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Male pattern baldness

  • Alternative Names

    Alopecia in men; Baldness - male; Hair loss in men; Androgenetic alopecia


    Treatment

    Treatment is not necessary if you are comfortable with your appearance. Hair weaving, hairpieces, or change of hairstyle may disguise the hair loss. This is usually the least expensive and safest approach for male baldness.

    Two medications are approved to treat male pattern baldness:

    • Minoxidil (Rogaine) is a solution that you apply directly to the scalp to stimulate the hair follicles. It slows hair loss for many men, and some men grow new hair. Hair loss returns when you stop using this medicine.
    • Finasteride (Propecia, Proscar) is a pill that interferes with the production of a certain male hormone linked to baldness. It slows hair loss. It works a bit better than minoxidil. Hair loss returns when you stop using this medicine.

    Hair transplants consist of removing tiny plugs of hair from areas where the hair is continuing to grow and placing them in areas that are balding. This can cause minor scarring and possibly, infection. The procedure usually requires multiple sessions and may be expensive. Results, however, are often excellent and permanent.

    Suturing hair pieces to the scalp is not recommended. It can result in scars, infections, and abscess of the scalp. The use of hair implants made of artificial fibers was banned by the FDA because of the high rate of infection.


    Support Groups


    Expectations (prognosis)

    Male pattern baldness does not indicate a medical disorder, but it may affect self-esteem or cause anxiety. The hair loss is usually permanent.


    Complications
    • Psychological stress
    • Loss of self-esteem due to change in appearance

    Calling your health care provider

    Call your doctor if:

    • Your hair loss occurs in an atypical pattern, including rapid hair loss, widespread shedding, hair loss in patches, or hair breakage.
    • Your hair loss occurs with itching, skin irritation, redness, scaling, pain, or other symptoms.
    • Your hair loss begins after starting a medication.
    • You want to attempt to treat your hair loss.