Why men go bald and how to stop it

Andrew Kasumba had a mane that he loved. However, he started seeing his hairline recede and became worried, “I loved my hair and was not happy that it was starting to thin at the front. To deal with the difference in height, I started cutting it to ensure all was uniform. But that only worked for a few months before the hair gave way to expose my scalp,” he says. From then on, Kasumba opted for a clean shaven head.

We lose approximately 100-100,000 strands of hair every day, according to everydayhealth.com, an online portal. While losing hair strands is natural, there is supposed to be a replacement for the lost hair. However, it is important to know that baldness occurs due to several other reasons:

Male pattern balding
Dr Edward Ogwang, a dermatologist, says, this is a hormonal genetic condition that affects men due to a hormone called androgen and could start as early as 20. He says the hairs at the corners and the tempo start to shrink to the point of looking like body hairs before disappearing completely.

While chemotherapy drugs are known to lead to hair loss, there are many other drugs that may cause hair to fall out. Dr Malik Ssempereza, a dermatologist with Unity Skin Clinic, says these include anti-thyroid medications, anti-convulsants (for epilepsy), and antipsychotics, among others. In addition, high-cholesterol and/or high blood pressure drugs exacerbate hair fallout and thinning as they can deplete CoQ10 (a nutrient that occurs naturally in the body), which can result in hair loss.

Chronic diseases
“The kidneys and liver of one suffering from diseases such as HIV/Aids, and cancers tend to get overwhelmed hence failing to cope with the high toxin levels within the body,” Dr Dr Francis Asiimwe, a dermatologist with Ultra Care Medical Services, points out. The body then turns to the skin to emit these toxins. W

hile palms and feet seem unaffected, the hair cannot handle the toxins hence it starts falling off.

Other causes
Grueling exercise While fitness is your life, high-resistance training is most likely causing a spike in testosterone. Dr Malik Ssempereza, a dermatologist with Unity Skin Clinic, says testosterone is converted to DHT (dihyrotestosterone) whose increase in your system will kill your hair follicles.

Smoking. “Every puff (including cigars) clamps down the tiny blood vessels in your skin, starving those skin cells and hair follicles of vital nutrients such as oxygen and leaving toxins in place,” Dr Ssempereza says. There is need to consider stopping it, as your skin will age faster and look older sooner and the receding hairline will creep back double-time making you look older.

Sleep deprivation. Most men need at least seven hours of sleep per night. “Alternations in sleep patterns affect the body’s immune system. This in turn creates problems with hormone secretion hence affecting your hair follicle growth cycles,” Dr Ssempereza points out.

Excessive dieting. “Depriving your body of nutrients to lose weight will cause hair loss because follicles need a good supply of energy to make hair. Deficiencies in other nutrients such as vitamin B and protein are said to contribute to hair loss. Hair requires minerals, protein, and vitamins to remain healthy,” Dr Ssempereza advises.

Use of anti-androgens
While it is difficult to treat it as it is hereditary, Dr Chirang Kotecha of Avane Cosmetic Clinique and MediSpa, says, there are creams and sprays that one can use to keep the hairline intact. However, some of these treatments have several side effects, especially propecia which could bring on impotence. Therefore, one should think through their priorities before using the treatment.

Dr Francis Asiimwe, a dermatologist with Ultra Care Medical Services, says after assessment by a dermatologist, hormone resistant hairs are located and transplanted to the balding place.

While hair transplant is a great fix for balding, Dr Kotecha says it should be a last resort. “We start with tablets and other treatments and consider stem cell treatment which involves applying stem cells in the scalp to stimulate hair growth. This treatment takes between six months and one year before you can really consider a transplant,” he adds.


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