The Diagnosis of Hair Loss in Women

Hair PullFiguring out the cause of female hair loss is not as straight forward in women as it is in men. Often times a medical evaluation is required to determine the correct cause. Here are three different diagnostic tests that can be performed under the direction of your physician.

The first is to inspect the patients head with a densitometer, which is a hand held instrument that magnifies a small area of the scalp where the hair has been clipped to about 1 mm in length. The purpose of this tool is to look for miniaturization – the progressive decrease of the hair shaft’s diameter and length in response to hormones. A woman who has miniaturization may be suffering from “female pattern” hair loss.

A second diagnostic test is the hair pull. In this test the physician pinches 20 – 30 hairs with his fingers and gently pulls on them. If five or more come out then this may indicate increased shedding, a condition associated with telogen effluvium, a reversible form of hair loss caused by factors such as stress, pregnancy, and drug reactions.

A third diagnostic test is the hair pluck. To perform this test the doctor forcibly plucks 20 – 30 hairs from the scalp with a small clamp. The hair bulbs are then examined under a microscope to determine the ratio of growing hairs to resting hairs. The normal range is 80% of the hair follicles should be in the growth (anagen) stage. Anything lower may indicate telogen effluvium (increased shedding.) The microscope examination also allows for the observation of abnormalities in the hair shaft which may lead to hair breakage and poor growth.

If the cause of the hair loss is still undetermined, additional testing may be required. Your doctor may take a scraping on your head and do a culture to look for fungus, or perform a scalp biopsy to check on regular and special tissue strains. A blood test may be ordered to check for increased androgen production.

Other tests that are commonly ordered to screen for underlying medical conditions include:

CBC (complete blood count) – for anemia, blood loss and certain vitamin deficiencies
Serum iron and iron binding capacity – for anemia
T3, T4, TSH – for thyroid disease
ANA – for Lupus
STS – for Syphilis

Before embarking on any treatment it is important to know the underlying cause of the hair loss. Going to a physician is the best way to receive a proper evaluation.  Once you know the reason you can begin to use natural hair restoration practices to regrow your own hair.

Additional Information

12 Responses to “The Diagnosis of Hair Loss in Women”

  • Alesandra from dr costume:

    Hair loss is the major problem in these days.Hair loss is mainly due to unbalanced food diet, dust, water problem, dandruff problem and due to stressful atmosphere around a person.The industry made products are not sufficient to these kind of hair loss problems.In order to avoid the further loss or enhance the growth one should go for natural home remedies.

  • The women of my family have been plagued by hairloss for as long as I can remember. However with that being said we are all very high-strung people (get stressed easy) so this has givin me some ideas of things to change in my life and hope for the better. Thanks so much for your post.

  • Stress is toxic to your hair and body. You must find activities that help you release stress such as fun exercises like walking, dancing, biking and yoga. This is my advice.

  • Jane from Ladies Wigs:

    @Cathy you should see both an Endocrinologist and a Dermatologist to determine the cause of your hair loss. Each will have some specialist knowledge which might help pinpoint the problem.

  • Great information for any woman who may be wondering why she is losing her hair and wants to do something about it. As you point out you can’t start treating your hair loss until you know the cause behind it.

  • jinnie from propecia online:

    Some people who weren’t blessed with good hair are actually envious of those people who have the luxury of being able to wear their hair long and keep it that way in spite of whatever hassles that long hair may bring to a person. I for one wouldn’t mind! Good to know there’s a shampoo that can help with hair regrowth!

  • Cathy from human hair wigs:

    Dumb question, but what kind of doctor does the tests on your hair? I know the endocrinologist does the thyroid test cos I’ve had that & am being treated for hypo-thyroidism but still am losing my hair.

  • Abi:

    Women usually do not go bald or partially bald, and they generally do not have bald spots on the crown of the head. In women, hair loss typically shows up as overall thinning of the hair, both the quantity of hair on the head and the thickness of each individual hair. Some women do have a receding hairline, but rarely as pronounced and noticeable as what many men experience.
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  • Hairloss is a common issue among women and men and sometimes it can appear there is nothing you can do. These day there are however large numbers of hair loss remedies available and you can get solutions to help you feel more at ease. Hair loss isn’t some thing you’ve to face alone and with help you ought to be able to discover some thing that’s suitable for your needs.Treatment is something that only a few people know about. Discovering what you require is some thing that needs a modest amount of knowledge more likely than not some research. You will need to speak to your doctor to find out the trigger obviously, but after getting that under control, you’ll be able to think of choices for treatment.

  • My mom actually has thin hair but as she ages, it becomes worse. Her sister also seems to have the same problem. This sort of get me thinking that perhaps hair loss or thinning hair is a hereditary thing.
    .-= Audrey@Sunbeam Steam Master Iron´s last blog ..Rowenta Professional Iron (DX8800) Review: The Question Of Durability =-.

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