The statistics on hair loss in men are rather stark: up to forty percent of all men in their forties experience hair loss, and this figure tops fifty percent by the time of retirement. It may begin as early as puberty, and even more so, an estimated fifty million American men suffer from male pattern baldness, also called androgenic alopecia. This is the premature loss of hair on the crown or top of the head. It may strike at any point during a man’s life, but it generally starts in middle age, continues into the fifties or sixties, and then becomes steady and less obvious as it slows down in the seventies and eighties. Men rarely notice it, because the normal growth cycle of the hair on the head only requires three hair strands to grow every day for a year.
There are several causes of hair loss in men and one of the most common is chemotherapy. The chemotherapy patient may notice sudden thinning of hair, usually within just a week of the treatment. A person experiencing chemotherapy as a result of cancer might also notice thinning hair along with other symptoms such as nausea, dizziness, muscle weakness, nausea, lethargy, lack of concentration, mood swings, vomiting, weight loss, bone pain and swelling, persistent joint pain, stomach pain, persistent diarrhea, cold hands and feet, and more. Some chemotherapy patients who have experienced these symptoms do not necessarily consider them indications of cancer, but instead may conclude that chemotherapy is causing a generalized feeling of illness.
The side effect of medication to treat cancer
Chemotherapy, like any other medication used to treat cancer, can cause hair loss in men, but this side effect rarely occurs. Hair loss due to chemotherapy is usually found to be unexpected and most patients are unaware that such a side effect occurs. If you experience hair loss as a result of chemotherapy, a doctor will likely need to conduct a medical evaluation to identify the exact cause of your chemotherapy hair loss and to find out how extensive the loss is.
The term used to describe the most common type of hair loss in men. This condition generally appears due to the body’s reaction to the chemical compound called insulin. Insulin is a hormone produced by the pancreas and requires glucose to function. If the body cannot produce sufficient amounts of insulin, glucose is transported to the liver where it is broken down to produce glycogen, which is then stored to provide energy for the cells. To replenish the glycogen stores, the liver produces excessive amounts of free radicals. Free radicals cause further damage to the cells, causing them to become sickly and fragile, eventually leading to balding.
Another common cause of hair loss in men, particularly with chemotherapy, is what is known as traction alopecia. Traction alopecia is the gradual thinning of the scalp, beginning at the back of the ear and progressing toward the front of the scalp. This type of hair loss is typically marked by small patches of balding. A physician may use a seborrheic dermatitis citation needed testing to determine if the hair loss is the result of traction alopecia. This examination involves taking skin samples from areas where there is evidence of alopecia and comparing these samples with samples taken from areas where there are no noticeable signs of inflammation.
Lastly, another common cause of hair loss in men is known as telogen effluvium. Telogen effluvium is characterized by excessive shedding of hairs, usually starting in the genital area and moving outward toward the crown of the head. The hairs do not rest and move into a resting phase as they do during the normal growth process. If the shedding continues, the hairs can become matted and difficult to treat.