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 some out.
The most common cause of hair loss-inherited hair loss-is easily 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.
Like good health and youth, most of us take a thick head of hair for granted -- that is, until it is gone. For many people, hair transplant procedures can help bring back the appearance of a full -- or at least a fuller -- head of hair.
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 out?
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?
Your 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?