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Thread: Male pattern baldness and stress.

  1. #1 Male pattern baldness and stress. 
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    Hey all. I'm balding at the young age of 20, and have read in a few places that stress can "accelerate male pattern baldness in those who are genetically susceptible." I've always known that I was genetically susceptible, but didn't think I would have to worry about it until around 30.<br>Here's the thing though: I have suffered from chronic generalized anxiety disorder, as well as OCD, for nearly ten years. I am wondering if the chronic stress produced could have somehow caused my hairline to start receding earlier than it otherwise would have. I am not exaggerating when I say that I have been anxious basically every waking moment since I was at least 12, a sort of persistent free-floating anxiety that I have honestly never been able to pinpoint the cognitive cause of (meaning, I don't know what is it that is making me anxious on a psychological level...I imagine there is some biological cause).<br>On most sites that say stress can accelerate MPB, no explanation is given. It seems sort of like a common sense explanation.<br>Now I'm sure many of you know MPB is caused by an inherited weakness of hair follicles (or androgen receptors specifically, I guess?) to DHT, which is converted from testosterone by the enzyme 5-alpha-reductase. So I'm not sure how stress would be involved here. I know that the adrenal glands produce some testosterone. Would the adrenal glands produce more or something if you have a lot of stress? Would cortisol somehow have an effect on the hair?<br><br>Thanks for your help guys. I can't seem to find straight answers for the question: "Can stress accelerate MPB, and if so, how?"
    I would just hate to find out that if I had treated my anxiety properly I would have gone bald at 22/23 instead of 17...


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  3. #2  
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    Anyone?


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  4. #3  
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    I am wondering if the chronic stress produced could have somehow caused my hairline to start receding earlier than it otherwise would have.
    Don't really know. I'm more familiar with a couple of blokes who lost all their hair, more or less overnight, after a traumatic event. (Unexpected death of a 21 year old son in one case. Not an accident, one of those dropped-dead-from-an-aneurysm events.)

    Though looking at a few football players, starting to show visible signs of balding at 20 or not much more, it's not as uncommon as you seem to think. You'd need to know them personally to have detected initial thinning or receding before the balding is obvious to a casual observer.

    I do remember being amazed at a cousin of mine. We come from a family with a strong tendency to go completely white before fifty - and I was pretty peeved to have some grey hairs showing up before I left school - he was nearly white by the time he was 25, poor thing.
    "Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak; courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen." Winston Churchill
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  5. #4  
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    Yeah, people can lose hair due to stress due to telogen effluvium (where as much as 70% of hair can enter the telogen, or resting, phase in the growth of hair and then fall out after three months) or alopecia areata (where the immune system attacks hair follicles).
    I'm just wondering if stress could accelerate the progression of MPB, or make it take hold earlier than it otherwise would.
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  6. #5  
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    It sounds as though it might have an effect, given that stress can mess around with all kinds of endocrine processes and general metabolic functions. But what the process is, and the individual steps within any such process, I don't know.

    Given that there are medications that can deal with either the stress or with particular endocrine disruptions there's also the issue of at what point a medical intervention could deal with either stress as a cause or other metabolic processes affected by stress.

    I should point out that thyroid deficiency often shows up as thinning hair. That might be a good avenue to check out - it's just a simple blood test. If you're worried about thinning hair and also about low testosterone, increasing testosterone levels is no way to reduce hair loss. Correcting any thyroid deficiency could slow down hair loss (but only if that's the cause of the problem).
    "Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak; courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen." Winston Churchill
    "nature is like a game of Jenga; you never know which brick you pull out will cause the whole stack to collapse" Lucy Cooke
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  7. #6  
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    If I had some kind of thyroid deficiency, wouldn't my hair have thinned when I was a lot younger?
    I have generalized anxiety disorder, like I said, and have wondered if I could perhaps have hyperthyroidism instead.
    But I doubt hair loss due to thyroid issues would manifest in a typical male pattern baldness pattern, right? I have thinning on the vertex as well as a receding hairline.
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    Gawd. I have no idea - especially for someone young.

    In your position, I'd ask for the blood test and go from there. If nothing shows up on a TSH test, you'll have to look at something else. Anxiety meds are front-runners I'd have thought.

    (Though if you do have the test, ask for the number. A lot of general practitioners follow the endocrinologist "guidelines" far too closely. There's a whole other story about those guidelines, so if you're "marginal" or "sub-clinical" you need to know something other than yes or no.)
    "Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak; courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen." Winston Churchill
    "nature is like a game of Jenga; you never know which brick you pull out will cause the whole stack to collapse" Lucy Cooke
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  9. #8  
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    Stress can cause many health problems, but you don't know who will have to face them.
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  10. #9  
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    Here's a possibility: cortisol seems to have some kind of inhibitory effect on testosterone. I have read that low testosterone can cause DHT levels to elevate...it's the body's way of "compensating." Actually I have just read that in anecdotes. What I mean is I haven't seen any scientists or researchers say that high cortisol = high DHT. DHT is of course what causes hair loss in men, for those of you who don't know. I have seen researcher say that stress can accelerate the balding process, but I never can seem to find any mechanical explanation.
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