Does Propecia Treat Male Pattern Hair Loss | Hair Loss & Hair Transplant Surgery Guide

Propecia is primarily used to treat male Pattern hair loss. But what actually is this condition? Male pattern hair loss is where you start to lose your hair in a certain formation over a long period of time. It also goes by the name of Androgenic Alopecia and is the most common form of hair loss in males and it increases with age as 50% of men over the age of 50 have this condition. It also affects women although it is a more frequent condition in men.

Male pattern hair loss follows quite a defined pattern of hair loss and is a gradual condition. It usually starts at the temporal areas and recedes backwards and hair is also lost on the crown of the head. The pattern starts to resemble an "M" shape on top of the head. A decrease in the thickness of the hair strands will also become apparent. Hair is usually quite thick and has distinct colour but during hair loss it will become thinner and shorter until it appears to be wispy. Eventually, without treatment the hair will fall out and new hair will not grow in its place therefore you become bald. Not everyone will experience complete baldness but there is a significant amount of hair loss to become apparent.

How male pattern hair loss may affect you

Losing your hair does not have an impact on your physical health. However, it is a condition that can be quite upsetting especially if it happens at a young age. It may cause you to be self conscious about your looks and in some men may cause cases of anxiety and depression. The condition affects you psychologically more so than it does physically and it can be quite a distressing occurrence.

Some men live with the condition and accept that they are losing their hair whereas others seek treatment in order to maintain at least some of their locks. But what treatment can you take? There is either hair transplantation or medication. The newest and a highly effective drug that doesn't involve the pain of surgery is Propecia.

What causes male pattern hair loss?

There are a few factors that contribute to the condition called male pattern hair loss and although some interactions are not quite clear, there is an association between them and the condition. The predominant factor is genetics as male pattern hair loss is inherited. This mode of inheritance is not well known but a gene has been associated with hair loss. Another factor is the level of hormones and this factor is also linked to genetics. Age also has an impact on the amount of hair lost.

The genetics of male pattern hair loss

There are a number of factors that contribute to male pattern hair loss, one of which is genetics. It is unclear how this condition is inherited but there are associations with hair loss and a gene called the AR gene. It can also be inherited from either parent.

The cause of hair loss is down to the active form of Testosterone, dihydrotestosterone, binding to the hair follicles and causing disruption to the hair follicles. This makes the hair become shorter and more fragile until the follicle eventually does not make any more hair strands. Hence the hair loss and eventual baldness that occurs.

The Dihydrotestosterone has to attach itself to the follicles by some mechanism and it does this by associating with a receptor that it recognizes on the follicle surface. And this is where the Ar gene comes into the equation. The Ar gene is the gene that codes for this receptor that recognizes the Dihydrotestosterone and allows it to bind to disrupt the hair follicle. The genes code can also vary so depending on what type of the gene you have, will depend on whether it will make more of these receptors to affect your hair or only a few. This accounts for the wide variety of hair loss that this condition exhibits.

How this gene is inherited is unclear, but studies have shown that it appears in clusters within families. It is also a more frequent condition in men, hence why it is called male pattern hair loss, but women can also experience it too.

Hormones and male pattern hair loss

Levels of the active form of the hormone testosterone have been identified as causing male pattern hair loss. It is the binding of the hormone dihydrotestosterone that affects the hair follicle and causes them to spend more time in the resting phase of the growth cycle than the growing phase. Therefore, the more of this active form in the scalp, the more follicles it can attach itself to, if the receptors are present, and the more hair loss that can occur. This factor is linked to genetics because if you have the Ar gene developing these receptors for the hormone to attach to, then there is a higher probability of developing male pattern hair loss.

Age and male pattern hair loss

There is a link between male pattern hair loss and aging, which is not necessarily linked to hormones or genetics. When you age, some of your follicles will miniaturize for reasons that are unknown, which causes shorter hair, which eventually leads to hair loss. If you have a genetic predisposition then you will start to lose hair before someone who does not but everyone is susceptible to aging hair loss.

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