Male pattern baldness

Alternative Names

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

Definition of Male pattern baldness

Male pattern baldness is the most common type of hair loss in men. It usually follows a typical pattern of receding hairline and hair thinning on the crown, and is caused by hormones and genetic predisposition.

Causes, incidence, and risk factors

Hair grows about an inch every couple of months. Each hair grows for 2 to 6 years, remains at that length for a short period, then falls out. A new hair soon begins growing in its place. At any one time, about 85% of the hair on your head is in the growing phase and 15% is not.

Symptoms

The typical pattern of male baldness begins at the hairline. The hairline gradually recedes to form an “M” shape. The existing hair may become finer and shorter. The hair at the crown also begins to thin. Eventually the top of the hairline meets the thinned crown, leaving a horseshoe pattern of hair around the sides of the head.

Signs and tests

Classic male pattern baldness is usually diagnosed based on the appearance and pattern of the hair loss. Any atypical hair loss may be caused by other medical disorders. A skin biopsy or other procedures may be needed to diagnose other disorders that cause .

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.

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.

Review

Michael Lehrer, MD, Department of Dermatology, University of Pennsylvania Medical Center, Philadelphia, PA. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc. – 4/17/2009

Male pattern baldness
Hair follicle

ADAM Medical Encyclopedia

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