Hair loss. What causes it and what can be done about it

Postgrad Med. 1989 May 1;85(6):52-8, 67-73, 77. doi: 10.1080/00325481.1989.11700688.


Although both men and women throughout history have seen hair as an important aspect of appearance, it is especially important today, in light of the great emphasis on youthfulness. A new interest in preventing baldness has been stimulated recently by the publicity given to certain products now under investigation that have shown an ability to retard or reverse male pattern baldness in certain individuals. Hair loss has many possible causes, such as systemic diseases, infections, toxic agents, and hormone imbalances. Treatment of the underlying disorder alleviates the shedding of hair. Balding may also be a normal physiologic occurrence in women taking oral contraceptives or after parturition and in men with male pattern baldness. The latter can be treated topically with progesterone or minoxidil. Minoxidil has been studied extensively and has been shown to improve balding at the vertex of the scalp, particularly in young men who have only begun to lose hair. Cases of more extensive male pattern baldness and baldness secondary to scarring can be treated effectively with surgical procedures.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Alopecia* / drug therapy
  • Alopecia* / etiology
  • Alopecia* / surgery
  • Contraceptives, Oral / adverse effects
  • Dihydrotestosterone / physiology
  • Female
  • Hair / growth & development
  • Hair / transplantation
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Minoxidil / therapeutic use
  • Pregnancy
  • Sex Factors


  • Contraceptives, Oral
  • Dihydrotestosterone
  • Minoxidil