Struggling with hair loss? Simple guide to androgenetic alopecia

When you realise that you’re losing your hair it can give your confidence a massive knock. If you’re going through this right now, you’re not the only one. In fact, you’re actually in the majority.

struggling with hair loss

Hair loss affects a huge amount of men; more than two thirds experience hair loss. That means that in the UK alone, 7.4 million men are struggling with hair loss, right now. It can feel depressing, but it’s completely normal. 

95% of hair loss in men is due to what’s called male pattern baldness (or if you want to use the medical term, androgenetic alopecia). Male pattern baldness typically begins with either a receding hairline (you see more of your forehead) or with hair that starts thinning on the crown, but not at the sides and back of the head.

50% of 50 year old men have male pattern baldness 

Most people assume it’s just something that happens when you’re older, but hair loss can affect much younger men too. Many men start to lose their hair at the end of their 20s or early 30s, and others start losing it straight after puberty. 

Will it happen to me?

Male pattern baldness is often hereditary, so the best indicator is to look at your family members. If your dad went bald and/or your mum’s father did, it’s quite likely that you’ll follow suit. 

The reasons behind male pattern baldness

It’s all to do with hormone changes; specifically, the hormone called dihydrotestosterone (DHT). This hormone is made from testosterone and your hair follicles become more sensitive to it as you grow older. It causes the follicles to become smaller and weaker, which results in thinner, finer hair, until eventually the hair stops growing.

Is something else going on?

Other reasons for male hair loss can be medical (and treatable) including illness, stress, weight loss, or a lack of iron. 

If your hair loss doesn’t sound like male pattern baldness and you’re not sure what’s happening, have a chat with your doctor. And if your hair loss is very sudden, or it’s coming out in big clumps, make sure you see a GP straight away.

What you can do about male pattern baldness 

Whilst there isn’t a complete fix for this type of hair loss, there are ways to slow it down and treat it.

Treatment options 

Treatment often includes finasteride, which is given in tablet form and is medically proven to treat male hair loss. 

The way it works is that it blocks the enzyme that converts testosterone to DHT, which then reduces the shrinking of hair follicles and so in turn this reduces hair loss. In fact, it could even aid regrowth for some men if they start using it soon enough.

Finasteride can give you positive results within 3 to 6 months. Just make sure you take the tablets on an ongoing basis, because if you stop taking them things will simply return to how they were before.  To find out more about Finasteride visit Frommars.com or other online services where you can find out more and if this is something that is suitable for you specifically.  

What about Propecia?

Finasteride uses the same active ingredient as Propecia and it works in exactly the same way. The only difference is in the price, because Propecia is a specific, branded product.

Who can help if you’re struggling with hair loss?

Start with a free online consultation with a medical professional and they’ll recommend a personalised treatment plan. 

After your consultation, you can arrange for your prescription to be collected from your nearest pharmacy or delivered direct to your door.  

Other treatments for hair loss

There are other ways to treat hair loss, such as steroid injections or creams for bald patches. Other, more extreme options, include tattooing (to look like short hair/stubble) or hair transplants. 

Diet

Changes to your diet can have an effect on your hair loss. Vitamin supplements can be good for your hair in particular Vitamin A promotes the production of hair oils, whilst vitamin B helps to maintain its healthy colour. Eating a protein rich diet, including lean meats, fish, soy or other proteins and also help.

The emotional impact of hair loss

Whilst hair loss is completely normal, it can make you feel very low and even distressed. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, anxious or depressed by it, it’s important to get support. You’re not kicking up a fuss over nothing – many men suffer emotionally with hair loss. Get the help you need now by talking to your doctor.

Avoid unnecessary hair loss

Although male pattern hair loss isn’t preventable, there are ways that you can minimise it. Be gentle with your hair, especially when it’s wet, and use a comb rather than a brush. Don’t wear hats or caps that are too tight, and if you’re a smoker, stopping smoking can help too.

Hair loss can make you feel down about yourself,  but remember – you’re not alone. Millions of men are going through the same thing. Get proactive and talk to a consultant about hair loss treatments today. 

If you found Struggling with hair loss? What you need to know helpful, you’ll find more men’s health support topics on our Health channel.

Tags: , Last modified: March 15, 2022

Written by 3:45 pm Men's Health

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