Hair loss can affect up to 50% of men over the course of their lifetime. It may appear as recession of the central hairline, recession along the temples, thinning in the vertex (crown), or a combination of all of these. As with women, there is frequently a family history of hair loss, and the process usually appears gradually over a number of years. Some men may notice more hairs on their pillow, or see more hairs in the shower drain.
If the hair loss presents as significant general shedding for a period of less than 6 months, men may require the same general workup as women.
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The incidence of hair loss due to thyroid or autoimmune disorders is much lower in men. Men also do not have the same fluctuation in hormones that women can. However they may undergo the same crash diets as women, or have low iron stores (ferritin), which could compromise hair growth. Men may also experience the same major physiologic stressors due to general anesthesia, high fever, or a significant life event such as death, divorce, or abuse. Certain medications may also result in hair loss. Men who notice a great deal of hair shedding over a period of less than 6 months should consider checking with their doctor before starting themselves on this or any hair loss treatment.
Male pattern hair thinning is graded according to the Norwood Classification.
The hair loss may develop at any age, and even teenagers can develop hair loss if there is sufficient genetic influence. By starting treatment early, men can often slow down the thinning process and even regrow a significant amount of hair.