Hair loss or alopecia in medical terms refers to the loss of hair due to several factors. These causes may include such heredity which causes pattern baldness both in men and women, lack of proper nutrition, taking in medications, certain illnesses such as cancer, thyroid disease or lupus which weaken the immune system, undergoing medical treatments for certain conditions, pregnancy, and varying hair styles that put too much pressure on the scalp that hinders hair growth.
If you are losing more than what is expected, now is the time to worry that you might be suffering from hair loss. If you suffer from symptoms such as the hair falling out suddenly or in clump, patchy hair loss, red scalp or areas that have flakes, and total loss of hair in almost all parts of the body, now is the time to visit the specialist. He or she will pinpoint what causes your hair fall and can offer you alternative treatments and other options.
Visiting the doctor
If you are visiting the doctor for the first time to seek medical advice on your hair loss, expect that he or she will ask about your medical and family. The doctor will ask questions on your recent medical status to know if you underwent treatments that may cause this condition. He or she will also ask about your family’s history to know if the hair loss is caused by the genes or hereditary because this might indicate that you are suffering from pattern baldness.
Before going to the clinic or the hospital, it is advisable to list down the foods that you eat and the medications you take if there are any. This will help the doctor find out faster what causes your condition. During your visit, expect that she or she will ask details like your hair care habits, your current emotional and physiological status as well as other aspects of your life because your hair loss might be caused by stress.
Aside from asking questions, expect that the doctor will do examination on your hair and your scalp. This is very important so the doctor will know how much hair you have lost and what is the condition of your scalp. Be ready because the doctor will examine your scalp to know if there are signs and symptoms of infection such as redness, scaling or flaking. To be sure about the diagnosis, there will be a need to pull some of your hair strands to find out how string or weak it is. This test is called the “pull test”. Seeing how easy the hair comes out from the follicles will help the doctor determine which part of your hair is resting and which part is growing.
The doctor may also do the following set of tests during your visit:
1. Getting samples of skin scrapings.
If there are flakes or scrapings, the doctor will get samples of it and examine it to find out if there is infection or what causes the condition.
2. The punch biopsy.
This is considered as the last option when all the tests are done and no result or diagnosis has been made. People who suffer from alopecia areata and scarring alopecia are asked to undergo this test immediately. Here, the doctor makes use of a piece of circular tool to be able to remove a small section from the deeper layers of the skin.
3. Blood tests.
This is usually not common in screening for hair loss but some doctors recommend it to find out if the condition might be caused by an underlying medical condition like autoimmune diseases.