Is There a Connection between Testosterone Deficiency and Baldness?
The connection between testosterone deficiency and baldness has been made by medical researchers studying why hair loss or thinning occurs when testosterone levels begin to decline in later years. We must first realize that the process of “thinning hair” needs to be viewed for what it really is – not what it seems to be. A person should never compare their adult hair to that of their childhood or youth. We start out with about 100,000 hair follicles on the scalp at birth – this number does not increase as we age, even though the scalp and head grow and expand. That explains the difference in denseness between the hair on the head in childhood and that of one’s twenties. The hair classification system considers Class I to be representative of the hairline during adolescence, with Class II being that of an adult before hair loss or thinning occurs.
Pregnancy, illness, medications, genetics, and hormonal changes can all affect hair growth as it occurs in many different stages.
When looking at the many effects of testosterone deficiency, baldness is just one part of the equation. At the same time that hair is departing from the head, it may start to increase on the chest or face. This is also why older men tend to have “ear hair” in later years. The testosterone derivative DHT, which will be discussed in further detail down this page, is often responsible for these changes, along with acne and oily skin.
Testosterone Deficiency and Male Hair Loss
Men dealing with testosterone deficiency and hair loss are often faced with one of four different levels of baldness. These are also indicators of other health-related conditions such as coronary artery disease and prostate cancer depending on the type and level of hair loss.
The remaining hair classifications that relate to baldness are:
- Class III – Frontal recession
This is the earliest stage associated with hair loss. Frontal baldness, as it is known, is not indicative of coronary artery disease or cancer, as the remaining classes may be, but it is characterized by a deepening of temporal hair recession.
- Class IV – Vertex baldness
This classification brings the early stages of hair loss in the crown area of the head (vertex).
- Class V – Front and crown
Although the hair bridge is still present, it is starting to shrink as front and crown bald patches are enlarged.
- Class VI – Near-total baldness
The hair bridge disconnects, in turn, causing a large bald area at the front and on the top of the scalp. The hair remaining on the sides of the head is still relatively high.
- Class VII – Baldness
All that is left is a slight ring of hair at the back and sides of the scalp.
While it may not be possible to recover fully from classes 6 and 7 of hair loss, many men will see an improvement in hair regrowth with the onset of testosterone treatment for Low T.
Testosterone Deficiency and Hair Loss in Women
While it is often viewed as acceptable for a man to go bald, it is an entirely different story for women. DHT (dihydrotestosterone) is a derivative of testosterone and is detrimental to hair follicles. The condition “androgenetic alopecia” is often caused by DHT.
How does testosterone deficiency cause hair loss in women?
Here is what you need to know about this process, which affects women and men:
- Why Hair Loss Occurs
Testosterone in the body is converted to DHT with the help of Type II 5-alpha reductase, an enzyme found in the oil glands of hair follicles. Once made, DHT actually shrinks the hair follicles so that healthy hair cannot survive.
Although women naturally have a much lower level of testosterone in their bodies, they tend to feel the effects of Low T on a greater scale. The increase in DHT can have a rapid effect on the hair, and even though a woman may still test in the “normal” range for testosterone levels, she may still be producing less (or more) testosterone than she did in the past, leading to an increased amount of DHT in the hair follicle.
For men, testosterone levels decline an average of 10 percent each decade, begin in one’s early thirties. Women see the biggest decrease as menopause approaches, and after that. Heredity can also play a role in female hormone stimulated hair loss.
- How to Reverse Hair Loss
The good news is that hair follicles do not die off or disappear. The properly prescribed form of testosterone replacement therapy can stimulate follicular performance and hair thickening and regrowth. Treatment is often prescribed as testosterone cream for women and testosterone cypionate injections for men.
The doctors at Kingsberg Medical have been treating men and women for testosterone deficiency and other hormonal imbalances for many years. We can offer testing and treatment no matter where in the US you reside. Please contact us for a complimentary consultation.Brian Leeber