Before making a diagnosis, your
doctor will likely give you a physical exam and ask about your diet, your hair
care routine, and your medical and family history. You might also have tests,
such as the following:
might help uncover medical conditions that can cause hair loss.
doctor gently pulls several dozen hairs to see how many come out. This helps
determine the stage of the shedding process.
doctor scrapes samples from the skin or from a few hairs plucked from the scalp
to examine the hair roots under a microscope. This can help determine whether
an infection is causing hair loss.
doctor uses a special instrument to examine hairs trimmed at their bases.
Microscopy helps uncover possible disorders of the hair shaft.
What are the types of hair loss?
There are three: anagen effluvium,
telogen effluvium and FPHL.
- Anagen effluvium:
This is caused by medications that poison a growing hair follicle (like
- Telogen effluvium:
This is caused by an increased number of hair follicles reaching the
telogen phase, which is the stage where hair falls out.
- Androgenetic alopecia/female pattern
alopecia/female pattern hair loss (FPHL)/baldness: This type is the most common. Hair
thins over the top of the head and on the sides.
treatments for some types of hair loss are available. You might be able to
reverse hair loss, or at least slow it. With some conditions, such as patchy
hair loss (alopecia areata), hair may regrow without treatment within a year.
Treatments for hair loss include medications and surgery.
Medication: If your hair loss is caused by an underlying
disease, treatment for that disease will be necessary. If a certain medication
is causing the hair loss, your doctor may advise you to stop using it for a few
transplant surgery: In the most common type of
permanent hair loss, only the top of the head is affected. Hair transplant, or
restoration surgery, can make the most of the hair you have left. During a hair transplant procedure, a
dermatologist or cosmetic surgeon removes hair from a part of the head that has
hair and transplants it to a bald spot. Each patch of hair has one to several
hairs (micrografts and minigrafts). Sometimes a larger strip of skin containing
multiple hair groupings is taken. This procedure doesn't require
hospitalization, but it is painful so you'll be given a sedation medicine to
ease any discomfort. Possible risks include bleeding, bruising, swelling and
infection. You may need more than one surgery to get the effect you want.
Hereditary hair loss will eventually progress despite surgery. Surgical
procedures to treat baldness are not usually covered by insurance.
therapy: The Food and Drug Administration
has approved a low-level laser device as a treatment for hereditary hair loss
in men and women. A few small studies have shown that it improves hair density. More studies are needed to show long-term