So you’re losing your hair? Feels like it’s the end of the world, does it? Well, I’m here to give you some good news and some bad news. We will start with the bad first and that is unfortunately hair loss isn’t the only annoying change that goes with breaking into the golden years. Other changes include erectile dysfunction, swelling prostates, urinary symptoms that go with large prostates, decreasing time in stage 4 sleep, and the list goes on and on. The way I see it going bald is the least of your concerns.
Ok, so the good news is that in today’s age of pharmacy, there are several great options to solve many of the above-mentioned problems, including hair loss. So you don’t have to just accept your genetically determined fate. Not only are there good pharmalogical options but the semi surgical options of hair implants are always improving.
So what causes hair loss otherwise known as male pattern baldness? Well, it is in the genes as mentioned above. The rumor is that it runs through the maternal line. So if your mom’s dad is bald, then you’d better start getting ready. That isn’t the whole story though. It turns out that there is an enzyme that changes testosterone to dihyroxytestosterone or DHT. DHT which is produced in greater amounts and for which some are more sensitive to acts in many ways including the root of the hair and actually acts as a toxin to the hair permanently ending the ability of the hair-producing proginator cells to continue growing hair.
One of the best treatments is a drug called finasteride or propecia which inhibits the enzyme, alpha 1 reductase, that catalyzes the reduction of testosterone to DHT. If begun early enough it can prevent (or significantly slow) hair loss. This drug has been shown to be wonderfully efficacious at relatively low doses, which limits the side effects to a tolerable minimum. One problem with the drug that has recently been made much of in the media is the olympic ban on propecia. It turns out that it can and has been used as a coverup for anabolic steroid performance-enhancing drugs. So a significant issue that fortunately affects only a very small minority of balding men.
As mentioned there is also the implant option which for a while seemed like it made you look worse than just having no hair. The cornrows weren’t what most guys were going for and were anything but natural. Now, however, you really have a hard time noticing the difference unless you are around a guy and all of a sudden they have a head of hair that didn’t use to be there. So like I said, compared to the other problems that will eventually crop up, hair loss is tame. But lest we suffer in the looks department fortunately there are good options to stem the “disease.”