Generally, baldness starts in middle age and continues gradually until old age. But some men can start experiencing baldness earlier than they should because of hormonal factors influenced by heredity. Bald hair at a young age due to hereditary factors is called androgenetic alopecia.
Some studies suggest that bald hair due to androgenic alopecia is associated with an increased risk of heart disease. But apparently, baldness at a young age is also found to be associated with a decrease in sperm quality, which can affect male fertility. How can it be?
Overview of androgenetic alopecia
Alopecia is a large amount of hair loss, which can cause full baldness on the scalp. The average hair loss is 25-100 strands per day. You are called to experience alopecia if hair falls more than 100 strands per day.
Alopecia itself has many types, and is more likely to be experienced by middle-aged to elderly people. If baldness starts at a young age - it can even occur since the beginning of puberty - this condition is called androgenetic alopecia.
There are three stages that need to be passed until the hair really falls out until it's finally bald. The first stage is the anagen stage, which is the growth stage of active hair fibers. This stage can last for 2-7 years. As much as 80-85 percent of the hair you have is currently in the anagen phase.
The next step is katagen aka the transition phase. The catagen phase is characterized by hair that stops growing, usually lasting for 10-20 days. The third stage is the telogen phase, which occurs when the hair actually stops growing and then begins to fall out. 10-15 percent of the hair is in the telogen phase, which generally lasts up to 100 days.
Every strand of hair on your head has its own cycle. Hair loss should be replaced with new hair. But in alopecia, hair replacement does not occur. Androgenetic alopecia is influenced by androgen hormones and hereditary factors. One function of androgen hormone is to regulate hair growth.
How does bald hair at a young age affect male fertility?
Baldness in men begins with a hairline on the forehead that is increasingly backward, accompanied by a point or area of small baldness on the scalp that may spread more over time. The severity of baldness can also vary, ranging from mild to severe.
The more severe baldness you experience at a young age is associated with an increased risk of low sperm quality. There are several factors that influence this. Young men with moderate to severe baldness experience decreased sex hormone-binding globulin in their blood. SHBG is a complex protein that binds to human sex hormones, including androgens and estrogen. SBHG and sex hormones have a role in a series of human fertility processes. Low levels of SBHG result in a decrease in the production and maturation of sperm cells.
In some cases, men who experience baldness at a young age can also experience hypogonadism. Hypogonadism is a condition of lack of reproductive hormones, one of which is characterized by a lack of testosterone levels in the body. In fact, the hormone testosterone plays an important role for male sexual growth and development. Men who experience testosterone deficiency can be seen from bald hair or thinning hair over time, and armpit and pubic hair that does not grow. Low testosterone levels also inhibit the production of healthy sperm cells.
In addition, baldness in young men is also associated with an increased risk of metabolic syndrome, such as diabetes, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and obesity. These conditions will affect the maturation process of sperm so that the sperm produced has poor quality. One of the causes is oxidative stress caused by various metabolic diseases.
Good sperm quality is influenced by the following three factors: sperm count, shape, and movement (motility). If there are only one, or more, sperm abnormalities from these three factors, then you are at high risk of fertility problems or even infertility.
Having a bald head doesn't mean you must be infertile
Men with bald hair at a young age do not necessarily mean they cannot have offspring. However, this phenomenon may be one indication of a disturbance in a man's body. Early detection of the risk of serious illness and consultation with a doctor are needed so that it can be done if you are at high risk of experiencing fertility problems.
- Take a look at the differences in male and female baldness
- Hair Loss Up to 100 Strands a Day, Normal or a Sign of Baldness?
- Short-bodied men are more at risk of experiencing baldness at a young age