Hair loss is
diagnosed through a medical history and physical exam. Your doctor will
ask you questions about your hair loss, look at the pattern of your hair loss,
and examine your scalp. He or she may also tug gently on a few hairs or pull
The most common cause of hair loss—inherited hair
recognized. Men tend to lose hair from the forehead area and top of the head
with normal amounts of hair on other areas of the scalp. Women tend to keep their front hairline, but have thinning of the hair on the top of the head.
To determine the cause of your
hair loss, your doctor may ask you about:
Characteristics of your hair loss. Is your
hair thinning, with your scalp becoming more visible, but your hair is not
noticeably falling out? Or is your hair shedding, with lots of hair falling
How long your hair loss has been occurring. How long has it
been since you had your normal amount of hair?
Your family history
of hair loss. Does your mother or father, brother or sister, or any other
relative have hair loss? If so, what caused their hair loss?
hairstyling habits. Has your hair become fragile from pulling it too tight or
from other hairstyling habits? Have you had any chemical treatments to your
hair, such as permanents (perms) or bleaching? Do you use a blow-dryer that may
be too hot? Is a curling iron damaging your hair?
illness. Have you had any skin rashes, such as
Medicines you are
taking. Are you taking blood thinners (anticoagulants)
or medicines for
depression, or heart problems? Have you had any
Your diet. Are you
iron in your diet?
If the reason for your hair loss is not
clear, your doctor may do tests to check for a disease that may be causing your
hair loss. Tests include:
Hair analysis. Your doctor will take a sample of your
hair and examine it under a microscope. A scalp sample might also be