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Androgenetic Alopecia and Hair Loss

The most common cause of hair loss is a medical condition known as androgenetic alopecia, more commonly known as male pattern baldness or female pattern hair loss. Other possible causes of hair loss include but are not limited to:
  • Certain medications
  • Cancer treatment
  • Infections
  • Pregnancy.
Androgenetic alopecia is a genetic condition with a distinct hair-loss pattern. The exact role of genes and family history in developing this type of hair loss is unknown. It is likely that a combination of genetics, environmental influences, and other factors are involved. What is known is that hormones called androgens play a role in androgenetic alopecia, especially in men. Also, having a close relative with male or female pattern hair loss increases the risk for having this condition.
Androgens are hormones related to testosterone. When there is an increased level of androgens in the hair follicles, the follicles spend less time in the growth phase, and more time in the resting phase. As a result, hair strands are shorter and thinner. Over time, some hair follicles may even be destroyed and, therefore, incapable of producing hair.
In men with androgenetic alopecia, hair gradually thins, and hair is lost from the front and the top of the head. Any hair that remains may be uneven in length and of varying texture and thickness.
Women with the condition usually have the same hair-loss pattern as men, but have less severe hair loss. In women, hair loss is normally more scattered and, therefore, often more concealed. Women will rarely lose all of their hair.

Minoxidil Use for Hair Loss

Minoxidil is only approved to treat hair loss on the top of the scalp, associated with androgenetic alopecia. It is not intended for other types of hair loss, including baldness in the front of the head or a receding hairline. It will not treat hair loss that occurs from the use of certain medications, chemotherapy, or medical conditions such as thyroid disease or severe nutritional problems.
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Minoxidil Drug Information

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