What Causes Hair Loss in Men?
By the time they reach their 50’s, around 4 out of 5 of guys will start seeing a noticeable thinning of hair. As a matter of fact, some of them will start losing their hair even before they turn 21.
For many men, facing the prospect of losing their hair can seem like very much like losing a piece of who they are. Educating yourself about the underlying causes leading to your hair loss can be helpful when choosing the best treatment options for you, and give you a better idea about the odds of getting your hair to grow back.
The following are some of the most frequent causes of hair loss in men.
Male Pattern Baldness
By far the most common cause of hair loss in men, male pattern baldness (also called androgenic alopecia), is primarily due to a genetic trait inherited from your parents and the male hormone DHT. Most men will experience hair loss during middle-age, but it affects more than half of all men at some point sooner or later.
Symptoms of male pattern baldness can include:
- A receding hairline
- Hair loss at the crown
- A horseshoe-shaped thinning along the top of the head.
- A general overall thinning of hair
Losing hair due to male pattern baldness can happen very gradually. In fact, you might not even notice any signs of hair loss for some time, when suddenly one day you see it staring back at you in the mirror.
Surgery or Illness
If you’ve undergone any major surgery recently, or are recuperating from a serious illness, it is not at all unusual to experience hair loss. In fact, a large number of people see significant amounts of hair loss during the weeks following a major surgery or illness.
Although the amount of hair loss may seem excessive, it’s nothing more than the body’s reaction to a stressful situation, and hair growth will eventually return to normal.
Certain medications (such as some anticoagulants) and medical treatments (like chemotherapy) are well known for causing hair loss. Once finished with the medication or procedure, the hair growth will usually return.
Certain anti-depressants can result in hair loss as well, and so can taking too much vitamin A. Some food allergies may also lead to hair loss.
The importance of the powerful hormone testosterone is something that men are well aware of. It’s what gives guys their muscle growth, deeper voices, sex drive, and many other male characteristics.
But when testosterone gets converted by the body into the less useful DHT (dihydrotestosterone), it can definitely lead to hair loss. For some currently unknown reason, hair follicles in the scalp can become oversensitive to DHT, causing them to shrink and resulting in thinning or loss of hair.
Those who are experiencing hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism will often see hair loss due to an increase in the conversion of testosterone to DHT. Unfortunately, even those who are getting treatment for a thyroid condition have no guarantees that they will still not end up with hair loss associated with their condition.
If you have been experiencing a lot of stress, either at home or work, it could very likely be a reason behind your hair loss. High levels of stress, whether physical or psychological, can cause interference with normal hair growth, with hair loss occurring for a 2-3 month period after the fact.
Fortunately, hair loss caused by stress is typically not permanent.
Another way hair loss can be caused by stress is from alopecia, a condition where the immune system attacks your hair follicles. It results in round patches of hair falling out from the scalp and elsewhere on the body.
Approximately 5% of those with alopecia will experience hair loss on their entire scalp. Usually the hair will grow back, but it’s not uncommon for the hair loss to return.
Other Causes of Hair Loss in Men
If you are experiencing hair loss it could also be indicative of an some other underlying problem, like diabetes or lupus. Some fungal infections can lead to hair loss as well.
Since it’s not always possible to determine the cause of rapidly-occurring or significant hair loss, it is always a good idea to seek out advice from a medical professional in order to properly pinpoint the cause of your hair loss.
What Can You Do About Your Hair Loss?
The prospect of losing your hair is no picnic, but thankfully there are some things you can do about it. From supplements and topical treatments to hair loss shampoos and laser devices, now more than ever there are many effective options for you to choose from.
But remember: the sooner you get started with hair loss treatment, the better your chances for regrowth and the faster you’ll get your hair back.
Mark McIntyre is the founder of MaleHealthReview.com and acts as it’s chief contributor. He is a fitness trainer and avid mountain biker who also enjoys camping, hiking and fishing. Besides managing Male Health Review, Mark is also a guest columnist for several blogs related to men’s health. More about this author…