Potential Causes of Hair Loss In Men
● Age and Hormones
● Alopecia Areata
● Alopecia Totalis
● Alopecia Universalis
● Androgenetic Alopecia (Female Pattern Hair Loss)
● Scarring Alopecia
● Traction Alopecia
● Tinea Capitis
● Chemotherapy/Radiation Hair Products
Hair Loss In Men
In general, most hair loss is not associated with systemic or internal disease, nor is poor diet a frequent factor. Frequently, hair may simply thin as a result of predetermined genetic factors, family history, and the overall aging process. Many men and women may notice a mild and often normal physiologic thinning of hair starting in their thirties and forties. Other times, normal life variations including temporary severe stress, nutritional changes, and hormonal changes like those in pregnancy, puberty, andmenopause may cause a reversible hair loss.
The medical term for hair loss is Alopecia. The most common type is known as androgenetic Alopecia or pattern baldness. It’s typically permanent and can be attributed to heredity. In fact, about 95% of hair loss from the scalp is due to your inheritance.
Physical or emotional stress can trigger hair loss whether people are predestined to lose hair or not. When stress causes hair loss in men who do not have hereditary hair loss, the effects are not usually permanent. But in men who do have hereditary hair less, stress can actually speed up the process. The stress experienced must be quite severe before it leads to hair loss. Examples of severe stress are loss of a loved one, strenuous sports, training, severe illness or drastic weight loss, surgeries, and emotional stress. The body simply shuts down production of hair during periods of stress since it is not necessary for survival and instead devotes its energies toward repairing vital body structures. A recent high fever, severe flu or surgery, you may notice you have less hair 4 weeks to 3 months after an illness or surgery. These conditions cause hair to shift rapidly into a resting phase, meaning you’ll see less new hair growth. A normal amount of hair typically will appear after the growth phase resumes. This then means that the total hair loss and re-growth cycle can last 6 months or possibly longer when induced by physical or emotional stress. There are some health conditions which may go undetected that can contribute to hair loss. These include anemia or low blood count and thyroid abnormalities. Both of these conditions can be detected by a simple, inexpensive blood test.
Age and Hormones
The presence of the necessary genes and hormones is not alone sufficient to cause baldness. Even after a person has reached puberty, susceptible hair follicles must continually be exposed to the hormone over a period of time for hair loss to occur. The age at which these effects finally manifest themselves varies from one individual to another and is related to a person’s genetic composition and to the levels of testosterone in the bloodstream.
Hormones are biochemical substances that are made in various glands throughout the body. These glands secrete their products directly into the bloodstream so that the chemical they make is spread throughout the body. These chemicals are very powerful so that only minute amounts of them have profound effects upon the body.
The same hormones that cause acne and beard growth can also signal the beginning of baldness. The presence of androgens; testosterone, and its related hormone DHT, cause some follicles to regress and die. The hormone felt to be directly involved in male pattern baldness is actually dihydrotestosterone (DHT) rather than testosterone. DHT is formed by the action of the enzyme 5-a reductase on testosterone. DHT acts by binding to special receptor sites on the cells of the hair follicles to cause the specific changes associated with balding.
Alopecia is a common disease that results in the loss of hair on the scalp and elsewhere. Alopecia occurs in males and females of all ages, but onset most often occurs in childhood. There are threes types of Alopecia: Alopecia Areata, Alopecia Totalis and Alopecia Universalis.
What Is Alopecia Areata?
Another type of Alopecia, known as Alopecia Areata, it is usually temporary. It affects approximately 2% of the population and can involve hair loss on the scalp or the body. Its specific cause is unknown. With Alopecia Areata, baldness usually occurs in small, round, smooth patches. Hair loss may be on the scalp only, or body hair may be lost as well. Alopecia areata is classified as an autoimmune disease, but the cause of it is unknown. In fact, people who develop this type of baldness are generally in good health. A family history of Alopecia areata makes you more likely to develop it. Unlike Androgenetic Alopecia, hair will generally grow back. But it may take several years.
What Triggers Alopecia Areata To Start Or Stop?
Current research suggests that something triggers the immune system to suppress the hair follicle. It isn’t known what this trigger is, and whether it comes from outside the body like a virus or from inside. Recent research indicates that some people have genetic markers that increase both their susceptibility to develop Alopecia areata, as well as the degree of disease severity.
Is Alopecia Areata Hereditary?
Yes, heredity plays a role. In one out of five persons with Alopecia Areata, someone else in the family also has it. Those who develop Alopecia Areata for the first time after the age of thirty years have less likelihood that another family member will have it. Those who develop their first patch of Alopecia Areata before the age of thirty have a higher possibility that another family member will also have it. Alopecia Areata often occurs in families whose members have had Asthma, Hay Fever, Atopic Eczema, or other autoimmune diseases such as Thyroid disease, early-onset Diabetes, Rheumatoid Arthritis, Lupus Erythematosus, Vitiigo, Pernicious Anemia or Addison’s disease.
What Other Parts Of The Body Are Affected?
In some people, the nails develop stippling that looks as if a pin had made rows of tiny dents. In a few, the nails are severely distorted. However, other than the hair and occasionally the nails, no other part of the body is affected.
Involves hair loss over the entire scalp. The affected hair follicles become very small, drastically slowing down production. The hair follicles remain alive and are ready to resume hair production whenever they receive the appropriate signal. Hair growth may occur without treatment and even after many years.
Indicated by hair loss of the entire body.
Androgenetic Alopecia (male pattern hair loss)
This type of alopecia is often attributed to genetic predisposition and family history. Traditionally, this was originally described only in men, but we now know it is seen in both men and women. The hair loss in men is often faster, earlier onset, and more extensive.
Doctors refer to common baldness as “androgenetic alopecia” or “androgenic alopecia,” which implies that a combination of hormones and heredity (genetics) is needed to develop the condition. The exact cause of this pattern is unknown. (The male hormones involved are present in both men and women.)
Even men who never “go bald” thin out somewhat over the years. Unlike those with reversible telogen shedding, those with common male-pattern hair loss don’t notice much hair coming out; they just see that it’s not there anymore. Adolescent boys notice some receding near the temples as their hairlines change from the straight-across boys’ pattern to the more “M-shaped” pattern of adult men. This normal development does not mean they are losing hair.
Signs and Symptoms
The typical pattern of male baldness begins at the hairline. The hairline gradually moves backward (recedes) and forms an “M” shape. Eventually the hair becomes finer, shorter, and thinner, and creates a U-shaped (or horseshoe) pattern of hair around the sides of the head.
Occurs when scar tissue replaces destroyed normal tissue on the scalp and can be caused by any number of things such as burns, infectious agents or diseases such as Scleroderma, Lupus Erythematosus, etc. Because normal tissue is replaced and the hair cannot grow through scar tissue, Scarring Alopecia is permanent.
Another version of Traction Alopecia, which is often referred to as “Hair Pulling Disorder”, an impulse control disorder, when a person compulsively pulls out strands of hair in distinct patches on the scalp. Some individuals also pull out hairs from the eyebrows and eyelashes as well. Trichotillomaia is often caused by an undue amount of anxiety, stress and depression. It most commonly occurs among young children, adolescents and women. The treatment for Trichotillomania often involves behavioral therapy or psychiatric help where an antidepressant may be prescribed.
Is another name for Ringworm, which appears on the scalp. Tinea Capitis is highly contagious and may spread throughout an entire family, school or kindergarten. It can also be passed from animals to humans as well as between people. The main symptoms or signs of Tinea Capitis is scaling and reddened in a round or uneven area of stubbled hair loss. This is where the tinea is digesting the keratin of the hair. These patches of hair loss slowly expand as the tinea spreads. The most commonly used treatment for Ringworm is an anti-fungal agent, which is taken once a day for a period of between four and twelve weeks. Nizoral shampoo (Ketaconazole 2%) may occasionally be prescribed in addition to oral treatment to reduce the surface scaling.
Chemotherapy Drugs & Radiation Treatments
Drugs designed to poison cancer cells also poison the hair follicles and will often result in total hair loss. Hair loss from chemotherapy treatments will start approximately 2-3 weeks after the first dose of chemotherapy, but wont result in total hair loss until 1-2 months have elapsed. Hair loss is reversible and will be back in about 3-4 months after the last chemotherapy dose. Hair on the head is most commonly affected. The scalp may become tender and hair that is still growing may become dull and dry. The hair may grow back thinner and perhaps a different color but will eventually return to its original thickness and shade.
Chemicals used for dying, tinting, bleaching, straightening or perming can cause hair to become damaged and break off if they are overused or used incorrectly can damage the hair follicle, which may in turn cause permanent damage. Excessive hairstyling or hairstyles that pull your hair too tightly also can cause some hair loss.
Other causes of temporary hair loss include:
There are two different types of hair loss, medically known as Anagen Effluvium and Telogen Effuvium. Anagen Effluvium is generally due to internally administered medications, such as chemotherapy agents, that poison the growing hair follicle. Telogen Effluvium is due to an increased number of hair follicles entering the resting stage. The most common causes of Telogen Effluvium are:
● Physical stress: surgery, illness, anemia and rapid weight change.
● Emotional stress: mental illness, death of a family member.
● Medications: Certain drugs used to treat gout, or arthritis may cause hair loss in some people. But other prescription drugs, such as blood thinners, gout medications, antidepressants and high blood pressure medications, can also cause hair loss. So can high does of vitamin A.
● Poor nutrition: If you get inadequate protein or iron in your diet or are poorly nourished in other ways, you can experience hair loss. Fad diets, crash diets and certain illnesses, such as bowel disease or eating disorders can cause poor nutrition.
● Diet: Too little protein in your diet can lead to hair shedding. So can too little iron.
● Disease: Diabetes, Lupus, overactive or under active thyroid can cause hair loss.
● Infancy: Newborn babies often lose hair during the first few months of life. This baby hair is eventually replaced by more permanent hair. It’s also common for babies from 3 to 6 months of age to lose a patch of hair on the back of their heads from rubbing against mattresses, playpens and car seats. Hair will grow back once a baby begins to spend more time sitting up.