I am bald at 25 years

By Dr Vincent Karuhanga

I am only 25 years old but I am going bald. Recently I went for an introduction ceremony and many people thought I was a muzeei (old man). What can I do?

Dear James,
Though hair protects us from the sun’s dangerous ultra violet rays, it is largely of cosmetic value the reason balding, especially coming early like in your case can lead to lots of stress.
Balding, which is mostly genetic, happens when instead of manufacturing thick hair, we start making small hairs which are too tiny to see with the naked eye. A male hormone (Dihydro-Testesterone), and a substance Prostaglandin D2 have been said to be associated with balding.

It is true balding is more common in older people, the reason people thought you were a Muzeei. This so called involutional alopecia is a natural condition in which the hair gradually thins with age. It is, however, likely that you have male-pattern baldness, which in some men can begin as early as puberty or in their 20s. Women with the same condition, called female pattern baldness, may get hair thinning in their 40s or later.

That said, there are other causes of balding, some of which may be temporary provided the cause is identified and rectified, the reason one may require visiting a doctor to rule out these conditions. These include a low-protein diet, thyroid problems, alopecia areata (where the body’s immune system attacks hair), scalp infections such as ringworm, drugs for cancer, and stress.

Depending on the cause, sometimes balding may correct itself spontaneously, or after addressing the cause. There are medicines which may help slow or prevent the development of common baldness but are only prescribed by a doctor after diagnosis. It may take up to six months before you can tell if the medicines are working, which may create more stress requiring that apart from drugs you get counselling. Laser treatment or hair transplants may be contemplated in case the usual treatments fail.

Premature balding has been associated with an increased risk for heart disease and aggressive cancer of the prostate, which may require checking out as advised by the doctor. You meanwhile have to avoid hair styles such as dreadlocks that tug on the hair, causing more hair loss.


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