Does Androgenetic Alopecia Increase Stress for Balding Men?

hair stressMale pattern balding, or androgenetic alopecia, is a type of hair loss caused by hormones and genetics. Male pattern baldness is not thought to be a disease, doctors are able to address the problem, especially when the hair loss is seen in younger men, or it is excessive, progressing rapidly and/or causing distress.

What affects men’s perception of their male pattern balding, and how do they decide whether or not to seek treatment?

A study compared the attitudes of 252 men with and without androgenetic alopecia, of all ages.

Approximately one-third (33%) of the study participants believed that male pattern balding is ignored by others, but the majority felt it was noticed (39%), makes people feel sorry for the balding person (17%) or is subject to teasing (12%).

Hair is intimately part of a person’s external looks. Hair gives social signals, including status and identity. Losing hair could be considered a stressful event. The study used a stress scale to determine how the study subjects perceived hair loss. Hair loss ranked between the 26th most stressful event (the spouse starting or stopping to work outside of home environment) and 27th (starting to attend school or leaving school) using the Stressful Life Events List.

In terms of how hair loss could affect a person’s life, the majority of the participants felt androgenetic alopecia would have a negative impact on psychological well being (56%). Significant proportions of the participants believed hair loss would negatively impact family relationships (37%), occupational or academic life (36%) and relations with the opposite sex (43%). Eight percent or less felt that hair loss would have any type of ositive impact.

Most of the participants (62%) believed that male pattern balding is a natural condition that needed treatment or a solution, such as changing grooming habits or covering the balding areas.

“When people feel they can do something effective and permanent about their hair loss, they get a feeling of control,” said Dr. Larry Shapiro, a hair transplant doctor in Boca Raton and Miami, Florida. “When someone feels in control of something, their stress levels go down, and they feel better about their problem. Hair transplants are an excellent way to permanently restore natural-looking hair.”

Source:Androgenetic alopecia: Does its presence change our perceptions?” by Göksun Can Karaman, MD, Çigdem Dereboy, PhD, Ferhan Dereboy, MD, and Esra Çarman,MD. 2006 report in International Journal of Dermatology