Who doesn’t love a head full of sleek and shiny hair? There is no denying the fact that beautiful hair can create a lasting impression. Hairs on the head have a significant contribution to your overall body aesthetics. Therefore, you need to be very careful with your hair care routine.
But despite your best efforts, you may still experience hair loss and thinning. Why is that so?
The most common reason for hair loss in men is hereditary pattern baldness, while women lose hair due to several other factors over and above pattern baldness. You can undergo several tests to determine the exact cause of your hair loss. Based on that, your trichologist will recommend a suitable treatment to deal with your problem.
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Tests for Detecting Hair Loss
Collective results of different tests may be analyzed to detect the cause of hair loss. This is because a single test may not help find the exact reason in some cases.
The most common tests that help detect hair loss are as follows.
A punch or scalp biopsy can also reveal the cause of hair loss. A small cut is made on the scalp to extract and analyze the tissue sample. The analysis of extracted tissue can help identify the cause of hair loss. This test is generally performed to check for lesions on the scalp formed due to multiple issues that cause hair loss.
Hair Pull Test
A hair pull test is a straightforward procedure in which a dermatologist grasps a small section of hair, e.g., 40-50 strands from different parts of the scalp, and pulls them. If more than six strands fall out, it means you are suffering from active hair loss.
Densitometer is just a magnification device. This handheld device can help reveal any miniaturization of hair shafts which is also a possible cause of hair loss. It also helps gather helpful information on hair density and the composition of hair follicles.
This test involves computerized measurements to examine your scalp and hair. The doctor takes highly magnified images of your hair and scalp during this test. These images are reviewed on a computer screen for a detailed examination of the hair, follicles, and scalp.
A trichometry test also provides helpful information about the number of hairs on the scalp and the diameter of strands. This information helps determine the progression of hair loss as well as the pace of hair regrowth during and after the treatment.
A fungal culture test helps determine if your hair loss is due to a fungal infection called tinea capitis in the hair or scalp. This test is performed using a scraping tool or a swab to collect the sample of the scalp skin. This sample is incubated in a specific lab environment to allow a fungal culture to become positive.
Blood Test for Hair Loss
Blood tests are generally performed to diagnose conditions that may lead to hair loss. Your doctor may perform multiple blood tests to detect the exact reason.
Trichologists and healthcare providers usually perform the following tests to ascertain the cause of hair loss.
Iron Deficiency (TIBC)
Iron deficiency can contribute to thin hair and hair loss. A simple blood test can be used to see if a person has an iron deficiency. Total iron-binding capacity (TIBC) and serum ferritin test can provide further details about iron deficiency. These details are analyzed to detect hair loss, particularly in women.
Thyroid Disease (T3, T4, TSH)
Too much or too little thyroid hormone production can lead to hair loss. When your doctor suspects you are losing hair because of the thyroid problem, they may prescribe a blood test for thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH). The doctor may ask for further thyroid testing if TSH readings are abnormal.
Women with thin hair could be suffering from excess or elevated androgen levels. A blood test can be used to know about the free androgen index (FAI) that helps reveal if a woman has raised androgen levels. The types of blood tests performed in this regard are Prolactin Blood Test and Testosterone Blood Test.
B-12 Deficiency Test
Vitamin B-12 plays a significant role in making new red blood cells. Hair follicles can be affected if B-12 levels are lower than usual. Your hair loss expert may recommend a blood test to measure the presence of methylmalonic acid. Higher levels of this acid indicate B-12 deficiency, contributing to hair loss.
Correctly diagnosing the causes of hair loss is vital to stopping its progression and encouraging regrowth. The tests mentioned above in this blog post help determine hair loss reasons, ranging from genetics to hormonal problems and nutritional deficiencies to medical conditions. Ultimately, they provide helpful information that your doctor may utilize to formulate a treatment plan according to your requirements.
However, it is worth mentioning that most of these tests have limitations that may lead to an inaccurate diagnosis. To counter this problem, your doctor may combine multiple tests to detect what’s actually causing your hair loss.