Hair loss is a common problem among men. Studies reveal that about 42% of men experience at least moderate hair loss1.
The loss of hair in men can cause several complications. Men may find that they have low self-esteem with hair loss. Other mental complications also remain prevalent among men who experience hair loss.
There are several reasons why men tend to lose hair. The primary risk factor remains gender. Men are far more likely than women to experience a loss of their hair.
Other risk factors have also been identified. In this post, we look at the common causes of hair loss in men. We also look at current treatment options and consider preventative measures that men can take.
Apart from gender, age seems to be another major risk factor for hair loss. Studies have shown the prevalence of hair loss appears to increase significantly with age2. This is a non-preventable factor.
Age is one of the factors that men cannot avoid as a risk for hair loss. There are a few reasons why age seems to play such a significant role in the risk of hair loss.
One particular reason is the changes in hormones that develop with age. Pattern baldness or pattern hair loss are standard terms used to describe the loss of hair men experience as they age.
A receding hairline is also seen more commonly among older men. It should be noted. However, patchy hair loss is generally not associated with age but rather an underlying medical problem.
2) Family History
Some studies have also shown hereditary factors related to the risk of hair loss in men. In fact, a condition known as hereditary-patterned baldness has been noted in the past3. This is hair loss that runs in the family.
A man with a family history of hair loss has an increased risk of experiencing such issues himself. If genetics are linked to hair loss, then treatment will usually focus on slowing the rate at which the problem develops.
Improved hair growth will not be achieved through these treatments. Inherited hair loss also seems to be the more common cause in the male population. Hereditary hair loss often leads to a gradual thinning and reduction in hair.
3) Hormonal Imbalances
Many hormones help to keep the male body healthy. If an imbalance develops in these hormones, then there are certain risks a man will face. Testosterone is considered the main sex hormone in men. This hormone is converted into dihydrotestosterone.
The converted hormone is sometimes referred to as DHT. When too much testosterone is converted into DHT, hair loss can occur. Studies have shown that DHT can affect hair follicles. It causes shrinkage of the hair follicle. This leads to problems like hair thinning. It can lead to signs of male pattern baldness too.
An acute stress reaction has its benefits. The problem, however, is that chronic stress is becoming a major concern among the general public. Temporary hair loss has been noted among people who are under a lot of stress. This condition is usually referred to as Telogen Effluvium.
It can cause excessive hair loss in some men, depending on how the body reacts to a stressful situation. Hair shedding tends to occur when stress causes a loss of hair. If hair loss occurs during the growth stage, then anagen effluvium may develop. This cause is generally temporary. Hair growth should return to normal after a while.
5) Thyroid Issues
The Thyroid gland has several essential functions to play in the body. Some conditions can affect this gland. These conditions can cause several issues – including thinning hair and a loss of hair4. Two particular conditions need to be mentioned here. This includes hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism.
Hyperthyroidism refers to the increased production of thyroid hormones. On the other hand, a man with hypothyroidism will experience a slowing of Thyroid hormone production.
The conditions can cause the body to convert too much testosterone into dihydrotestosterone. This can continue to happen even when a person is treated for a Thyroid condition.
Sometimes, surgery may be the issue behind hair loss in men. Men who had recently undergone a surgical procedure should consider hair loss to be normal. This effect can last for a few weeks after the surgical procedure.
It is important to note that hair loss after surgery may sometimes feel excessive. In most cases, there is no need to worry about excessive hair loss in such a scenario. The man’s hair growth should return to a normal level within a short period of time. It is simply considered a reaction to the event – which would be the surgical procedure the man underwent.
7) Androgenetic Alopecia
One of the most common reasons for men to lose hair is androgenetic alopecia. The condition can affect men and women. In male patients, it is generally referred to as male pattern baldness.
With this condition, hair loss usually starts at the temples. A receding hairline is very common in men with this condition. A well-defined pattern of hair loss is generally experienced with androgenetic alopecia. The hairline will eventually start to form a shape similar to the letter M5. This is not the same as the autoimmune disease that causes hair loss.
Certain drugs have been found to interfere with hair growth too. When men take these drugs, they experience a risk of hair loss. The most common medications known to cause hair loss are those used as part of chemotherapy.
This is the standard treatment for men who have been diagnosed with cancer. When the treatment is done, men should experience hair restoration.
There are a few antidepressant medications that have also been found to cause hair loss. In such a case, gradual thinning of the hair may be experienced. A doctor may switch the patient to a different drug. Hair regrowth may be experienced once treatment with the specific antidepressant stops.
9) Nutritional Deficiency
Hair needs an adequate supply of several nutrients to remain healthy. When looking at a hair loss cause, men do need to consider their daily nutritional intake.
When considering problems like cicatricial alopecia, traction alopecia, scarring alopecia – and any other type of hair loss – nutritional deficiencies can make treatment more difficult.
There are a few nutritional deficiencies that can cause problems with hair growth. Iron deficiency is only one example. If a man experiences air loss, they should consider obtaining a test to determine their body’s nutritional profile. This will also help the man understand any specific deficiencies they have. Supplements can then be provided to the man to help address these deficiencies.
10) Hair Styles And Treatments
Apart from the factors above, including some which may cause permanent hair loss, there are more causes. One of these would include the use of certain hairstyles, as well as hair treatments.
Hairstyles that cause tension on the hair can lead to the weakening of the hair. These hairstyles may also lead to hair loss. Hot oil treatments can damage hair. These treatments could even damage the hair at their follicles. When this happens, there may be a gradual scalp reduction.
These are all preventable causes of hair loss. Men need to take a look at how they treat their hair. Gentle techniques can still yield great results but without the risks associated with these treatments.
How To Prevent Hair Loss
There are many reasons why men may experience hair loss. Some of these causes are considered preventable.
By understanding why hair loss happens in men, it is sometimes possible to reduce the risk. There are several preventative steps that a man can take. While this does not guarantee they will never experience hair loss, it does help to reduce the risk.
One of the most important things is for men to be gentle on their hair. Tugging on hair during brushing can cause damage. This can also increase the risk of hair loss. Here are a few tips to be gentler on the hair:
- Using a wide-toothed comb helps to reduce pulling and tucking on hair.
- Curling irons and hot rollers can damage hair. Limiting the exposure on these means a man is gentler on their hair.
- Reducing the use of hairstyles that causes tension can help too.
Men should also consider the medication they take, as well as any supplements they use. There are some drugs and even natural products that can interfere with hair growth.
Men who smoke should consider giving up the habit. Some studies have linked baldness and smoking.
There are a few treatments that may help men overcome hair loss. The first step to introducing a treatment is for a diagnosis to be made. A doctor needs to consider what the underlying cause behind the hair loss may be.
There are a few tests that may be conducted. A blood test can help the doctor determine if there is an underlying disease that causes hair loss. A pull test and scalp biopsy may be done sometimes. A doctor may also ask the man to undergo a light microscopy test.
Once a diagnosis is made, the patient can be provided with appropriate treatment. This may include:
- There are pharmaceutical drugs used to treat hair loss in some men. This may include the use of Minoxidil or Finasteride. Minoxidil is a non-prescription option. A patient will need a prescription for Finasteride. Finasteride is also known as Propecia and has been shown to have severe side effects.
- Hair transplant surgery is another option. It is a restorative procedure.
- Laser therapy can also sometimes yield effective results. A low-level laser device is used during this procedure. It is often provided to patients with hair loss related to hereditary factors. Hair density may be improved with this procedure.
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Both men and women can experience hair loss. This problem is more common in men. Various factors have been associated with a risk of hair loss in the male population. Risk factors include age, genetics, and hormones. Some preventative measures can be taken to reduce the risk. Men with existing hair loss also have a few options to treat the problem.