Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Androgenic Hairloss

The most common form of hair loss, Androgenetic Alopecia or pattern baldness, is experienced by 50-80% of Caucasian men. Incase of women androgenetic alopecia occurs amongst 20-40% of the population.

What causes androgenic alopecia?
This is caused when the hair follicle is reduced in size and also when the time period of growth phase reduces. This means that the hair follicles are usually inactive for most of the time and after this the hair is shed once this stage is over. As there is no set way of losing hair, some part of the scalp loses more hair as compared to the other.

What causes androgenic alopecia? As boys grow up, their hair follicles are exposed to androgen (a hormone that controls the emergence and growth of masculine distinctiveness). Once their hair follicles are uncovered to androgen, they turn out to be "androgen sensitive" and androgenetic alopceia occurs.

An enzyme 5-alpha-reductase converts testosterone to DHT, which has the nature to bind to any androgen receptor in hair follicles.This binding reduces follicle action, shrinks the hair follicle, and slows down the hair development cycle and ultimately hair development ceases.

In case of women, the basis of androgen is a joint activity of the ovaries and the adrenal glands. Hair loss in women is straight related to pregnancy or menopause and their effects.

Hair loss in women is quite common. The female pattern baldness appears as hair thinning significantly over the top and sides of the head. Normal hair falls are approximately 100-125 strands per day, and severe hair loss is when the daily hair shed exceeds 125.

Sudden hormonal changes when starting or stopping contraceptives, starting or ending of a pregnancy, the start of menopause, are all known to cause androgenetic alopecia.The two key events in a life of a woman are pregnancy and menopause.

Myths of hair loss
Here are some of the myths regarding hair loss: Perms, colors and other chemical treatments cause permanent hair loss. Shaving your head completely will result in growth of thicker hair. Dandruff can cause permanent hair loss.

Sample this - stress causes permanent hair loss and hair loss does not occur in the late teens. Most people believe that hair loss affects intellectuals because they think so much. Smoking does cause hair loss but this is not a scientific fact, as research on this topic is not validated. Standing on your head will enable stimulation of hair growth and the gem of a myth is that androgenetic alopecia is inherited from mom or dad.

Actually the sources of hair loss can include the following among other factors

Physical stress due to surgery, major illness or rapid weight change
Emotional stress due to a mental illness, death of a loved one, or job layoff
The consequences of strong medications like high doses of Vitamin A, blood pressure medications or gout medications
Hormonal imbalances due to pregnancy, use of birth control pills, or the onset of menopause
Chemotherapy for treatment of cancer.