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Old 5th November 2009, 06:42 AM   #1 (permalink)
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No cure for baldness

No cure for baldness



By Charmaine Khoo


The root of premature balding in men often stems from androgenetic alopecia, commonly known as male pattern hair loss.

Doctors say that in the majority of cases involving androgenetic alopecia, the condition is inherited.

Dr Tan Kian Teo, a consultant dermatologist at the National Skin Centre, said: 'It is quite well-established that genetic factors play an important role in androgenetic alopecia.

'The affected individual frequently has a father or mother with the same problem. However, how it is inherited is still not completely understood.'

Genes aside, another causative factor of androgenetic alopecia is the male hormone dihidrotestosterone (DHT), a derivative of testosterone.

Dr Tan explained: 'In susceptible individuals, DHT acts on the hair follicles, causing a miniaturisation and reduction in hair growth.

'The affected hairs are typically distributed over the front and top of the scalp, resulting in recession of the frontal hairline and thinning around the crown.'

Premature balding in women commonly occurs as female pattern hair loss.

Like its male counterpart, the condition is often pre-wired genetically.

There are some women, however, who suffer from the male-pattern type of balding.

In such cases, the women often have high amounts of the male hormones testosterone or dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA).

Said Dr Derrick Aw, a consultant at the University Dermatology Clinic at National University Hospital: 'High levels of male hormones found in females could be due to conditions such as polycystic ovarian syndrome.'

Polycystic ovarian syndrome is a common hormonal disorder among women of reproductive age that can lead to infertility.

Dr Aw adds that premature balding in women may be the result of iron deficiency caused by excessive iron loss during heavy periods coupled with inadequate dietary replenishment.

Other illnesses such as systemic lupus erythematosus - a disease that can affect various parts of the body such as the skin and joints - and thyroid disease, which are more common in women, can lead to hair loss too.

'Environmental factors may play a possible role but it is uncertain at the moment,' said Dr Aw.

Certain medications can play a part too. However, they are not a primary cause of premature hair loss. 'Medications do not cause androgenetic alopecia or female pattern hair loss although some may aggravate the pre-existing problem,' said Dr Tan, who added that an example of a medication that occasionally may cause or aggravate hair loss is oral isotretinoin which is used to treat severe acne.

Female pattern hair loss and androgenetic alopecia can be treated with topical minoxidil lotion. Oral finasteride is often used to treat androgenetic alopecia.

Although there are treatments available to improve and control hair loss, there is no cure.

Dr Tan said: 'Over half the people treated will experience improvements after several months of treatment.

'However, treatment will need to be continued indefinitely. Hair loss will usually resume within a few months when treatment is stopped.'

Source: http://health.asiaone.com/Health/Men...29-176673.html

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