Baldness or Hair Loss

Head | Dermatology | Baldness or Hair Loss (Symptom)


Baldness is a disorder that involves complete or partial loss of hair. The medical term for baldness is alopecia.


Frequently, hair may get thinner due to predetermined genetic factors, family history, and the overall aging process. Many men and women may notice a mild and often normal physiologic thinning of hair starting in their thirties and forties. Other times, normal life variations including temporary severe stress, nutritional changes, and hormonal changes like those in pregnancy, puberty, and menopause may cause a reversible hair loss.

Male pattern baldness is associated with genetics or hereditary and male sex hormones. It usually follows a pattern line receding hairline and hair thinning on the crown, and it is caused by hormones and genetic predisposition. Each strand of hair that a person has lying in a hole in tiny skin is called a follicle. Baldness typically occurs when the follicle shrinks over time, resulting in shorter and slimmer hair. Finally, the follicle forms a new hair. However, follicles remain alive, suggesting that it is possible to grow new hair.

Female pattern baldness involves a typical pattern of hair loss in women due to hormones, aging and genes. Baldness occurs when hair falls out but new hair does not grow normally in place. The reason for female pattern baldness is not well understood, but may be related to aging and changes in levels of androgens, the male hormones. For example, after reaching menopause, many women find that hair on the head is thinner, while facial hair is thicker.

Diagnosis and Treatment

In general, treatments for hair loss or baldness are driven by the underlying causes for the condition. For instance, if the cause is genetic, then patients can opt for medication or surgery. But, if hair loss is caused due to the use of certain medication or stress, then getting rid of the cause could help improve the symptoms.