Why Treating Premature Balding May Become Preventive Medicine Must for Men
In an article published in The Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, researchers have found strong evidence that men who experience premature balding (androgenic alopecia) are very likely to eventually develop benign prostatic hyperplasia compared to men who have a full head of hair and that early treatment of premature balding may become a preventive medicine must for men.
Androgenetic alopecia is known more commonly as “male pattern baldness” because it follows a distinctive characteristic M-shaped pattern of a receding hairline with additional hair thinning on the crown. Male pattern baldness typically begins as premature balding early in adult male life and is caused by a combination of hormones and genetic predisposition.
Another common health condition, but one that occurs later in life in men is benign prostatic hyperplasia—or in other words, an enlarged prostate gland. The prostate is the male reproductive gland that produces the seminal fluid that carries sperm during ejaculation. Prostate enlargement happens to the majority of men as they get older and because the prostate surrounds the urethra, as the gland grows, it can press on the urethra and cause urination and bladder problems such as:
• Dribbling at the end of urinating
• Inability to urinate (urinary retention)
• Incomplete emptying of your bladder
• Weak urine stream
• Strong and sudden urges to urinate
• Delayed or slow start of urinary stream
• Waking up at night multiple times needing to urinate
• Pain with urination or blood in the urine
However, not all men with some enlargement of the prostate will experience these problems.
The cause of an enlarged prostate is associated with two factors: aging and androgenic function involving the enzyme 5-alphareductase, which transforms testosterone into dihydrotestosterone (DHT).
Previous research has shown that DHT is a shared link between premature balding and an enlarged prostate. Both premature hair loss via androgenetic alopecia and an enlarged prostate are androgen-dependent diseases in which the enzyme 5-alphareductase transforms testosterone into DHT. In the scalp, DHT is responsible for the shrinking of hair follicles. In the prostate gland DHT is implicated in the growth and development of the prostate gland.
Due to the DHT link between premature balding and an enlarged prostate, researchers from the University of Granada wanted to determine whether premature blading due to androgenetic alopecia can be used as a clinical predictor of benign prostatic hyperplasia.
In the study, 87 men—45 with early-onset androgenetic alopecia and 42 control subjects who were not diagnosed as having androgenetic alopecia—were evaluated and compared regarding the size of their prostate glands, the flow of their urine and the amount of their prostate specific antigens.
What the researchers found was that patients that were diagnosed with androgenetic alopecia-related premature balding had significantly larger prostate glands, had statistically significant less urine flow and higher prostate-specific antigen values. Their conclusion based on the study’s results was that androgenetic alopecia-related premature balding may be used as a predictive marker for the development of benign prostatic hyperplasia when a man is relatively young.
The significance of this is that if premature balding proves to be predictive in additional studies, then dermatologists and primary care physicians could monitor patients with early-onset androgenetic alopecia for the development of urinary symptoms to permit an earlier diagnosis. Furthermore, preventive medicine treatments for premature balding may prove beneficial toward preventing the potential subsequent development of benign prostatic hyperplasia.
For the latest information on treating urinary and bladder problems see this article on how Botox for the bladder takes a wrinkle out of taking a tinkle.
To learn how to tell if you are going bald take this 60-second baldness test.
Image source: Courtesy of Wikipedia
“Androgenetic alopecia as an early marker of benign prostatic hyperplasia” The Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology 2012 Mar;66(3):401-8; Salvador Arias-Santiago, MD, PhD et al.