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Baldness

What is baldness?

Baldness is ‘thinning’ of the hairs of your head and about 95% of all hair thinning occurs in men as they grow older. It increases with age, and varies greatly from one adult population to another based on inherited factors. Incidence in white western background indicates that around three quarters of men aged 80 or over will suffer from it.

What causes it?

The commonest cause of hair thinning in men is due to a ‘baldness gene’ inherited from your mother. There is about a 50 percent chance of a man receiving the baldness gene (if their mother is carrying it – though if the mother has the baldness gene, it doesn’t mean that she goes bald) and resulting hair loss can begin as early as the end of puberty. Other causes of baldness, which will also occur in girls, include; treatment of cancers with chemotherapy, specific radiotherapy that involves the scalp; various medications; poor nutrition; stress which may also be associated with pulling one’s hair etc

Treatment

There is presently no way to start permanent regrowth of hair that has been lost due to inherited causes, though the effects of hair loss can be reduced or delayed once it is happening. Stress reduction helps in slowing hair loss. Hair transplantation can be carried out and has had a certain degree of success in the likes of Wayne Rooney.

Some myths and truths about baldness:

  • "Baldness can be caused by stress"true
  • "Sleep deprivation can cause baldness"not proven
  • "Bald men are more virile or sexually active" not proven
  • "The gene that causes baldness is inherited from your mother"true but also if you have a balding father you have an increased chance of experiencing hair loss, whatever is inherited from your mother
  • "There is an association between increase exercise and baldness"not proven
  • "Reduced sexual activity slows baldness"not proven
  • "If you masturbate many times a day you will go bald"absolutely no evidence