Attitudes, behaviors, and expectations of men seeking medical treatment for male pattern hair loss: results of a multinational survey

Curr Med Res Opin. 2009 Jul;25(7):1811-20. doi: 10.1185/03007990903005201.


Objectives: The study's objectives were to characterize the concerns and self-treating efforts of men seeking medical treatment for male pattern hair loss (MPHL) and to describe their expectations and actual experiences of a physician consultation.

Methods: The online survey in six countries (United States, France, Germany, Spain, Japan, and Korea) involved 604 men (25-49 years old) self-identifying with MPHL.

Results: Approximately 75% of the study's treatment-seeking men were concerned, very concerned, or extremely concerned about their hair loss; 96% were at least somewhat concerned. This high level of concern translated into multiple information-seeking actions (53.9% reported two or three actions; 24.6% reported four or five actions) and multiple self-treatments prior to physician consultation. Only 16% of the sample had not tried any treatment. Many treatment-motivated men with MPHL were uncomfortable (21%) or only moderately comfortable (37%) consulting with a physician and delayed this consultation. Factors motivating men with MPHL to consult a physician included a concern about worsening hair loss (82%), a desire to benefit from physicians' treatment expertise (85%) or physician-prescribed products (75%), and dissatisfaction with non-prescription products (73%). Expectations for the physician's treatment actions were met less often than was desired, resulting in dissatisfaction among one-fourth of the men. Dissatisfaction stemmed from lack of specific treatment recommendations (66%), unanswered questions (54%), and a perception that the doctor was uncomfortable or uninterested in discussing their hair loss (52%). Potential study limitations included self-identification of MPHL, reliance on respondents' recall, and a lack of verification of professed future physician consultations.

Conclusions: The typical man seeking MPHL treatment has significant concerns about the condition and has already engaged in considerable efforts to obtain information and to self-treat. Individualized consideration of attitudes, concerns, self-treating efforts, and expectations is crucial for effective management of men seeking medical treatment for MPHL.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Alopecia / epidemiology
  • Alopecia / psychology*
  • Alopecia / therapy*
  • Attitude to Health*
  • Behavior / physiology*
  • Data Collection
  • France / epidemiology
  • Germany / epidemiology
  • Humans
  • Japan / epidemiology
  • Korea / epidemiology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Patient Satisfaction
  • Perception / physiology
  • Physician-Patient Relations
  • Social Class
  • Spain / epidemiology
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • United States / epidemiology