Hair Loss

How is hair loss diagnosed in women?

The patient′s family history of alopecia, medicines, diet, present and past medical conditions are important factors for the diagnosis of hair loss in women.

The physical examination is done in three parts. First, the scalp is examined and secondly the density and distribution of hair are evaluated. Third, the hair shaft is examined for shape, caliber, length and fragility.

Following tests are done in women for the diagnosis of hair loss:
  • Hormone levels (DHEA, testosterone, follicular stimulating hormone, androstenedione, prolactin and luteinizing hormone)
  • Serum Ferritin, serum iron and total iron binding capacity
  • VDRL (a screening test for syphilis)
  • Thyroid levels
  • Complete blood count
  • Scalp biopsy - A small section of the scalp is removed and examined under a microscope to determine the cause of hair loss.
  • Densitometry - This test is done for checking the miniaturization of the hair shaft.
  • Hair pull - In this test doctor lightly pulls a small amount of hair to determine if there is too much loss. In case more than three hairs come out, then the patient is expected to be suffering from excess hair loss.
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