Male hair loss usually occurs with male pattern baldness, also called androgenic alopecia. It is the most common form of male hair loss and affects over 50% of all men over the age of 50 to some extent.
One major cause of male hair loss is genetics that relate to male sex hormones. Normally each hair has a growth cycle and with male pattern baldness, the growth cycle begins to weaken and the hair follicle shrinks producing shorter and finer strands. His is called miniaturization and it progresses with time. Eventually, the growth cycle for each hair ends and there is no new growth to follow.
Genetic baldness usually is not connected to any medical condition however; there are serious medical conditions that can cause baldness including certain cancers, medications, thyroid conditions and anabolic steroids.
Normally, hair loss begins at the temples or the crown of the head. Some patients will bear a single bald spot while others experience receding hairlines that form an “M” shape. In some cases, the receding hairline progresses until most of the hair is gone.
There are some medications that can assist in combatting hair loss. Minoxidil (Rogaine), applied to the scalp, slows hair loss for some men by stimulating the hair follicle to grow new hair. Improvements may be visible from 4 months to a year after the commencement of the treatment and hair loss often reoccurs when treatment is discontinued. There are also some side effects.
Finasteride (Propecia) is an oral medication that slows hair loss in some men by blocking the male hormone responsible for hair loss. Finasteride is more effective than Minoxidil and hair loss reoccurs when discontinued. Results are visible after 3 months of treatment. There are some serious side effects.
A hair transplant is the most invasive and costly treatment. However, with new technology and instrumentation using the FUE technique, the result is natural and permanent with little discomfort to the patient.