Have you been seeing more hair stuck in the shower drain recently? It can be discomfiting to feel like you’re dropping more hair than usual — in fact, we lose around 100 strands of hair a day. What’s more worrying is if these strands don’t grow back in, as this could lead to thinning hair and early balding.
As many as 85% of men will experience hair loss in their lifetime. We share the common reasons for hair loss in men as well as treatment options and what you can do if you think you’re experiencing hair loss.
What causes hair loss in men?
Genetics: Most hair loss in men is the result of male-pattern baldness, which is a genetically predetermined disorder. Men inherit this gene from the X chromosome that they get from their mothers.
Hormone imbalance: High levels of the male hormone androgen can shrink hair follicles, making hair fall out faster. Conversely, low levels of the hormone DHT (Dihydrotestosterone) can lead to slower regrowth of new hair.
Age: As we age, our hair follicles may shrink, resulting in thinner hair. Hormonal levels may also change in our bodies, leading to differences in hair loss and growth.
Lifestyle habits: Over-styling your hair (e.g. bleaching your hair regularly) can affect your scalp health and irritate your hair follicles. Deficiencies in your diet, such as lacking zinc or certain vitamins, can also speed up hair loss.
Stress: Poor mental health may trigger temporary hair loss, called telogen effluvium.
Underlying medical conditions: Hair loss can often be an early sign of underlying health conditions, including diabetes, thyroid issues, heart problems and gout; and even skin infections.
Are there any treatment options for hair loss?
These are a few possible treatment options your doctor may prescribe you, depending on factors such as your age, lifestyle habits, and medical history.
Lifestyle changes: One of the first things your doctor may advice you to do is to make healthy lifestyle changes.
Quitting smoking: Tobacco smoke contains more than 7,000 chemicals that are harmful for your body and can cause hair loss.
Learning effective stress management techniques: Stress-related hair loss is often temporary and your hair should grow back if you address your source of stress. You may also want to get professional advice from a mental health expert, if you’d like some extra help.
Adopting a balanced diet: On top of ensuring that you include a good variety of vegetables and fruits in your diet, try to eat less processed or oily, sugary and overly spicy foods.
Prescription and Over-the-counter (OTC) medication:
Minoxidil (Rogazine): Minoxidil can be purchased without a prescription. It comes in liquid, foam and shampoo forms and is used to treat male pattern baldness. It can take 4 to 6 months for results to show.
Finasteride: This drug is only available with a prescription from your doctor. While traditionally used to treat prostate enlargement, Finasteride has been approved for its use in male pattern hair loss and works by reducing the levels of DHT. It may take up to 3 months of daily use for results to show.
Hair Transplant: You could also consider a hair transplant if lifestyle changes or medication doesn’t seem effective. This involves taking hair follicles from healthier areas of your scalp to the areas that are balding. Of course, this treatment option is more invasive than medication, so this should be something you talk over with your doctor before you decide on it.
When should I see a doctor for hair loss?
You should see a doctor if you notice an abnormal increase in the number of strands of hair you’re losing. Hair loss and balding are pretty visible conditions, especially if it’s been occurring for a prolonged period.
Other symptoms you can look out for include:
Patchy bald spot
Hair thinning on top of the head or scalp looking noticeable
Sudden hair loss
Complete loss of hair on your scalp and body
The first step for managing hair loss is to consult a doctor for medical advice. You can speak to a doctor anytime you need on the DA app, from the comfort of your bedroom. Connect to a GP any time of the day, 24/7.