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Male Pattern Baldness: Stages, Symptoms, and What You Can Do

By WebMD Connect to Care Staff
Medically Reviewed by Stephanie S. Gardner, MD on July 12, 2022
Early recognition of the signs of male pattern baldness can help you get the treatment you need to slow hair loss.

Male pattern baldness is the most common form of hair loss for both sexes, according to a 2017 article published in American Family Physician. Yet Robert Leonard, DO, a doctor who treats hair loss, tells WebMD Connect to Care that many people do not recognize the early male pattern baldness stages until they have lost half or more of their hair. Early recognition of the signs of male pattern baldness can help you identify the type of baldness and seek treatment for hair loss. 

What Are the Stages of Male Pattern Baldness?

Androgenic alopecia triggers a specific pattern of hair loss, according to Ricardo Castrellón, MD, a plastic surgeon at Castrellón Aesthetic Surgery, Florida. It happens when the hormone dihydrotestosterone (DHT) attacks the hair follicles. The hair usually sheds gradually, and balding often begins in your twenties. By midlife, you may have visible bald spots. 

In men, Castrellón recommends looking for these early hair loss signs: 

  • A receding hairline in the early stages.
  • Bald spots on the crown of the head as hair loss progresses.
  • Hair loss all over the head as the hair shedding continues.

Male pattern baldness is a type of genetic hair loss, Castrellón says. But, it is possible to inherit male pattern baldness from either side of the family, so there is no way to predict who will develop symptoms. Some symptoms you might notice if your hair is thinning include: 

  • A thinning ponytail or expanding part. 
  • Shedding more than 100 hairs per day.
  • Hair that looks thinner or more brittle. 

Can You Reverse Male Pattern Baldness? 

While there's no cure for male-pattern baldness, some medications can help slow hair loss down. Minoxidil is an FDA-approved, over-the-counter medication that you can either take orally or apply to your scalp that helps some men grow new hair. the FD has also approved finasteride (Propecia) for oral treatment for hair-loss. Dutasteride (Avodart), while not FDA approved works much like dinasteride, but is used off-label. Continued use is important for these treatments as once you stop using it, your hair loss can return. According to American Family Physician, the recommended treatment for male pattern baldness is topical minoxidil (2% or 5% solution). 

Don’t Wait. Get Help Today.

The sooner you address the symptoms of hair loss, the more likely you are to prevent irreversible damage. Speak to a medical professional today to begin your journey to a fuller head of hair.