Male Pattern Baldness

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Male Pattern Baldness

Male pattern baldness (otherwise known as androgenetic alopecia) is the most common type of hair loss in men. It is considered a natural part of the aging process for millions of men. However, premature or unexpected hair loss can sometimes indicate a more serious underlying condition that may require medical attention. 

When you experience hair thinning, bald spots, or a receding hairline, it can be psychologically distressing and can result in loss of self-esteem that may cause depression, anxiety, and other emotional stress. It can be overwhelming when you don’t know the reason for losing your hair. However, there are effective hair restoration treatments available including hair transplants, laser and light therapies, oral medication, and topical creams. 

Despite the adverse effects of losing one’s hair, you can take a positive approach by focusing on ways to feel more optimistic about the way you look.

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What Is Male Pattern Baldness?

Male pattern baldness accounts for over 95% of cases of hair loss in men. Clinically known as androgenetic alopecia, it takes place as hormone levels change throughout a man’s life. Aside from hormone levels, men naturally lose their hair from the interaction of other factors such as genetics and the aging process. When genetic factors influence the likelihood of male pattern baldness, it contributes to the gradual shrinkage of hair follicles, the tiny cavities in the skin at the base of the hair. This is the reason why hair grows shorter and finer until no new hairs grow. 

No two cases of male pattern baldness are created equal. While some men experience a receding hairline above the forehead, some get a bald spot on the crown, and others lose hair on top of their heads. The normal structure of male pattern baldness usually starts at the hairline as it slowly moves backward (recedes) and creates an M-shaped hairline. Over time, hair becomes finer, shorter, and thinner, and produces a U-shaped (or horseshoe) pattern of hair around the sides of the head. 

In most cases, you may be able to restore lost hair once you understand its causes. Now, let’s explore in more detail the science behind what causes male pattern baldness.

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Male Pattern Baldness

What Causes Male Pattern Baldness?

It is believed that sex hormones play a vital role in causing male pattern baldness. It is linked to excessive dihydrotestosterone (DHT) that falls under the class of male sex hormones also known as androgen. Having an excessive amount of androgen can cause more hair to grow, but it can also make you lose your hair faster and earlier.

DHT can link to receptors on hair follicles in your scalp, causing them to shrink and become more capable of producing fewer hairs. As fewer hairs are produced by the DHT-sensitive follicles, the area in your scalp having those follicles seems to thin out. After some time, those follicles will either produce hairs that are thinner, shorter, and finer, or they stop producing hair completely. 

The reason why your hair tends to grow out looking thinner and more brittle, aside from falling out faster, is because high levels of androgens including DHT can shrink your hair follicles and shorten the hair growth cycle. It can also lengthen the time it takes for your follicles to grow new hairs once old hairs fall out.

While sensitivity to DHT is believed to be the cause of male pattern hair loss, one can take comfort knowing that there are treatments designed to decrease the incidence of male pattern baldness by specifically targeting DHT. Doing so can make you feel more confident and bring back that lost self-esteem. 

Now, if you think you’re losing hair at a rate faster than before, it would be best to talk with a hair transplant doctor to discuss the underlying cause that disrupts the stages of hair growth. Let’s check out the treatment options for male pattern baldness.

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Male Pattern Baldness Treatment Options

Follicular Unit Extraction (FUE)

One way to treat androgenetic alopecia (male pattern baldness)…..

Oral Finasteride

Finasteride is an oral medication used to treat…..

Topical Minoxidil

Minoxidil is one of the ways patients started…..

Follicular Unit Extraction (FUE)

One way to treat androgenetic alopecia (male pattern baldness) is with a hair transplant procedure called follicular unit extraction (FUE). It is a method of hair transplant surgery that extracts healthy and functional individual hair follicles from densely populated donor areas (typically at the back of the head and between the ears), and implants them to thinning, balding, and receding areas of the scalp. 

When androgenetic alopecia is treated with FUE, follicles are harvested from the back of the head by a skilled hair transplant surgeon and transplanted to areas where follicles have shrunk. In this case, most surgeons stop at approximately 15% of donor hair to make sure there’s still enough coverage. 

Unlike more invasive methods such as Follicular Unit Transplantation (FUT), FUE doesn’t require removing a donor strip of hair to extract individual follicles and often delivers excellent results with far fewer painful side effects than the outdated “strip” procedure. 

From an aesthetic standpoint, a hair replacement performed by an experienced hair transplant physician will look and feel just like a natural hairline, supposing you have enough hair available at the donor site. However, you must set realistic expectations about the procedure because a hair transplant is not a miracle treatment and might not necessarily be a total cure for baldness. 

Therefore, we ask prospective patients to schedule an initial consultation before we suggest a certain hair loss treatment or give an approximate cost. We have to make sure there are enough hair follicles needed for full coverage before we deliver the quote for treatment. 

With that said, we invite you to schedule a preliminary consultation and discover how to achieve the results you want from a FUE procedure.

Oral Finasteride

Finasteride is an oral medication used to treat men with benign prostatic hyperplasia (Proscar) and male pattern baldness (Propecia). It’s a 5-alpha-reductase inhibitor that decreases serum and scalp levels of dihydrotestosterone (DHT) that causes hair loss in men. By decreasing DHT levels in the body, hair loss will stop or at least slow down. 

If you’re taking oral finasteride (1 milligram orally per day) for male pattern baldness, it may take at least three months to see the result. However, the effect of finasteride will only last as long as the medicine is taken. When it is stopped, hair loss returns. 

Along with its essential effects, a medicine may cause some possible side effects. Some of these side effects may subside on their own (like a runny nose or drowsiness), while some may require medical attention: chills, cold sweats, confusion, dizziness, faintness, or lightheadedness. Consult with your medical professional if any of these side effects persist or affect your daily routine. 

Now, if you don’t experience any significant results after one year of taking oral finasteride, it may be time to switch to another plan. If so, your hair restoration doctor will likely recommend you to stop taking it and start looking into more permanent treatment options, like FUE.

Topical Minoxidil

Minoxidil is one of the ways patients started treating androgenetic alopecia when it was introduced as an over-the-counter drug in the 1990s. It is a cream or lotion applied directly to the scalp. 

Minoxidil works by slowing down hair loss caused by androgenetic alopecia and stimulating new hair growth in follicles. It usually takes four months to see the results, so you must use it continuously to maintain the desired effects. Once you stop using it, hair loss returns and new hair will stop growing. 

Ask your hair restoration surgeon if your condition does not improve after one year of taking topical minoxidil. He may suggest having a more permanent solution to address hair loss concerns, like FUE.

Choosing a Male Pattern Baldness Treatment Plan

The treatment plan you choose to address androgenetic alopecia depends on the extent of hair loss and the quality of the donor site. Setting realistic expectations of what can be done to address your hair loss issues will be beneficial to achieve hair loss freedom. 

If you have already tried minoxidil and did not get any significant results, then you should talk to your doctor about having another alternative to combat hair loss, such as finasteride. However, if both treatments do not seem to do their job at restoring your hairline, then it would be best to seek help from a skilled and experienced hair restoration physician to conduct hair transplant surgery such as follicular unit extraction. 

The Hair Transplant Center – Fort Worth can give you an accurate evaluation of your special case before suggesting any kind of hair transplant surgery. 

To make it easier for you, we offer virtual consultations through our website. Just fill out a simple form with your contact information and health history, and upload some photos.

Now, if you are ready to take the leap to a youthful and natural-looking appearance, we would love to talk to you and discover treatment options for your hair restoration journey. If you have found yourself searching for a hair transplant near me, get in touch with us at the Hair Transplant Center – Fort Worth today! We are here to assist you.

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