Name: bob fass
Date: Around 1993
Why are there bald men and not bald women?
"Alopecia" is the medical term for loss of hair. Factors
involved are heredity, hormones, and aging. Women sometimes have the same
type of hair loss in men, but not as severe, and usually occurs after
menopause. Also, most women lose some hair 2 to 3 months after giving birth,
because hormonal changes during pregnancy prevent normal hair loss. Some
factors that promote hair loss are poor circulation, acute illness surgery,
radiation, skin disease, sudden weight loss, iron deficiency, diabetes,
thyroid disease, chemotherapy drugs, stress, poor diet, vitamin deficiency.
Interestingly, a recent study published in the New England Journal of Medicine
reported that men who are bald have three times greater risk of heart disease
than men who do not go bald! Apparently, the underlying biochemical imbalance
which causes alopecia is also increasing the risk for heart disease.
One of the reasons men are supposed to have more significant
alopecia than women is thought to be hormonal. Men have higher levels of
various male hormone like testosterone and that is thought to increase
alopecia in those who are susceptible.
I heard the following statistic given on 20/20 Friday, 2/26/93,
CBS in Chicago . . . 1 out of 7 women suffer from loss of hair. That is quite
a lot when you think about it. In fact, hair loss in women is quite common.
It affects the self esteem and image of both men and women. Also, so far,
only one medically proven drug exists which has actually been shown to be
effective in restoring hair: Minoxadil. And it is not effective in everyone
- the success rate is only around 50%.
Minoxidil is the only thing that has been shown in a formal study
to reduce or reverse any type of baldness (the only medicine/cream). It is
not completely effective and it works best in "male pattern baldness." That
is the pattern where the hair loss is worst in the back/on top of the head.
Right now you need to see a doctor to get it.
Click here to return to the Biology Archives
Update: June 2012