Margit Kohler

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Hormones as the cause

Androgenetic alopecia

Hormones are biochemical substances which serve the body as messengers. They are formed in the glands and in certain body cells. They reach their respective target organs, where they are received via hormone receptors, by means of the bloodstream or the lymphatic system. Their signals influence the metabolism of organs and trigger certain reactions. Even slight quantities of hormones can have a strong effect on the body.

Testosterone is an important sex hormone that is produced among men in the testicles and among women in lesser quantities in the ovaries and adrenal cortices. Testosterone and other male hormones forming sexual characteristics are mainly developed in the testicles. Considerable changes occur when they enlarge in puberty and produce more hormones: altered voice, beard growth, altered sweat aroma, change of muscular development and body shape, development of sexual characteristics and sperm production.  Hormones also have an anabolic effect on muscles and stimulates fat excretion.

The same hormones which induce acne and beard growth can also signalise the beginning of hair loss and baldness. The presence of androgens (testosterone and the hormone DHT) ensures that susceptible hair roots become thinner and fall out. In addition to the testicles, the adrenal cortices produce androgenic hormones and this is similar in both sexes. Among women, the ovaries can produce additional hormones which affect the hair.

Dihydrotestosterone (DHT) is the hormone that is directly involved in androgenetic alopecia. It is formed from testosterone through the effect of the enzyme 5-alpha-reductase. 

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