing Your Hair

Almost everyone loses some hair every day. Some of the common situations where you lose hair include while taking your shower, blow-drying, combing and brushing your hair. Studies indicate that most people lose about a hundred hairs per day. Routine and everyday hair loss is normal – as new hair grows to replace the lost hair. Hair loss is significant and serious when new hair stops growing and you can visibly see hair loss symptoms such as baldness. Hair loss issues require a medical evaluation by a dermatologist and treatment, as every individual’s hair loss causes differ.

Genetics and Heredity – Simply no escape from it!

The American Academy of Dermatology defines Androgenetic Alopecia as genetic hair loss, a hair loss condition that is considered to be the leading cause of hair loss. Don’t blame it on your mother’s side – your mom’s and dad’s family heredity has an equal role to play in your hair loss. With Androgenetic Alopecia, hair thinning occurs in an ‘M-shaped’ pattern which is the usual balding pattern in men. Hair follicles are subjected to shrinking over time, which results in thinning hair and visibly shows up as a reduction of hair density.

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The Stress Factor

Severe stress such as personal high stress level situations may cause you to go through hair loss. Surgeries and psychological stress such as going through a divorce or a death in the family are typical examples. When stress is treated with antidepressants and other medications, hair loss may occur as side effects of the medications. Talk to your doctor to see if lowering drug dosages is a possibility or eliminate it altogether. Natural healing therapies like yoga and meditation may also be effective strategies that you could consider.

Crash Diet and Deficiencies

Crash diets could deprive your body of a lot of vital nutrients that it needs to function well every day. Deficiencies in your diet can lead to hair loss. Iron deficiency is one of the major factors for hair loss. Other deficiencies that contribute to hair loss include proteins and vitamins, especially Vitamin B12.

Side Effects of Medications

While it is evident that chemotherapy drugs can lead to hair loss, there are several other drugs that could trigger hair loss. Thyroid medications, beta-blockers and hormone pills can also be attributed to causing hair loss.

DIABETES AND HAIR LOSS

When it comes to hair loss, how does Diabetes alter or change your chances?

To begin, a person with Diabetes might not produce enough insulin or they may have a body that doesn’t know what to do with insulin. Or sometimes, both situations. Insulin carries the sugar from the foods you eat from your bloodstream and stores it into your cells as energy.

When you’re diabetic sugar can build up in your blood, which can damage your organs, as well as your blood vessels.

Your blood vessels carry oxygen around your body to nourish your organs, and, your hair follicles. This lack of oxygen can change your normal hair growth cycle.

Not only can this cause you to lose the hair on your head, but it can also cause you to lose hair on your arms, legs, and other body parts. Usually, hair loss that happens is noticeable, and when your hair regrows, it does so at a slower-than-normal rate.

People suffering from diabetes are also shown to be more likely to have alopecia areata. With alopecia, the immune system attacks the hair follicles, leading to patches of hair loss on the head and on other parts of the body. Some people with diabetes can also have thyroid disease, which is a known contributor to hair loss.

If you do notice you’re losing hair, on any part of your body, it’s important to check-in with your Doctor and get screened for illnesses like Diabetes. As with any condition, early detection is your best protection. Diabetes is a disease in which 1 in 2 people (who have it) are undiagnosed. 

If you are concerned and unsure about what may be causing your hair loss – please see your family doctor!

Things You Might Not Know About Hair Loss

Of course, genetics plays a large role in your chances for hair loss. If either of your parents experienced hair loss at any point in their lives there’s a very good chance that you will too. Aside from that, there’s a handful of other things that you may not know can cause hair loss.

Like medication, for example. And not even just the prescription kind. There are a surprising number of common medications on the market that list hair loss as one of the potential side effects. This includes medication such as aspirin, vitamin supplements, blood-thinning drugs and blood pressure medication. If you suspect that a medication that you’re taking is causing your hair to fall out, then you should consult your GP the first chance that you get and they’ll be able to assess what’s happening and recommend an alternative.

And on the other side of that medicine coin, surgery. When combined with anesthesia, surgery can have a very stressful impact on your body and can affect the life cycle of your hair. This is why hair loss as a result of surgery often occurs a few months after the procedure.

Crash dieting, tight hairstyles and scratching your head can all result in hair loss as well. When you crash diet, you’re depriving your body of the vital nutrients it needs to keep your hair healthy, and when you pull your hair tight, there’s a possibility that you can permanently weaken your hair follicles and cause your hair to become thinner.

Appliances such as hairdryers, curling irons, and straightening irons can all cause your hair to become damaged and break. This hair loss will continue as long as your using products like these. Hair loss from stress, as well, is nearly always temporary and any shedding will usually cease within a couple of months, as long as your stressor has dissolved.