Am I losing my hair? If you’re standing in front of the mirror asking yourself this question – you are not alone. In fact, 1 in 5 Americans experiences hair loss. And millions of men and women experience a specific hair loss condition called androgenetic alopecia.
If you have significant hair loss, hair thinning, or male-pattern baldness you may have androgenetic alopecia. Read below to learn about signs, symptoms, and treatment for the condition.
What Is Androgenetic Alopecia?
Androgenetic Alopecia is a type of hair loss affecting men and women. The condition is more common among men and is often referred to as male-pattern baldness. Men experience hair loss and a receding hairline. Hair thins from the crown of the head (top/center of the head).
In women, hair thins everywhere. Women do not typically experience a receding hairline or complete baldness from androgenetic alopecia.
What Causes Androgenetic Alopecia?
Researchers still don’t know every possible cause of androgenetic alopecia but they do know the condition involves hormones called androgens. Androgens regulate hair growth, sex drive, and overall sexual development in men and women.
When levels of androgens are high, hair follicles have a shorter growth cycle meaning the hair is shorter and thinner. It can also cause delayed growth of new hair.
There’s also a genetic component to androgenetic alopecia mainly the AR gene that makes the androgen receptor protein. Variation in the gene can cause higher levels of activity in androgen receptors located in the hair follicles.
Hair loss also tends to run in families. If you have relatives that experienced hair loss, talk to your doctor about your risk.
Signs and Symptoms
Androgenetic alopecia stages include periods of hair loss and periods of no change. The hair loss stages may range from 3 to 6 months and the periods of stability can be up to 18 months or longer.
Androgenetic alopecia symptoms include hair loss and hair thinning. For men, receding hair turns into an M-shape. Women typically experience hair thinning everywhere and a delay in new hair growth.
There are a few common androgenetic alopecia treatments including topical items (i.e., Rogaine) and oral medication (i.e., Propecia). These products may help men and women grow hair to cover balding or thinning areas.
A hair transplant is a more expensive, invasive form of treatment that works by transplanting healthy follicles to areas that are thin or bald. And finally, there is ru58841, an anti-androgen solution that interrupts the hair loss process. Clinical trials have shown positive results for this relatively new androgenetic alopecia treatment.
Hair Loss Does Not Define You
Unfortunately, androgenetic alopecia is a common condition in men and women. But new research and treatment options are promising. Don’t let hair loss or hair thinning prevent you from living your best life. Talk to a doctor about your options.
And if you’re looking for more health and lifestyle information and tips, check out our other blogs!