Why am I going bald? Causes and treatment of male balding

August 20, 2021

Going thin on top? Maybe you’ve had a few comments from your mates or your partner?

We get it.

In fact, most of us get it.  At least half of all men have some degree of hair loss by age 50. And for a few men, balding starts in their late teens.

What is male-pattern baldness?  

Male-pattern baldness (androgenetic alopecia) is the name given to the most common type of balding. It’s usually genetically inherited from either (or both) parents.

This type of hair loss happens slowly over time, and you may not even notice it at first.

Some men aren’t troubled by a slowly receding hairline or patchiness. Others want to take some control for cosmetic reasons.

But some men can feel real distress, usually linked to poor self-esteem and, sometimes, depression.

How is balding treated?

There is no cure for male-pattern baldness. There are treatments that can slow down or halt hair loss. Some products could help stimulate regrowth.

But you should try to be realistic when seeking treatment. Results vary. We can’t predict who may or may not benefit from treatment.

What medicines treat balding?

The main medicines used to treat male-pattern baldness include:

  • minoxidil — prescribed as a lotion to rub into the scalp or as a tablet to take
  • finasteride — is taken as a tablet
  • dutasteride — is taken as a tablet.

What other therapies and treatments treat balding?

Other treatments for hair loss include:

  • wigs 
  • hair transplants 
  • plastic surgery procedures (scalp reduction).

Be wary of claims in advertising, social media, or email that promise ‘amazing hair regrowth’. There’s still not enough evidence to support using laser, plasma injections, hair tonics or nutritional supplements.

InstantScripts GPs can help you navigate male-pattern baldness. Book a telehealth consult or request a script at your convenience.

To speak with an InstantScripts GP:

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Could going bald mean something more serious?

With male-pattern baldness, thinning hair is your only symptom and nothing serious is causing this hair loss. But there are conditions and situations where hair loss may be a sign of a more serious problem:

  • Alopecia areata. This is an auto-immune condition. Your immune system attacks healthy hair follicles leading to hair loss. Hair loss is patchy and can also affect other parts of your body (beard, eyelashes or eyebrows).
  • Telogen effluvium. Excessive and rapid hair loss sometimes occurs 2 to 3 months after some sort of trauma. The event could be something like an accident, surgery, illness, drastic weight loss, or some other type of stress.
  • Medications. Some medications may cause hair loss as a side effect. Common groups linked to hair loss include chemotherapy drugs, retinoids and antifungal drugs.
  • Nutritional deficiency. A deficiency in iron, protein, vitamin D and other micronutrients could cause you to lose more hair than normal.

InstantScripts® can help you work out if you have any nutritional deficiencies. Do you want to check how healthy you are? Request a pathology referral here.

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