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Learn About The Causes And Effects Of Androgenetic Alopecia

Sep 8, 2008
Androgenetic Alopecia is a condition that affects 1 in 7 people in the US, approximate 35 million people, which is 12.87 percent of the total population. The condition can affect any part of the body which has hair follicles and varies in severity. The condition does not cause many debilitating physical problems however does have a serious affect on the sufferer psychologically as it lowers self esteem.

The condition can affect men, women and even chimpanzees and is more commonly known as male pattern baldness in men. The symptoms of the condition are a receding hairline and loss of hair in the crown area of the scalp, however this differs in women as they experience a thinning of the hair as opposed to the prevalent receding hairline in men. The severity of the condition also depends on the causes of the balding.

The most common cause is the aforementioned hereditary condition that affects men and women, Androgenetic Alopecia and cutting edge research has identified the condition being hormonal. The androgen hormones are responsible for standard masculine sexual development and the main hormone responsible is called DHT. It is believed that the maternal side of the genetic pool is key and that a recessive variant of the androgen gene is responsible however the condition is still not fully understood.

There are other environmental factors that can cause baldness and the most common are malnutrition, dermatological scalp conditions, illness and stress. Some of these causes of Androgenetic Alopecia are harder to treat than others however in most cases there is something that can be done, there have been excellent developments in the treatment of the genetic strain of the condition.

Opinion varies on how best to treat Androgenetic Alopecia however many experts believe that a combination of hair transplant surgery and medication boasts the best results. Hair replacement surgery is now a relatively common treatment and there are many specialists practicing using increasingly effective techniques.

Hair transplant surgery is a procedure which is generally performed under local anaesthetic and hair is stripped from a discreet donor area of the scalp, usually from round the back of the head which is genetically programmed to re-grow. The hair is taken in clumps of follicles and the amount taken is down to the discretion of the individual surgeon, however it is essential that the follicles are intact.

The donor hair is then surgically implanted into the recipient area, usually in the crown of the scalp, then the donor area is sutured back together. The hair transplant follicles do not have the same genetic code as the affected area, they have genetic code from the lower part of the scalp which is programmed to re-grow. After the donor hair sheds after a couple of months the transplanted hair should grow normally and results should be seen in approximately two years.

Hair transplant surgery is only a success when taken in combination with medication. There are two main medications that have been clinically proven to combat Androgenetic Alopecia. Minoxidil, which has the pharmaceutical name Rogaine has been on the market for some time and shows some success in arresting hair loss however no results as far as hair regeneration goes. It is available over the counter of a pharmacy in certain dosages.

Finasteride which has the pharmaceutical name Propecia, is a newer drug and only available in prescription as it can potentially be fatal to foetuses so should never been taken by pregnant women. This drug has shown excellent results in hair regeneration and it is crucial to be taken after hair transplant surgery as ceasing the medication can result in a return to the pre-hair transplant level of hair loss.
About the Author
Dominic Donaldson is an expert on hair transplant and contributes to trade publications on the subject.
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