Androgenic (Androgenetic) Alopecia or Male Baldness.
Androgenic or androgenetic alopecia is a common form of hair loss that affects most men over time.
All people lose daily between 100-200 hair. This loss is completely normal. It is due to the normal hair change of the hair.
However, when excessive fall is observed and the formation of holes in the scalp could be indicative of a problem of alopecia.
There are many causes that can cause excessive hair loss:
- Hormonal problems
- Pregnancy and childbirth
- Consumption of certain medications.
- Systemic diseases.
How do I know if I have an alopecia problem?
To talk about an alopecia problem, two conditions have to be present:
- Abnormal hair loss.
- Decreased capillary density, that is, areas of the scalp without hair (holes) are formed.
What is androgenetic alopecia?
It is a common form of hair loss that affects most men over time. It is also known as male pattern baldness. Despite its name, it can also occur in women although the way in which hair is lost and the frequency in which it occurs is different between both sexes.
At what age is this problem more frequent?
The age of onset of androgenic alopecia is highly variable. The problem can start from 20 years of age. After 30 years, up to 30% of men develop it. And after the age of 50, half of men suffer from a certain degree of alopecia.
How does hair loss evolve in this type of alopecia?
The pattern of hair loss may be a little different between individuals.
However, it usually begins with thinning and loss of hair in the temporal region (formation of "entrances"). There is also loss of the frontal and mid frontal zone, the “pompadour”. Subsequently there is a diffuse thinning in the upper part of the head (crown).
Hair loss continues to progress until the crown meets the entrances and front area.
Finally, only the hair on the sides and the back of the head remains. Although in very aggressive cases, the hair on the back can also thin.
This pattern of hair loss is described by the Hamilton-Norwood scale, which serves to classify the degree of progress of hair loss, mainly in androgenic alopecia.
Why is hair lost in androgenetic alopecia?
Normally, the hair on the head has a long growth phase (anagen), followed by short rest orders (telogen phase). In androgenetic alopecia the growth phase becomes shorter and the resting phase becomes longer. Eventually the growth phase becomes so short that the hair fails to sprout. The period between the growth phase and the resting phase becomes longer and longer, which produces a decrease in the number of hairs present on the head. Finally the follicle is lost.
What is the cause of androgenetic alopecia?
This problem is known to have a strong hereditary component. The way this condition is inherited is multigenic and multifactorial. That is, it is produced by a combination of genetic predisposition, environmental stimuli, and hormonal levels.
Multiple clinical studies have shown the relationship between male hormones, androgens, (such as testosterone or dihydrotestosterone) and male pattern baldness. In people with a genetic predisposition, male hormones alter the expression of genes important for the development of follicles. This results in alteration in the hair growth cycle.
Is there a cure for this problem?
From a medical point of view, androgenic alopecia has no functional consequences. However, hair loss is an undesirable characteristic that can cause severe stress and significantly reduce self-esteem and the quality of life of the people.
Unfortunately, there are no treatments that can completely stop the process of hair loss. Despite this, there are an infinite number of home remedies and treatments for baldness. Home remedies are not scientifically proven, so it is best to avoid them, as they could even have a damaging effect on your hair.
What treatments exist for androgenic alopecia?
Alopecia treatments can be classified into three groups:
- Cosmetics that are focused on concealing the baldness problem.
- Non-invasive doctors, these are focused on the improvement and maintenance of hair. These treatments are useful in the initial stages of alopecia, when hair loss is just beginning.
- Surgical, these treatments are focused on the restoration of the hair once it is lost, through the Hair Transplant.
Within Medical treatments non-invasive are el minoxidil and the finasteride. These drugs and their derivatives are the only pharmacological treatments that have proven useful in the treatment of alopecia.
El minoxidil prolongs the active growth phase of the hair. It works as a growth stimulant for still viable follicles. Therefore the hair is thickened and its appearance is improved. In addition to delaying the process of hair loss. Unfortunately it has to be used continuously to maintain the effect.
By stimulating the growth of follicles that are in the process of involution, it thickens the hair and gives the appearance of new hair growing.
La finasteride It is a powerful dihydrotestosterone synthesis inhibitor (DHT). Its main effect is that it stops hair loss. It is the only medical treatment capable of halting the process of hair loss almost entirely, very useful in androgenic alopecia. However it has to be used continuously to stop the hair loss process. If treatment is stopped, hair loss continues. It should be used with caution, since in a minority of patients it can cause loss of libido and sexual dysfunction.
El hair transplant It is the surgical treatment par excellence. In this treatment is done is a redistribution of the hair of the head to give a perception of normality. Basically hair is taken from a donor area to pass it to an area where we no longer have hair. It is an extremely effective treatment to hide hair loss. The transplanted hair must be taken from a safe zone, resistant to the loss process. This ensures that this hair is not lost over time.
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