Androgenetic alopecia is also known as male pattern baldness. It is a type of hair loss in men and women.
In men hair loss starts at the temple line, hairline reduces to form an “M” shape. Hair also starts thinning at the crown of the head, often leading to partial or total baldness.
In women, your hair starts thinning over the head (crown area), while keeping a frontal hairline. Also, it does not lead to complete baldness.
Even though androgenetic alopecia is a common problem in both men and women, the exact cause is still unknown.
Causes of Androgenetic Alopecia
Androgenetic alopecia happens to men because of several medical conditions:
- Coronary heart disease
- Prostate cancer
- Enlargement of the prostate
- Insulin resistance disorders like diabetes and obesity
- High blood pressure due to hypertension
Androgenetic alopecia might happen to women due to polycystic ovary syndrome. Symptoms include irregular menstruation, an imbalance of hormones causing acne, excess hair elsewhere on the body, and weight loss.
Some factors related to the environment, hormones, and genetics may also cause androgenetic alopecia, but they are unknown.
Treatments for Androgenetic Alopecia
You can treat androgenetic alopecia using medicines, non-surgical and surgical treatments.
If your hair loss is minimum using medications can increase hair growth and reduce hair fall; these medicines include:
Minoxidil is a foam or lotion that you can apply on your scalp. It is helpful if you do not want to take any pills for hair growth. Minoxidil can enlarge your hair follicles and stimulate hair growth. However, it does have side effects like scalp irritation. If you have a sensitive scalp, you might develop redness, itching, and flaking. So, make sure you take medical advice before using.
Finasteride is a pill that targets the enzyme responsible for converting testosterone to Dihydrotestosterone which is a hormone responsible for androgenic alopecia.
Your hair follicles which are very sensitive to DHT, can function normally. It also makes your hair growth cycle longer, which reduces hair shedding.
Minoxidil is very useful if you have hair loss at the crown, whereas finasteride is useful if you have hair loss on the entire scalp.
You can opt for non-surgical procedures if you have hair loss without visible baldness:
Mesotherapy is useful if you have hair thinning and patchy hair loss. Your doctor will use microinjections to give your scalp a mix of different vitamins. A boost of these vitamins will provide better blood circulation in your scalp and hair follicles, resulting in hair growth.
Platelet Rich Plasma Therapy
Platelets Rich Plasma therapy gives your hair follicles protein for growth; its healing properties are also beneficial. During platelet-rich-plasma, Your blood is extracted and spun in a centrifuge separating the platelets and blood. These platelets are injected into your scalp.
Low-Level Laser Therapy
Low-level laser light uses compressed light of a specific wavelength. It is a cold, red, with one precise colour and different from natural light.
LLLT travels in a straight line concentrating its beam on a specific spot of your scalp. This rejuvenates your hair follicles and stimulates hair growth.
You might require some sessions as a single visit will not solve your hair loss problems. Depending on your level of hair loss, your doctor will plan a treatment schedule with intervals ranging between 3-4 months.
The final and most effective treatment for androgenetic alopecia is a hair transplant surgery. It is a surgical method of removing hair follicles from one part of your scalp called the donor area and planting them on the bald or balding area.
Medications can reduce initial androgenetic alopecia. However, if your hair loss has turned into complete baldness, then it is best to get a hair transplant for complete and best results.
Remember, the results of this treatment depend on your surgeon. So, choose an experienced hair transplant surgeon.
So, if you are suffering from androgenetic alopecia consult your doctor. They will examine your scalp and hairline, and then advise you to a treatment method that would best suit your needs.