What is the connection between testosterone and hair loss?
Male Pattern Hair Loss affects about 60% of the adult male population of India. The onset period in the last decade has changed to the 20s and 30s instead of the 40s and 50s in the previous generation. It presents as a receding hairline and hair thinning in the crown area.
So, let us dig a little deep
What is Male Pattern Hairloss?
Also, known as Androgenic Alopecia, it has 7 stages. This hair loss condition progresses gradually and is linked to dihydrotestosterone (DHT). Dihydrotestosterone is a naturally occurring androgen in your body and is a byproduct of testosterone. DHT by itself is not harmful but in people who have a genetic susceptibility to hair loss on account of family, history DHT is linked to hair loss. DHT binds to your hair follicles and starts shrinking them (known as miniaturisation) which results in reduced blood flow to them. Reduced blood flow means a reduced supply of oxygen-rich blood and nutrition. The shrinking follicles can no longer produce thick, healthy and pigmented hair and thus your hair starts thinning, your growth rate reduces and eventually starts falling.
So does that mean testosterone cause pattern hair loss?
No. It is one of the most common hair loss myths that testosterone causes hair loss. But the thing is testosterone levels are irrelevant to pattern hairloss. Because hair loss is caused by dihydrotestosterone. And DHT is formed from testosterone by an enzyme called 5α-reductase. So if your 5α-reductase is high then and only then will high levels of testosterone increase your chances of experiencing pattern hair loss. High levels of 5α-reductase can be caused if you have a family history of pattern hair loss or AR gene which is studies have shown makes people susceptible to pattern hair loss.
So why do bodybuilders and weight trainers have higher DHT?
It is not because they take testosterone supplements but rather due to the use of anabolic steroids which causes an increase in DHT levels.
This is what the progression looks like:
Is Male Pattern Hair loss treatable?
Absolutely! Between stages 1-4 male pattern hair loss is manageable. There are two FDA approved prescription medications - Minoxidil and Finasteride (Oral or Topical) that can be used to manage this. In the later stages, the best option is Hair Transplant. That is why it is so important to treat Male Pattern Hairloss as soon as you start seeing the symptoms. But only prescription medication is not enough for treating hair loss. Because pattern Hair Loss gets triggered by stress, diet, nutrition, lifestyle, weight loss and health issues. Therefore you need to work on these internal triggers while using the allopathy treatment. This is possible by improving your internal health.
Ayurvedic medicines help boost your internal health with their preventive approach that fixes your gut, digestion, metabolism and nourishes your follicles. And finally, nutrition, while you might be eating healthy in general it might not be food that is healthy for your hair. According to Ayurveda, pitta dosha increase can increase your hair loss and therefore your diet should be free of foods that increase the acidic pH of your body and aggravate your hair loss. Therefore, we provide a personalised diet plan to everyone who gets on the Traya Hair Loss treatment. Find out more about your hair loss by taking the free hair diagnosis test
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Heena is our Hair Expert on board. She has a Masters in English Literature and is total nerd about medical journals and research.