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Is Baldness Inherited from the Mother?

Is Baldness Inherited from the Mother?

Studies have propagated a maternal link to hair loss. However, this is a partial truth. To know the facts behind hereditary loss of hair, take a look at the information presented below.
MenWit Staff
Baldness/phalacrosis, also known as alopecia, is a condition that affects men more than women. This does not mean that women are not prone to developing it. However, the pattern with which it affects men is different from that of women. For both, it starts with gradual hair loss. The typical pattern for male phalacrosis begins with a receding hairline that spreads to the crown, while the hair on the sides and the back remain strong and healthy. Loss of hair in females is gradual too, however, it does not begin with a receding hairline but is associated with gradual thinning of hair. As this pattern continues, bald patches may begin to appear in different parts of the scalp, such as the crown and spread further. However, a completely bald women (unless by choice) is rarely ever seen. A lot of studies have indicated that it is hereditary, and that if your father is bald, you are likely to have this condition too. On the other hand, some studies indicate a maternal link to loss of hair. There are several other reasons for the occurrence of this condition, such as fungal infection, compulsive pulling of hair, as a side effect of radiotherapy, or because of iron deficiency.

Is Baldness Inherited from the Mother?

Recently, a lot of studies have been conducted to find out the hereditary link to phalacrosis. The results of these studies have varied results. However, most evidence suggests that the genes of both the parents are responsible for causing hair loss in their offspring. The details of these findings have been presented here.
  • Until recently, it was believed that this condition was inherited from the mother. This is because this condition has been linked with the presence of androgen receptors in the scalp. These receptors are found on the X chromosome that is inherited from mothers. As such, it was believed that if the maternal grandfather had signs of alopecia, it was likely that the grandson or granddaughter would also suffer from it.
  • Though there are minimal studies that have been conducted on this subject, it has been discovered that genes from the mother's side cannot be solely held responsible for the onset of pattern alopecia. This is because only this gene cannot cause it alone. It has to be a mix of genes from both the parents. Furthermore, the age at which this pattern sets in, the rate at which it progresses, and the pattern of phalacrosis are all determined by heredity. Even if the father shows minimal signs of hair loss and tests positive for the androgen receptor gene, or what is called the baldness gene, it is likely that his offspring will have an 80% chance of developing pattern loss of hair. On the other hand, a father who tests negative for this receptor will not pass on any type of hereditary baldness problem to his offspring.
  • When it comes to women, even if they are genetically prone to loss of hair, the pattern varies. Moreover, they may be more prone to hereditary thinning of the hair rather than hair loss.
  • Experts and researchers believe that simply pinning down the androgen receptor as a cause for alopecia is not evidence enough of its actual effect. Studies have shown that the genes that cause loss of hair are neither attached to the X chromosome nor the Y chromosome. So, any one parent cannot be held responsible for this pattern. Furthermore, this condition is caused due to dominant genes and not by recessive genes. Therefore, while the hereditary nature of losing hair is assured, how exactly it causes this condition and the gene responsible for it are yet to be discovered.
  • Many people consider masturbation to be a probable cause for phalacrosis; however, there is no evidence in the form of clinical studies supporting this myth.
As you can see, a mother cannot only be held responsible for passing on the gene. The receding hairline you are noticing is probably because your father suffers from this problem too.

Disclaimer: This MenWit article is for informative purposes only and should not be used as a replacement for expert medical advice.