There is a definite relation between male hormones and baldness. Hippocrates, known as the ‘father of medicine’ was the first person to discover a relation between hair loss and sexual hormones. Aristotle and Hippocrates both observed in their studies that eunuchs never suffered from baldness. James Hamilton first discovered that testosterone, a male hormone which is lacking in eunuchs was responsible for hair loss.
How hormones lead to baldness
Today, we know that testosterone, the male hormone, converts to DHT (Dihydrotestosterone) that has been proven to cause baldness. This conversion is facilitated by 5-alpha reductase enzyme in the body. Men who are genetically lacking this 5-alpha reductase enzyme in their body do not develop male pattern hair loss.
Men with male pattern hair loss (MPHL) have hair loss in the frontal and crown regions and often have a family history of baldness. Some women with female pattern hair loss (FPHL) have been shown to have excessive androgen levels. They also have a pattern of hair loss similar to men with thinning and recession in the frontal and vertex areas of the scalp.
These women also suffer from other problems like acne, excessive hair growth and irregular or scanty periods. But not all women with FPHL have excessive androgen levels, which shows that there may be other mechanisms also involved in the causation of hair loss. Another type of hair loss seen more commonly in women is where there is thinning of hair rather than a patterned hair loss.
Other reasons for hair loss
While male pattern and female pattern alopecia have been attributed to excessive testosterone and androgen levels, there are other causes of hair loss too that need to be evaluated by a dermatologist. Infections in the scalp, autoimmune disorders, childbirth, extreme weight loss, thyroid disorders, iron deficiency, polycystic ovary disease, severe psoriasis, seborrheic dermatitis can all cause hair loss.
Also, tight hairstyles can cause traction alopecia and there is also trichotillomania which is a condition where the person pulls and plucks out his own hair. This has been attributed to a psychological disorder and requires various behavioural interventions. Chemical dyes, straightening, curling, ironing and other styling techniques can also cause breakage and thinning of hair.
This is why it is important to get a proper evaluation by a dermatologist, who can suggest the right treatment program for your hair loss, even if it is due to hormonal problems.
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