What To Expect From Your Hair Loss Consultation
Hair loss is a dilemma faced by both men and women. Today, about 35 million men and 21 million women suffer from hair loss. Though hair loss is a common problem, many people are unaware of the diverse services and treatments available to them for addressing hair loss.
Treatment for hair loss starts with finding the cause. To acquire an accurate diagnosis, a consultation with a hair loss doctor is important. Before booking an appointment, you can prepare questions that need to be asked during the consultation, and psych yourself up for other things that you need to expect.
What happens during a hair loss consultation?
On average, an adult sheds about 100 hair strands per day, which is quite normal and will not cause noticeable thinning of the hair. Hair loss happens when the cycle of hair growth and shedding is altered, or the hair follicle becomes damaged and replaced with scar tissue.
The common causes of hair loss in both men and women are hormonal changes, family history of hair loss, medical conditions, certain medications, stress, and vitamin deficiency.
The doctor needs to determine the cause of your hair loss. In a hair loss consultation, you may expect to answer some questions from the doctor, including:
Hair Loss Timeline
The doctor will ask you when the hair thinning started or at what age did you observe hair loss. Also, you may need to list down all the remedies you’ve tried and which ones helped.
The doctor will conduct a medical history interview to determine medical conditions you have, including past diagnoses. This is to determine an underlying cause of hair loss, which may include hypothyroidism, nerve conditions, autoimmune diseases, hypertension, or any heart disease.
In the medical interview, some questions may seem unrelated but, rest assured, they will provide clues on the potential causes of hair loss. The doctor may ask about your diet, supplements or medicines you’re taking, recent health changes, the appearance of your nails, or the presence of a stressful event.
Your family’s history of illnesses will also provide valuable information about hair loss. The doctor will ask questions about hair loss that runs in the family or any conditions that may affect hair growth. Understanding pattern hair loss in the family will help doctors estimate the extent of hair loss that you may expect during your lifetime.
A physical exam involves assessing the scalp to check for inflammation, sores, scarring, or redness. The doctor will look closely at the hair to determine how many are being lost, whether the hair strands are breaking, and the pattern of the hair loss.
The doctor will perform simple tests, including the pull test, tug test, and card test. In the pull test, the doctor gets small sections of hair from different areas of the scalp and gently pulls them. If more than six hair strands fall out, there’s an active hair loss.
In the tug test, the doctor gets hair strands and holds them with two hands, one near the tip and the other near the root. The doctor will tug to see if any of the hair strands break.
Meanwhile, the card test is an examination wherein the doctor will look at the hair shafts to evaluate how many hair strands are growing. To perform the test, the doctor creates a part in the hair and holds a small card covered in felt paper against an area of the scalp. New hairs will be visible, and the doctor will count them.
If you already have blood tests ready, you can bring them to your hair loss consultation. If not, the doctor will request certain tests to rule out some conditions and determine the root cause of hair loss.
Some of the blood tests needed are those that measure thyroid hormone levels, iron deficiency, malnutrition, and androgen excess.
In a scalp biopsy, the doctor will get a small specimen of the scalp from two different locations. The specimen will be sent to the laboratory to be examined under a microscope by a specialist scalp condition pathologist. This test is usually done to determine if the patient has alopecia, an autoimmune disorder that causes hair fall, frequently in clumps.
What questions should you ask your doctor during a hair loss consultation?
During your first hair loss checkup, asking questions from your doctor is necessary for you to understand what needs to be done. To address hair loss, you may undergo treatments and procedures. Understanding these procedures can help you prepare and have peace of mind.
Is my condition temporary or long-term?
This question is important to ask — the answers to which the doctor will base on the medical history interview, physical exam, and test results. Some of the temporary causes of hair loss include trauma, malnutrition, and stress while permanent causes include male or female pattern baldness.
Will my hair grow back?
In many cases, hair will grow back on its own, especially if it’s caused by stress or an illness that has been resolved. However, hair loss may be permanent and could get worse over time. The doctor will provide a realistic assessment of the extent of hair loss and what to expect. This way, you can decide how to go about the suggested treatments.
What hair restoration procedures are available?
While your hair may regrow on its own, your doctor may recommend treatments to help it grow faster. Some of these include at-home remedies, low-level laser therapy, and hair transplant. You may also ask about the treatment plan the doctor has for you, and how much it will cost.
Hair loss could take a toll on one’s self-esteem and body image. Detecting it early will pave the way for immediate treatment, preventing long-term effects and worsening hair loss.
When visiting a doctor for a hair loss consultation, be prepared to be asked certain questions and, at the same time, prepare to ask your questions. You need to know the treatments and procedures needed to regain hair growth if you hope to arrive at a solution.
At Dr Tyng Tan Aesthetics and Hair Clinic, we would be happy to answer all your queries about any of our procedures to address hair loss. To help you make an informed decision, book a consultation today!
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