Baldness is more common in men than women, and it can occur due to various reasons. The reasons behind baldness are explained in this article to give you a better understanding about this common problem.
Baldness results from an excessive loss of hair, and is characterized by the absence of hair in an area of the scalp. The medical term for hair loss and baldness is alopecia. Baldness can result from various conditions, but more commonly it is associated with genetics and hormonal imbalances.
So, baldness can be hereditary, but heredity is not the only reason behind baldness, as factors other than heredity can also play a significant role in causing excessive hair loss. Both men and women, can experience hair thinning and baldness. However, baldness in women is rare as compared to men.
Baldness in Men
Baldness in men is usually caused by a condition, known as androgenic alopecia or ‘male pattern baldness’. Hair thinning in men usually occurs due to the effects of the hormone dihydrotestosterone or DHT. The hair follicles of some individuals are more vulnerable to baldness, as they weaken and shrink easily due to the action of this hormone. The hormone testosterone is converted to dihydrotestosterone by the action of the 5-alpha reductase enzyme. Hair loss due to androgenic alopecia is usually hereditary.
Permanent hair loss and baldness can also occur in conditions like scarring alopecia. Alopecia areata is another condition which can cause temporary baldness. It is an autoimmune condition. Apart from these, factors like fungal infections of the scalp or tinea capitis, radiation therapy, major surgery, some illnesses like scarlet fever and typhoid, genetics, and certain medications, especially chemotherapy drugs, can be responsible for causing hair loss in men.
The causes of baldness in women can be a bit different from men. However, like men, women can also experience an excessive loss of hair due to the action of the hormone, dihydrotestosterone (DHT). This is referred to as female pattern baldness, and it usually affects women after menopause. However, it usually does not lead to baldness or a complete loss of hair. It has been observed that women having high levels of circulating androgenic hormones are more susceptible to this condition
Serious illnesses, chemotherapy drugs, radiation therapy, and major surgery can also cause excessive hair loss and baldness. Many women on the other hand, can experience hair loss after childbirth, mainly due to stress and hormonal fluctuations. During pregnancy, the level of the hormone estrogen in the body rises, which promotes hair growth. But after delivery, the level of estrogen in the body reduces, which can trigger hair loss in women. However, this is a temporary condition, as the hair usually grows back within a few months.
Diet and nutrition can have a significant impact on hair loss. In fact, it has been observed that female baldness can be associated with eating disorders, like bulimia and anorexia. Women are also more likely to suffer from thyroid conditions like hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism, and both the conditions can cause hair loss.
Like men, women can suffer from conditions like alopecia areata and tinea capitis as well. Some other common factors for hair loss in women are, use of birth control pills, hormone replacement therapy, traction alopecia, scarring alopecia, liver disease, kidney failure, crash dieting, and nutritional deficiency, especially a deficiency of iron and biotin.
Many of these underlying causes of hair loss are reversible. In other words, it is possible to prevent hair loss by addressing the underlying causes. Nowadays, several medications are available for treating baldness and alopecia, including androgenic alopecia and alopecia areata. Surgery or hair transplantation is also an option to reverse baldness. However, a proper treatment plan can be designed only after ascertaining the underlying causes of hair loss. Therefore, men and women experiencing excessive hair loss and progressive baldness should get their condition evaluated with the help of a physician.
Disclaimer: This article is for informative purposes only, and should not be treated as a substitute for professional medical advice.