Diagnosis of Hair Loss

Those people who experience any symptoms of excessive hair loss, or anyone who is fearful that they may be going through this condition and may be losing their hair, should make sure to contact a doctor or qualified professional to determine the causes of the hair loss and to allow for a proper diagnosis to be made. Once the doctor is able to determine the cause of the hair loss, they are able to prescribe and recommend the most effective treatment to either stop the hair loss or to repair the loss that already took place. The professional, when making a diagnosis, will make sure to acquire a complete and accurate medical history of the patient so that he can determine what might be causing the hair loss. In addition, the doctor will likely examine the scalp and the hair to see the pattern of the loss and the damage that might have already occurred. Both the medical history and the examination will generally provide enough information to provide a proper diagnosis about the source for the hair loss.

When preparing to make a diagnosis, the doctor will have many very detailed and specific questions so he can get to the root of the problem. He might want to know how often the patient shampoos and washes his hair, or how often he dyes it. He might ask if, along with the shedding, if he has seen or felt other symptoms including redness on the scalp, itchiness, or flaking. He will want to know if patient blow-dries the hair and if so how often, if he has any nervous habits such as rubbing the scalp, or tugging or pulling his hair, or whether or not he has recently had a high fever or any kind of illness. The diagnostician will find out from the patient if he sees that there is a particular pattern the loss of hair, such as complete hair loss throughout the entire head, a receding hair line, any bald areas, or thinning on the crown of the head. He may want to know if the patient has found that he is losing hair from any other parts of his body or if it is exclusively from the scalp. The patient should provide any necessary information such as the types of products that are used on the hair, including gels, hair sprays, shampoos, conditioners, or mousses, whether or not he has recently taken or continues to take any medications that are over the counter or prescription that might be the cause of the hair loss. Lastly, the doctor will want to know if the patient has been under any unusual stress or experienced any anxiety lately that might be leading to the loss of hair. There may be other questions that the doctor will ask in order to get a complete understanding of the situation.

In the atypical cases in which this will not be enough to offer a diagnosis, the doctor may suggest that diagnostic tests be performed to determine the cause of the hair loss. The tests might include a microscopic examination in which a small hair is plucked from the head and is looked at and scrutinized carefully. Another test that can be done is a skin biopsy, if the doctor or patient noticed any changes in the skin that may be due to the hair loss. These diagnostic tests are generally not needed and are considered to be very rare. If, in another rare case, the patient has ringworm on the scalp, the doctor may suggest that the patient take an oral medication, such as griseofulvin, because if the patient uses lotions or cream formulas to treat the diseased area, the medications might not be able to reach through the follicles of hair to treat and kill the fungus causing the disease.