Testing and Treating Baldness Based on Causes
When you first visit your doctor for a medical consultation about your hair loss, you will be asked a variety of questions related to your medical history. Your family's history with baldness will be briefly discussed as the gene for male pattern baldness is a dominant one and you may have it, too.
You will also be subjected to a physical examination to rule out any underlying medical condition that may be causing the hair loss. Laboratory examinations involving blood and urine may also be performed for this exact purpose.
Your doctor will also be performing various physical examinations on the hair itself including the following:
* Pull Test - In this test, several dozens of hair are gently pulled and then the number of hairs that were actually pulled out will be counted. From this number, the stage of the shedding process can be determined and telogen effluvium can be diagnosed, if applicable.
Punch Biopsy - There are instances when a definitive diagnosis is difficult in which case a punch biopsy is performed. The doctor uses a circular tool for the removal of the scalp's deeper layers.
Skin Scrape - An infection may be causing the hair loss, which a laboratory analysis of the hair strands can confirm.
As previously mentioned, you may have to undergo laboratory tests to determine if there are other causes besides heredity and genes in your hair loss. This is because certain diseases like diabetes and lupus as well as medications to treat gout, hypertension and arthritis can lead to baldness.
As is the case with other medical conditions, your doctor will prescribe treatment options depending on the type of hair loss you may have at present. The purpose of said treatment is to get at the root cause and to treat the symptoms.
You have to discuss these treatment options with your doctor as not everybody will respond to the same treatment in every way. Just as hair is unique, so is the treatment for its loss.
Nonetheless, the following treatments are the most commonly used. Their efficacy will differ according to the individual case, the frequency of application and other factors.
* Medications like minoxidil cream and finasteride pills are affordable and are effective in many cases. The newer treatments involve the injection of corticosteroids into the scalp as well as anthralin for topical application on the scalp.
Surgical techniques including transplantation and reduction are more expensive but with better results.
Herbal formulations containing the likes of saw palmetto, aloe vera and milk thistle are also popular.
Lifestyle changes including a healthy diet, good stress management and the avoidance of alcohol, cigarettes and illicit drugs are recommended.
Your vigilance in taking good care of your hair can determine how well you can prevent hair loss. So, start early and reap the rewards later.