What is Male Androgenetic Alopecia (AGA)?
Male Androgenetic Alopecia is the term used to describe hormonal hair loss in men. It can vary in appearance from a receding hairline at the front of the scalp to complete baldness extending from ear to ear. The Norwood scaling system consists of 7 stages of AGA in men.
What is the cause of Androgenetic Alopecia?
This male gene-related hair loss condition is inherited from either the man’s mother or father. These inherited genes cause a man to be susceptible to balding. Because of this genetic predisposition, DHT (dihydrotestosterone) alters the growth process of hair so that the individual hair strands become progressively finer and finer which is called “miniaturization”
What are the symptoms?
This condition is usually associated with a receding hairline or balding on top of the head. Periodic excessive shedding of hair which makes it seem as if the hair loss is accelerating can be also be noticed in some men.
How is it diagnosed?
Male AGA is usually diagnosed by a dermatologist based upon visual inspection. You will also be asked questions about your family history of similar baldness.
What tests are needed?
Blood tests are not usually required for male AGA unless there is a suspicion of a medical condition causing excess androgen production in men who do not have a family history of baldness.
What is the expected duration?
Male AGA is lifelong, and without treatment it usually progresses over a period of years until the final pattern of baldness is established.
How can it be prevented?
There is no known prevention of Male Androgenetic Alopecia.
Medical treatment using topical minoxidil products, oral finasteride are standard approaches to treating Male AGA. Low-level laser therapy has shown to be of benefit in some, although there is not consistent success.
Hair transplant surgery is very effective and many men choose this option.
Stem cell treatment using Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) can also be used to treat male AGA with success documented in recent clinical studies.
When to contact a professional
For those men who find that they are bothered by becoming bald for whatever reason, it would be best to consult a dermatologist or hair physician at the first sign of hair loss. The earlier treatment is started, the better the results can be.
Medications and treatments can take a year to see any progress but have to be continued indefinitely. Stem cell treatment can provide ongoing hair growth and extend the time that it might take for the need to have a hair transplant in men who start this treatment early enough. For the man with AGA who chooses not to go bald, medical therapy can provide significant improvement and be beneficial to self-esteem.