Written by Dr. Gary Kawesch
It’s no secret that having a head full of hair can significantly boost a man’s confidence and self-esteem when they look in the mirror. However, most men rarely consider their hair’s importance to their emotional health, assuming it will always remain lush and healthy. Unfortunately, for some men, that isn’t always the case.
As men age, their hair follicles will eventually begin to weaken and break, causing a slow yet gradual process of hair loss. Of course, the sudden change in their hair quality can have an adverse effect on their overall appearance and how men view themselves, which can eventually lead to depression. For most men who experience hair loss, the process can feel frustrating and lonely. But the truth is hair loss is extremely common among aging adults and, even more so, prevalent among men.
By the time they reach 35, over 85% of men in the United States will experience a significant amount of hair loss. In some cases, even younger men between the ages of 16 and 29 may also find their hair thinning prematurely, indicating that the aging process may not always cause hair loss. For every man suffering from hair loss, this phenomenon can prompt many to question their body composition and the source of this unwanted transition.
Unfortunately, due to their differences in physiology, there are several possibilities as to why men may experience hair loss differently. In this article, we will explore the potential causes of male hair loss and the various treatment options men have available to restore their hair to its former glory.
The Main Causes of Hair Loss in Men
Genetics (Family History and Aging)
For many men, the most common cause of hair loss stems from their genetics as they age. Typically, men who have family members with a history of hair loss or baldness are more likely to experience hair loss themselves. Usually, this form of hair loss in men starts with a receding hairline (frontal baldness) as hair from the top of the head also begins to fall. As time wears on, the two balding areas connect and create a “U” shaped pattern with the remaining hair around the sides and the back of the head. This condition is known as androgenic alopecia or male pattern baldness (MPB).
Usually, androgenic alopecia occurs more often in men over the age of 30 with a family history of baldness, but in some cases, it can affect younger men as soon as they reach the age of 21. However, in most cases, men do not experience this form of hair loss until their 60s and 70s. During their “Silver Years,” most elderly men will experience gradual hair thinning as the aging process weakens their hair follicles and halts the production of new hair growth.
Certain prescriptions for specific medical conditions can cause hair loss as a side effect. Men who take prescription drugs for medical issues such as cancer, high blood pressure, arthritis, depression, and heart disease have a higher chance of experiencing sudden hair loss. Chemotherapy or radiation treatments for certain cancers can also cause men to lose their hair.
Frequent exposure to stressful situations for long durations can also cause temporary hair loss. For most men, extreme stress can lead to increased levels of cortisol, the primary hormone responsible for regulating the body’s stress response, and other hormone imbalances that can slow down hair growth. Typically, workplace tension, relationship issues, sudden physical shock, or traumatic events are the most common sources of stress for men experiencing hair loss.
Hairstyles and Treatments
Consistent use of certain hairstyles and treatments can also harm the follicles and cause hair loss. Hairstyles such as pigtails or cornrows that place immense strain on the roots as the hair is pulled tightly against the scalp can cause a specific type of hair loss known as traction alopecia. Hot oil treatments, perms, and bleaching products can damage the follicles, causing hair to fall out. Typically, hair will grow back after applying certain hairstyle treatments; however, constant use can eventually cause any related hair loss to be permanent.
Lifestyle Choices And Habits
Malnutrition and particular daily habits can also contribute to hair loss. Unhealthy diets missing the appropriate amounts of protein, iron, vitamins, and other essential nutrients can lead to several deficiencies that can cause hair to thin as the follicles slowly weaken and remain in the anagen (resting) phase. Physical complications such as rapid weight loss or weight gain can also lead to certain deficiencies that can cause hair loss. Other lifestyle choices, such as daily alcohol consumption and smoking regularly, have also been shown to accelerate male pattern baldness.
Sudden hormonal changes associated with certain diseases or aging can adversely affect the body and inadvertently cause hair loss. Medical conditions such as thyroid disease can cause hormonal imbalances that stimulate hair loss, while other conditions such as diabetes can affect the immune system and cause hair loss issues such as alopecia areata. Other hormonal changes, such as testosterone deficiency, have also been suspected of contributing to sudden hair loss.
Don’t wait, improve your life now.
Does Low Testosterone Cause Hair Loss?
The testosterone hormone is an androgen responsible for regulating various male functions and characteristics, including muscle strength, sexual performance, and, last but certainly not least, hair growth. Due to testosterone’s impact on hair development, researchers have questioned whether or not there was a correlation between men’s testosterone and hair loss. After many years and several studies, the medical community has concluded that testosterone’s effect on hair loss can consist of several aspects involving the amount of testosterone found in the body and the synthesis of the hormone itself.
Researchers have determined that when testosterone levels drop below expected standards, the deficiency can deprive the follicles of the hormones needed to stimulate and maintain hair growth, which may explain why men with low testosterone are typically the most likely candidates to experience hormonal hair loss.
Another way low testosterone can affect hair growth is through the increased production of dihydrotestosterone (DHT), a form of testosterone found in specific areas such as the prostate, skin, and hair. When testosterone imbalance or deficiency occurs, an enzyme called 5-alpha reductase creates DHT from the testosterone hormone, which later binds to certain proteins needed for hair growth. Because it is five times the strength of normal testosterone, increased levels of DHT can cause hair follicles to shrink, eventually leading to thinning hair and halted hair production.
How Can You Treat Hair Loss Caused By Fluctuating Testosterone Levels?
Physicians commonly prescribe two different types of medications to help treat hair loss caused by testosterone imbalance and abnormal levels of DHT. These medicines are known as blockers and inhibitors.
Certain DHT blockers can enter the body and bind to the 5-alpha reductase enzyme before it can interact with any testosterone, thus, effectively preventing dihydrotestosterone from developing. Other types of DHT blockers are designed to increase blood circulation to the hair follicles and stimulate hair growth. The most common DHT blockers that physicians have found effective against hormonal hair loss are Minoxidil and Finasteride.
Many natural DHT Inhibitors like caffeine and green tea can help reduce or halt dihydrotestosterone production. Certain DHT inhibitors such as saw palmetto can even remove dihydrotestosterone already bound to hair follicles and prevent potential damage. Other inhibitors, such as peppermint oil, can also inhibit DHT and stimulate hair growth.
Testosterone Replacement Therapy and Hair Loss
For men with low T symptoms such as hair loss, testosterone replacement therapy (TRT) is a viable option that can help boost their testosterone levels and stimulate hair growth. Since testosterone is essential in regulating body and facial hair growth, TRT can help men raise their testosterone levels to healthier standards and prevent further hair loss, allowing their hair to return to its normal growth cycle. In addition, by using TRT to replenish their low testosterone, men can prevent the symptoms of low testosterone and other medical conditions that can contribute to their hair loss, such as diabetes.
At Renew Vitality, we provide comprehensive testosterone replacement therapy to men experiencing hair loss due to low testosterone. Our treatment programs combine various hormonal medications such as HGH and Sermorelin with individualized exercise and diet plans to help men naturally boost their testosterone levels and restore their hair growth cycle. If you suspect that you are experiencing hair loss due to low testosterone, please contact us at 1-800-785-3945 to schedule an appointment at one of our hormone replacement clinics in the United States.