Diagnosing Your Hair Loss
The cure to any disease starts with a proper diagnosis. This holds true for hair loss as well. Here we will talk about different tests and methods used to diagnose hair loss so that you can start your rewarding journey to healthy hair.
Hair loss can be a rude awakening to when it occurs and is often unexpected. However, there is no reason just to sit around and accept it; instead, there are a few things you can do about it, and the first is proper diagnosis. You first need to know what type of hair loss you suffer from, and about its severity, etc. If your hair loss or thinning is sudden, severe, or just plain bothersome, it might make sense to take the time for a proper assessment. With this information in mind, it can make it far more manageable to seek the right solutions for effective hair fall control and apply the most effective hair loss treatment.
If you experience excessive hair being left behind in the shower or on your hairbrush, there is a good chance that you are suffering from hair loss. Most of the time, by simply reflecting on your diet and habits, you can diagnose your hair loss. However, if your hair loss is persistent and severe, there are some methods and tests that you can apply to diagnose hair loss more accurately. Let's look at some of these methods below.
By reflecting on your lifestyle and habits, you can often reach a remarkably accurate diagnosis of hair loss. Let us now discuss certain things you should analyze about yourself to help aid in your hair loss treatment.
One of the primary leading causes of hair loss is poor diet. Your hair requires nutrients to grow, and if you fail to provide your hair follicles proper nutrition, you will see a tremendous decrease in your hair health. Deficiencies in certain nutrients such as Vitamin D, Iron, and Omega 3 fatty acids can lead to a dry scalp, balding, and, ultimately, hair loss. So review what you are putting into your body, and if you find that you are not taking a balanced diet, that is probably the cause of your hair loss.
Here is a great guide to the essential nutrients that your body needs to keep your hair healthy and prevent hair loss.
Have you recently experienced a stressful event? Such as the undertaking of a really tough project? Or perhaps you have too much on your plate and are worrying about a looming deadline? If so, then your stress is a good indicator of what’s causing your hair loss. Your body needs to maintain a perfect balance between different body functions and hormonal levels. The slightest imbalance and it could take a drastic toll on your mental and physical health. Which, in turn, leads to hair loss.
You can learn more about how stress and hair loss are related and how you can combat it here.
3. The Pull Test
Usually, when you go to your dermatologist to discuss your hair loss, one of the preliminary tests they will do is the pull test. You can do this test yourself too to diagnose whether or not you’re facing hair loss. For the pull test, grab small sections of hair (around 40 strands) from all over your head and pull gently. If more than five strands of hair fall out from each section, you’re suffering from progressive hair loss. This may mean you’re suffering from telogen effluvium, pattern baldness, or loose anagen syndrome. You may need further testing to find out exactly what kind of hair loss you’re suffering from.
4.The Tug Test
Like the pull test, the tug test is also one of the preliminary tests most dermatologists do when diagnosing hair loss. This test helps check the structural strength of your hair. To do this test, hold a section of your hair with two hands, one holding the roots of the hair and the other, the ends. Now hold the roots firmly and tug on the ends of your hair. If the hair break at any point in the middle, it means that you have fragile or brittle hair. This fragileness can be caused by abnormalities in your hair shafts, which leads to weak hair, which ultimately leads to hair thinning and hair loss.
Yes, you heard that right. Taking too many selfies might not be a problem, after all. By taking regular photographs of yourself, you not only monitor your hair loss efficiently but also track your treatment progress. But when it comes to photography to diagnose your hair, make sure to take shots from different angles. If you see some worrying results, don’t fret; there is always a solution. Consequently, if you don’t see any encouraging results from treatment after more than three to four months, maybe it may be time to consult a professional provided that you've done everything else as well.
So you tried the self-assessment methods, and either could not make anything substantial from the tests or tried and are looking for something more definitive. Now we delve into the realm of science and medicine. Next, we will discuss different tests and methods your doctor may use to diagnose your hair loss.
1. Medical History
To kick things off, your doctor will ask you different questions to understand why you may be experiencing hair loss. This includes matters such as:
"Do you notice any patterns regarding your hair loss?"
"When did it start?"
"Is Hair loss common in your family?"
"What hair products do you use?"
"Can you tell me about your diet?"
"Have you noticed any recent changes to your overall health or any other ailments?"
By doing so, your doctor can have a general idea as to what might be the cause of your hair loss. Perhaps it’s due to a poor lifestyle, or a concerning health condition, or maybe just tough luck (genetics). Either way, it plays a vital role in diagnosing your hair loss accurately.
2. Blood Tests
After your medical history, your doctor has several routes to choose from to further diagnose your hair loss. If they felt that you had some sort of nutrient deficiency, or hormonal imbalance, etc. they would ask for you to get a blood test. As per the reports of the said tests, your doctor can diagnose your hair loss more acutely move on to a corresponding treatment.
3. Culture Testing
Your doctor might feel it necessary to conduct a scalp biopsy or fungal test of your hair and scalp. In this case, they might swab or scrape your scalp or take a sample of your hair or skin and send it to the laboratory. The tests will then confirm if you have any sort of fungal infection like scalp ringworm or tinea capitis that might be causing your hair loss.
4. Scalp Biopsy
This medical procedure, also known as a "punch biopsy," involves your dermatologist using a special device to remove some tissue samples from your scalp to be tested. Don’t worry, the device is only the size and shape of a pencil, and most people won't feel much discomfort. Once the tissue sample is procured, it is sent for testing. This test is done to find out more about your hair follicles and in case you might have any lesions on your scalp. This test is often used to diagnose between alopecia, scarring, or cicatricial.
Trichoscopy is done to look at your hair and scalp in more detail. Such as finding broken hair tips, or analyzing your hair follicles and scalp. It is also called "scalp dermoscopy" and is a non-invasive method for hair loss diagnosis. It helps in determining the severity of your hair loss and helps measure hair follicle activity. It is done by examining your scalp and hair using a manual dermoscope or a videodermoscope.
A Trichogram is a semi-invasive method of hair loss diagnosis. You will be requested not to wash your hair for 3-5 days and to avoid any cosmetic hair treatments for up to eight weeks before the test. Once ready, some small samples of about 20-25 hair are plucked from different areas of the scalp and then analyzed under a microscope. This is done to study the distal ends and the proximal ends of your hair shaft. It helps determine how much of your hair are in a specific growth phase and hence helps with the diagnosis of telogen effluvium and other similar hair loss conditions.
7. Genetic Testing
To diagnose androgenetic alopecia, your doctor might employ the use of genetic testing. In genetic testing, a simple cheek swab is taken and analyzed to determine whether or not you carry a certain genetic variant that will cause hair loss. Such a technique is particularly useful if you are worried about hair loss and would like to start treatment before even experiencing noticeable symptoms.
Although you may be facing hair loss as you read this, or are worried because hair loss tends to run in your family, diagnosing the cause is half the battle. There is a lot you can do to combat hair loss, and for that, it is important to empower yourself with knowledge and understand why you’re experiencing hair loss, what sort of hair loss it is, and its patterns and severity. Once that is pinpointed, you can focus your energy on treating the specific cause with the right treatment and bringing you the results you deserve!
We hope this article gives you a thorough insight into how hair loss is diagnosed and will help you achieve optimum, healthy hair. Follow our site to learn more about your hair and the best strategies, tips, products, and techniques for achieving natural, healty hair restoration!