Ng KF, Norazirah MN, Mazlin
Background: Androgenetic alopecia (AGA) is a common hair disorder which affects the patients’ psychology and social activities. Despite being the most prevalent alopecia in Malaysia, there are limited studies examining its psychological impact and patient’s perception on AGA. This study assessed these effects and determined their contributing factors in AGA patients. Methods: A prospective observational study was conducted involving all AGA patients attending dermatology clinics at two tertiary centers. Psychological impact was assessed using Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS). Patient’s perception was assessed using Visual Analog Scale (VAS). Results: Sixty male patients and 41 female patients were recruited. The median age of patients was 29 years. The ethnic composition was Malay (30.7%), Chinese (34.7%) and Indian (34.6%). More females experienced mild AGA-related anxiety and depression compared to males (P<0.001). Young (age<40 years) and single individuals experienced more anxiety and depression than older, married patients (P<0.001). Patients who adopted coping strategies reported more anxiety (P=0.002) and depression (P<0.001) compared to those who were not using any coping strategy. Women were more dissatisfied with their hair condition (VAS score=4 )) compared to men (VAS score=5 ; P=0.002). Conclusion: AGA impairs patients’ psychology and affects their self-perception. Age less than 40 years old, female, unmarried, disease duration less than 4 years and adopting coping strategies were significant factors influencing the psychological impact and perception in AGA patients. Hence, early integration of psychological support to treatment of AGA is recommended.