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My approach to male/female pattern hair loss

Hair loss is a common condition that I see in my practice. I commonly see patients in their 20s-50s presenting with hair loss. It is a complicated condition and is very important to first find the correct diagnosis through a thorough history and examination. Sometimes a scalp biopsy may also be required.

There are many mechanisms at play in male/female pattern hair loss and the most important message is that there is no definitive cure for this condition.

We are fighting against genetics, hormone receptors or enzymes that are misbehaving. The patient may also have an underlying chronic disease.

For management of this condition, patient selection is especially important for matching with an appropriate treatment. The focus is on reducing further hair loss, and any improvement in gaining new healthy hair is a bonus. Management is multimodal using combination of different medications, hair thickening/stimulating shampoos and sometimes platelet rich plasma.

Norwood scale

Side effects also need to be considered and discussed with the patient. Hair transplant may also be considered if appropriate. It’s important to emphasize that management plans are long term, some even for life.