We’ve all been there, you run your hands through your hair and you notice a few strands come loose - a type of hair loss that really isn’t anything to worry about. In fact, according to the NHS, the average person can lose between 50 and 100 hairs every day - and most of us might not even realize . However, if your hair loss has gone beyond losing a couple of hairs, and you have been experiencing sudden hair loss regularly, it might be a sign that your hormones have shifted slightly.
Iron deficiency, certain medications, or stress can all cause temporary hair loss in men. Still, one of the most common, and more permanent, types of hair loss in men is androgenetic alopecia, perhaps better known as male pattern baldness. As the name suggests, this form of hair loss is related to the androgen hormones which play a crucial role in sexual development, including, you guessed it, regulating hair growth. Here’s what you need to know.
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How do hormones affect hair loss in men?
You follow a healthy and balanced diet, you’re not on any new medications, haven’t been sick recently, and don’t have an illness that would cause hair loss. If all of this runs true, your sudden hair loss may be a result of androgenetic alopecia (or male pattern baldness.)
According to the National Library of Medicine, there are a variety of factors that might cause androgenetic alopecia however research has shown that it is associated with androgen hormones; particularly dihydrotestosterone (DHT), which is produced as a byproduct of testosterone .
DHT is produced by the 5-alpha reductase enzyme and can be found in the skin, hair, and prostate. When androgens such as testosterone and DHT fluctuate, it can shrink hair follicles and shorten the usual hair growth cycle which can result in hair loss and thinning. While some men might find that their hair is particularly sensitive to these hormones, others won’t notice any significant changes in their hair.
What are the signs of male pattern baldness?
Of course, one of the most common signs of male pattern baldness is hair loss. This can occur in a number of different ways but it most commonly occurs at the hairline. As the hairline begins to recede, it can form what could be described as an ‘M’ shape. Everyone won’t experience hair loss in the same way though, and some may notice hair around the crown thinning or falling out.
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What are the other common causes of hair loss?
Male pattern hair loss is one of the most common types of balding in men across the United States with estimates suggesting that around 50% of all men over the age of 50 will be affected in some way . Still, as mentioned above, this isn’t the only cause of hair loss in men and there are a handful of other potential causes.
If work has been particularly busy or you have an overdue college assignment, you might find yourself feeling slightly overwhelmed. It’s important to know that this is a completely natural reaction, with Mayo Clinic noting that certain levels of stress are sometimes a good motivator. But if you find that your stress levels are affecting how you cope with your usual day-to-day tasks, it’s possible that it’s also the cause of your hair loss.
High levels of stress can cause three types of hair loss - telogen effluvium, trichotillomania, and alopecia areata. If you suspect that stress might be the cause, take some steps towards managing your stress by hanging out with friends, getting out for some fresh air, and giving yourself the TLC you deserve.
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If you are on medication for a certain condition, it may be the reason for your hair loss. Medications used to treat cancer, arthritis, depression, and high blood pressure are just some of the medications and supplements thought to cause hair loss. If you think this is the case, it’s important to reach out to your doctor who can advise you on the best options for you.
Iron plays many important roles in order to keep our bodies healthy and functioning, one of those being supporting our hair, skin, and nails. This is why if you aren’t getting sufficient amounts of iron through your diet, or you have iron deficiency anemia, you may experience hair loss or thinning. Other symptoms of iron deficiency to note include extreme fatigue, pale skin, and weakness.
Low iron levels or iron deficiency anemia can be treated with supplementation or incorporating more iron-rich foods into your diet. With that said, it’s important not to self-diagnose and to check in with your doctor before you take supplements.
Is hair loss genetic?
As mentioned above, androgenetic alopecia is one of the most common causes of male pattern hair loss. This is a hereditary condition and it can occur in both men and women - usually causing a receding hairline or bald spots in men or thinning hair along the crown in women.
Androgenetic alopecia is one of the most common causes of male hair loss which can occur when hormone levels fluctuate. If you suspect that this might be the root of your hair loss, you can check in on your hormone health with your doctor or from home with an at-home Male Hormone Test.
LetsGetChecked’s Testosterone Test can measure the testosterone levels present in your blood with a simple finger prick sample. Online results will be available within 2-5 days and our dedicated medical team will be available to answer any questions you may have during or after the process.
You should consider taking a test if:
- You are undergoing chemotherapy or radiation therapy
- You suffer from Klinefelter syndrome
- You suffer from type 1 and type 2 diabetes
- You suffer from hemochromatosis
- You have a pituitary gland disorder
- You are obese
- You suffer from chronic stress
- You take anabolic steroids
- You have a family history of low testosterone
- You suffer from thyroid issues
- You have kidney or liver disease
- You have anorexia nervosa
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