Male Pattern Baldness

Nov 14, 2012

By Barret Procyshyn, Pharmacist at the Dauphin Clinic Pharmacy

I like to think of November as a mans month. CFL playoffs lead to the grey cup, the snow falls for snowmobiling paradise, wives feel like widows while their men are out deer hunting, curling and hockey are in full swing and you may even get to see the shacks moving to the Valley River. Not to mention, it is Movember, so we can grow our mustaches with pride.

While it is great to be a man and we are growing awesome mustaches, unfortunately a lack of hair on top of our heads does bother us. This used to just be a fact of getting old; we men loose our hair. While there is no magical cure for baldness there is a little more we can do than just put on a hat.

Hair loss, pattern baldness or androgenic alopecia are all fancy words for the same thing; a receding hairline. Male pattern baldness affects a quarter of men by the time they are 30 years old and two thirds of men by the time they are at the age of 60.

A popular belief for a cause for baldness is wearing a hat too often. Wearing a hat does not directly cause hair loss, but it can lead to increased hair breakage and split ends. This could make your hair look even thinner, but it is not the actual cause. Another myth is hair loss due to the stress from a wife. However; this myth is still up for debate.

There is a saying you will be bald if your mothers father had a receding hairline. This saying does have some truth. The baldness gene is carried in the x- chromosome. Your mother has two x-chromosomes, so there is an increased likelihood your mother is carrying the gene and will pass it down. Research also shows if you have a balding father, it increases your risk of hair loss.

The thinning and loss of hair from the scalp is caused by two main factors in men: heredity and a hormone called DHT (dihydrotestosterone). DHT contributes to the shortening of the growth phase and thinning of hair.

Hair loss can have some psychological and emotional impacts, specifically causing difficulty expressing feelings be more prone to avoiding family conflicts. Some men actually embrace their baldness, as the shaved head look has recently increased in popularity. Bruce Willis, Mark Messier, Howie Mandel and even Trevor Shewfelt have set the trend; being bald is cool.

If you are beginning to show sings of baldness, treatment options are available to slow progression or even stimulate new hair growth. As mentioned none of them are miracle drugs and eventually only about one third of men will be happy with their treatment. But stay positive, you could be the one in three men who have success.

Finasteride (Propecia) is a once a day pill available by prescription, aimed to treat men with mild to moderate hair loss. Finasteride lowers the amount of DHT in the scalp, the hormone which leads to hair loss. It may take up to three months to notice results and must be used continually. However, I have seen people benefit from the medication. There are some new warnings that come with propecia including reduced libido, so you should speak to your doctor about whether it is right for you.

Rogaine (minoxidil) is a liquid solution applied to the scalp twice daily. After a year of use 40% of users reported moderate hair growth and 36% reported some but minimal growth. This medication, in a 2% strength is available over the counter at the pharmacy. Those looking for something stronger can get 5% Minoxidil compounded at the Dauphin Clinic Pharmacy. You will need a prescription from your physician, but additional hair growth may be seen by using the extra strength compound.

Hair Transplant is another option for hair loss sufferers. It is a minor surgical procedure that moves hair and its follicles from the sides and back of the head to the balding region. This transplanted hair grows permanently at a normal rate of approximately inch per month.

Be aware of expensive vitamin and natural hair growth products. These products have little evidence to support their claims. There is no miracle grow for the head. If you are a post-menopausal female who is noticing thinning hair, you can speak to a Dauphin Clinic Pharmacist for possible treatment options.

If you are suffering from baldness and it is bothering you, give one of the treatment options a try. It is very possible it could work for you. Embracing your baldness is never a bad option either. You can always grow an outstanding movember-stache. If you are interested in seeing the DCP Movember mustaches check out our Facebook page. Also remember to head down to the curling rink and watch some great curling action at the Dauphin Clinic Pharmacy Cash Spiel. You can also view live results by using the link on our website at dcp.ca.

As always if you have any questions or concerns about these or other products, ask your pharmacist.

The information in this article is intended as a helpful guide only. It is not intended to be used as a substitute for professional advice. If you have any questions about your medications and what is right for you see your doctor, pharmacist or other health care professional.

We now have this and most other articles published in the Parkland Shopper on our Website. Please visit us at www.dcp.ca

 


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