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Category: Hair Loss

Hair Loss and Genetics: What’s the Connection?

Of all the things that can break your heart, hair loss can be the most tragic. It is painful to see your hair on the pillow, in the bathtub, and in the comb. Hair may start to fall out due to many reasons, including medications, hormones, medical conditions, stress, and genetics.

Androgenetic Alopecia (AGA) or pattern baldness is the most common type of hair loss that affects both men and women. More than 21 million women and 35 million men in the US experience pattern baldness. According to the American Hair Loss Association, adults will notice hair loss as they age. Two-thirds of men tend to lose their hair by the age of 35. 

As soon as men hit the 50 mark, the number escalates to a whopping 85%. Hereditary-pattern baldness accounts to 95% of hair thinning or hair loss in men. Some may even begin to experience the effects in the 20s only; women usually notice hair fall after menopause.

With this background information, lets now dive in to the connection between hair loss and genetics.

What Is Androgenetic Alopecia?

Androgenetic alopecia is not a skin disease; it is a natural condition that occurs due to the combination of genes, hormones, and sometimes aging. You begin to lose hair when androgens, particularly dihydrotestosterone (DHT), come into action. 

In case you don’t know, androgens are male hormones that are essential for the sexual development in men before birth and during puberty. They play a key role in certain bodily functions in both men and women, including regulation of hair growth. 

When DHT combines with genes, it kills the hair follicles –the tiny spores on the scalp from where a new hair grows. The change in the hair growth cycle results in thinner, shorter, or miniaturized hair. Over time, hair growth completely stops in certain areas of the scalp, leading to pattern hair loss. 

The connection of hair loss and genetics is interesting. Some experts say that people inherit pattern baldness from their mother’s family. However, recent studies show that androgenetic alopecia depends on complex genes of both parents. In addition, some environmental factors also contribute to the condition. 

Signs of Genetic Hair Loss

genetics of hair loss

Pattern baldness in males and females begins with hair thinning and often leads to complete hair loss in certain parts of the scalp. Hair fall is one of the common symptoms of potential hair loss. If you see hair in the tub, on the pillow, or on the comb, take notice. 

On average, a person loses 50 to 100 strands of hair every day; it is a natural process. However, if your strands fall out more often, consider it as an early warning. People with some serious illness are more likely to experience excessive hair fall. 

Male Pattern Baldness

Male pattern baldness begins at the crown and temples. It proceeds on the scalp in an M-shaped pattern. Some men may lose hair in patches; however, advanced pattern baldness leaves only a rim of hair along the backside of the scalp.

Female Pattern Baldness

Unlike their male counterparts, women don’t experience hair recession along temples and the forehead. Female pattern baldness tends to have more coverage but it is not as visible as men. The most affected areas include the top of the head down the middle. It often proceeds in a Christmas tree pattern. 

Complete hair loss in specific parts on the scalp is not common in women. However, if that happens, it may indicate a different problem, such as a skin condition, a fungus infection, or alopecia areata. Alopecia areata is an autoimmune condition that causes baldness in patches. 

Causes of Hereditary-Pattern Hair Loss

causes of hereditary pattern hair loss

As mentioned above, a combination of DHT and genes cause you to lose hair. While many blame a single gene for this condition, that is not the actual case. Your mother’s X-chromosome may carry some genes that result in pattern baldness at an early age. 

However, recent studies show that your susceptibility to pattern baldness depends on the genes of both parents. In addition, several medical conditions, such as prostate cancer and coronary heart disease, make men prone to pattern baldness. Diabetes, obesity, and hypertension also contribute to androgenetic alopecia in men. 

Women, on the other hand, are more likely to experience pattern baldness if they have polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). This hormonal imbalance can affect the menstruation cycle in women. In addition, PCOS can cause acne, weight gain, and excess hair growth on different parts of the body except for scalp.  

Experts believe that some of these conditions may link with increased levels of androgen. The diagnosis process for androgenetic hair loss is not complex. Your dermatologist will take details of your family history of hair loss. In addition, she will look at the hair loss pattern using magnifiers. 

Is There A Cure For Genetic Hair Loss?

Well, there is no straightforward answer to this as many studies are underway. While you may not be able to stop the process completely, you can slow it down with certain medications, treatments, and devices.

First, make sure to take a balanced diet that contains all nutrients, vitamins, and minerals required for hair growth. Include fruits, vegetables, dairy products, and leafy greens in your diet. You would be surprised at how much of a difference this will make for the health of your hair.

Try looking in to a laser cap for your hair. These devices are FDA-cleared to help the growth of hair follicles on the scalps of men and women. They are the most popular hair growth treatment on the market today and backed by experts in the hair growth and medical industry.

Final Word

hair loss and genetics

You should now be more familiar with the connection between hair loss and genetics. Hair loss is scary. If you can catch the beginning stages, you can prepare accordingly. Make sure you see your primary dermatologist to try and figure out the underlying cause. From there, you should be able to take the next steps towards slowing down or reversing your thinning hair.

Hair Loss Among Bodybuilders: Causes and Treatment

Bodybuilding is not an everyday sport or activity that anyone can pull off. Rather, it is a passion that demands discipline, dedication, and high-intensity strength training. Bodybuilders use progressive resistance exercises to develop musculature. 

Lifting heavy weights causes an increase in testosterone levels. Elevation in testosterone levels helps weight lifters in improving strength, power, and endurance. While increased testosterone levels have a positive impact on the fitness of bodybuilders, they can have adverse effects on hair growth.  

So, does that mean weight lifters should stop training? Well, not really. In this post, we will discuss the causes of hair loss among bodybuilders and treatments to prevent the damage. 

Statistics About Hair Loss

statistics about hair loss

Hair loss is a universal problem. In the US alone, 50 million men and 30 million women suffer from hair loss. 1 in 3 women and 1 in 2 men battle with some degree of hair thinning or hair loss in their lifetime. 

Before we delve into the details of hair loss among bodybuilders, let’s look at some statistics about hair loss in men. 

  • According to the American Hair Loss Association, men comprise 95% of total hair loss victims in the US.
  • Two-thirds of Americans experience appreciable hair loss to some degree by the age of thirty-five.
  • Upon hitting the 50-year mark, approximately 85% of men show visible signs of hair thinning. 
  • Some men may start losing hair in their early 20s. 

The data shows that men are more likely to encounter hair loss challenges than women. While many factors contribute to hair loss, androgenic alopecia or male pattern baldness (MPB) is the leading cause. 

The primary culprit behind genetic hair loss is DHT buildup in the hair follicles and their sensitivity to DHT. Both conditions lead to thinning, shrinkage, and hair loss, which can eventually result in baldness. 

Reasons Behind Hair Loss in Bodybuilders

reasons behind hair loss in bodybuilders

As mentioned above, bodybuilding requires strength training and extensive exercise. Activities like bodybuilding and weight lifting increase the levels of testosterone in the body. In case you don’t know, testosterone is a male hormone that is also present in women, but in a lesser amount. Men with high testosterone levels develop extreme male characteristics.

The increased levels of the male hormone help bodybuilders in improving power, strength, and endurance. However, it is not the testosterone that causes hair loss in bodybuilders. Rather, bodybuilders and weight lifters experience hair loss due to a combination of factors, including an increase in cortisol and scalp sensitivity to DHT. 

Dihydrotestosterone (DHT) Buildup

Strength training increases the production of HGH, i.e., human growth hormone in the body. Some people believe that HGH helps in stopping or reversing hair loss. Interestingly, exercise helps in reducing the levels of cortisol, the stress hormone in the body. Cardio exercises also help in decreasing DHT levels in the body.

However, overtraining causes detrimental effects on the health and hair growth of bodybuilders. It stimulates the levels of cortisol in the body. The combination of DHT and cortisol results in the production of DHT –the main culprit behind hair loss. 

Increased cortisol levels encourage DHT production. The higher the level of cortisol, the more DHT in the body. 5-alpha reductase (5 AR) is an enzyme directly involved in the production of DHT. 5 AR 1, a subtype of 5AR, affects the scalp. Those with a genetic disposition to hair loss, are more likely to experience the effect. 

Role of Testosterone Supplements in Hair Loss

It is important to know that some bodybuilders produce more testosterone than others; similarly, some are more affected by DHT than others. It is the combination of testosterone and cortisol that produces the hair loss hormone in the body. 

Training itself is not harmful to bodybuilders, overtraining is. In addition, many bodybuilders take steroids, testosterone supplements, and injections to develop musculature in a short time. High consumption of supplements, like anabolic steroids, increases testosterone levels, thereby increasing DHT production.

Treatment for Hair Loss Among Bodybuilders

treatment for hair loss among bodybuilders

There are many ways to slow, reverse, and stop hair loss. You will find hair loss treatments and solutions for hair thinning. Nonetheless, it is better to consult a certified dermatologist who can guide you in resolving hair loss. Also, consult a fitness trainer to help you with the right workout regime.  Here are some ways that can help you control hair loss. 

Healthy Diet

Bodybuilders who want to maintain their fitness and healthy head of hair must maintain a nutritious diet. All nutrients, especially proteins in the right amount, help develop muscles. However, excess consumption of proteins can also deter hair growth. Rather than consuming shakes, switch to natural sources, like chicken, eggs, and fish.

Medications

Many medications available in the market can help in combating hair loss. Finasteride and minoxidil are two of the most popular medicines for hair thinning and hair loss. Finasteride does not affect the other tissues in the body and only blocks the 5 AR 1 enzymes. It is an FDA-approved drug that may also help in hair growth. 

Minoxidil, on the other hand, is an OTC medicine. You can find minoxidil as a gel for topical application, as foam, and in liquid form. The medicine is available in 2%, 5%, and 15% concentration.  A high dose of minoxidil can cause an erratic heartbeat. Make sure to use any medicine only after consulting your doctor. 

There are also DHT blocking vitamins that can be ingested orally to help combat hair loss. These vitamins are to be consumed daily and will help destruct the overproduction of DHT on the scalp. This should slow down hair loss and result in thicker/healthier hair.

Self-Care

  • Use natural hair products
  • Don’t use shampoos containing chemicals
  • Avoid brushing your hair vigorously
  • Stay happy and reduce everyday stress; it leads to hair fall
  • Don’t use steroids without consulting a medical practitioner

Final Word

Bodybuilding in general does not affect the hair growth unless the bodybuilder is taking steroids, supplements, or other medicines for increasing testosterone levels. In addition, bodybuilders with sensitive scalps are more likely to witness hair fall. While discontinuing the supplements may not contribute to hair growth, it could help in slowing down the process of hair loss.

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