Some men consider their hair as their source of pride. For them, it is what makes a man. It can be disconcerting, then, when you find yourself slowly losing that which you considered as making up mostly of what you are. So, what is one to do?
Some doctors point to low testosterone levels as the physiological culprit of hair loss. Low testosterone levels not only affect hair growth, they affect energy levels, and mood too. So, can one improve one’s testosterone levels?
The general answer is yes.
But, getting a testosterone replacement therapy is not like getting an over-the-counter drug. Most doctors would only prescribe it if you have persistent symptoms of low testosterone and if your blood levels confirm that indeed your testosterone is low. Before, thinking of getting one for yourself, talk to your doctor first. He may or may not recommend you to a men’s t clinic where you can get your therapy.
So, what are the symptoms of low testosterone?
Some men do not have obvious symptoms of low testosterone. Their symptoms can be subtle.
But, first and foremost, let me point out that testosterone levels, indeed, do naturally decline over the years as men age. For some, though, the decline can be very steep, and for some, it’s an abrupt drop.
How would you know if you have low testosterone levels?
Check if you have any of these symptoms: (1) body and facial hair loss; (2) decreased muscle mass; (3) depression; (4) difficulty concentrating; (5) erectile dysfunction; (6) fatigue and poor energy level; (7) irritability; (8) low sense of well-being; or (9) low sex drive (libido).
Body and facial hair loss alone may not mean having low testosterone. Hair loss can be gene dependent. It means that some mean are pre-disposed to get bald or lose hair. Some men, in fact, do not even have body hair to begin with.
Let us first understand why testosterone affects hair growth.
Testosterone is a steroid that belongs to a group of hormones called androgen. Androgens are responsible for all the physiological changes that a boy goes through during puberty.
Once testosterone is produced, it begins its journey around the body. It will look for receptor sites where it can attach itself to. Those receptors are called androgen receptors. One of those androgen receptors is the part of the hair follicle that’s called the dermal papilla. Testosterone can inhibit or facilitate the growth of the hair. It all depends on, as I said, the gene expression.
Geneticists and researchers cannot fully explain yet how the same hormone can do two polar opposite things.
Testosterone helps hair go through its growth cycle, which comes in three phases: (1) Anagen, the active growth phase; (2) Catagen, when hair stops growing; (3) Telogen, when hair completely stops and even falls out.
Hair follicles come in two types: Vellus and Terminal. The fine hair you see mostly on infants are the Vellus hair follicles. The longer, deeper, thicker, and more pigmented hair are the Terminal hair follicles. Androgen helps Vellus hair follicles mature into Terminal hair follicles.
Now, before you go running out to a low testosterone clinic, talk to your doctor first.