Androgenetic Alopecia – also known as male-pattern baldness, female-pattern baldness, or simply baldness – is the most common progressive hair loss which affects 50 per cent of men aged over 50 years and 50 per cent of women aged over 65. The condition varies in the case of women. In some it will present as widespread thinning of the hair but in others it can be more severe and lead to complete baldness. Because patients are told they will have hair loss, some choose to visit their hairdresser prior to their first treatment of Chemotherapy and ask them to cut their hair shorter in a cropped style, as they feel they will be able to cope better as well as it being more practical once the shedding starts.
Causes of Androgenetic Alopecia
A combination of genetic and hormonal factors causes Androgenetic Alopecia. Dihydrotestosterone – DHT is the main hormone responsible for the condition and can cause scalp hair loss in genetically susceptible individuals.
Can Androgenetic Alopecia run in the family?
The condition can be passed on from either parent or from both parents.
Symptoms of Androgenetic Alopecia
Men can be affected any time after puberty when they may notice a receding hairline or scalp hair loss. Women however are unlikely to see symptoms before they reach 50/60 years of age, although occasionally it may start earlier. In some women Androgenetic Alopecia can be connected to an excess of male hormones such as PCOS – Polycystic Ovary Syndrome – which has symptoms such as irregular periods, infertility, increased facial hair and acne.
How to recognise Androgenetic Alopecia
Men will typically suffer from a receding hairline and lose hair from the top and the front of the head. Women experience hair loss or thinning hair usually at the crown of the scalp with the frontal hairline unaffected or hardly affected.
How can Androgenetic Alopecia be diagnosed?
Family history is the key to a diagnosis.
Is there a cure?
Unfortunately there is currently no cure available but many find comfort in the fact that the progress of the condition tends to be very slow in the majority of both men and women.