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Male Pattern Baldness - Symptoms

The most common symptoms of male-pattern baldness are as follows:

  • excessive loss of hair;
  • hairline receding from the front, that is, temples;
  • overall thinning of hair;
  • reduction in the density of hair;
  • bald patch on top of the scalp;
  • partial baldness; and
  • complete baldness at a later stage.

Male-pattern baldness, in its early stages, affects the frontal area and vertex (top or crown) of the head. When it spreads over time, the occipital (back of the head) and parietal areas (sides) remain more or less unaltered.

The hair-growth cycle in men with pattern baldness produces shorter and thinner hair with each advancing cycle. This happens under the influence of the hormone dihydrotestosterone.

In simple terms, every time a man's hair falls out, the new hair that comes up is thinner than the earlier strand; it also does not grow as long and the colour also gets lighter.

In the end, what remains is very thin 'each-fuzz', or fair hair.

Male-pattern baldness progresses through different stages, as shown in the following illustration.

This illustration shows the Norwood-Hamilton scale, which grades male-pattern baldness from stages 1 to 7:

Stages of male-pattern baldness according to
the Norwood Hamilton Scale

Stage 1:

No hair loss. The head is full of hair.

Stage 2:

Minor recession at the front and some temporal recession. This may not even be the balding stage.

Stage 2A:

Recession progresses across the entire frontal hairline.

Stage 3:

Temporal recession deepens.

Stage 3A:

Frontal recession keeps progressing backwards.

Stage 3V:

Besides the loss of hair in the frontal and temporal regions, there is early hair loss from the crown. (vertex)

Stage 4:

Frontal and temporal hair loss progresses and there is enlargement of the bald patch at the crown.

Stage 4A:

Hair loss progresses past the mid-crown.


Stage 5:

Bald area in the front enlarges and starts joining the bald area at the crown.

Stage 5A:

Bald patches in the front and at the crown fuse and keep enlarging. The back part of the bald area is narrower are compared to stage 6.

Stage 5V:

The bald patch at the crown enlarges although it has still not fused with the bald area at the front.

Stage 6:

Stage 7:


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