You're likely to first bring your concerns to the attention of your family doctor. He or she may refer you to a doctor who specializes in the treatment of skin problems (dermatologist).
What you can do
- List key personal information, including any major stresses or recent life changes.
- Make a list of all medications, vitamins and supplements that you're taking.
- List questions to ask your doctor.
Your time with your doctor is limited, so preparing a list of questions will help you make the most of your time together. List your questions from most important to least important in case time runs out. For hair loss, some basic questions to ask your doctor include:
- What is likely causing my symptoms or condition?
- Are there other possible causes for my symptoms or condition?
- What kinds of tests do I need?
- Is my condition likely temporary or chronic?
- What is the best course of action?
- Will my hair grow back? How long will it take?
- Are there any restrictions that I need to follow?
- Should I see a specialist? What will that cost, and will my insurance cover seeing a specialist?
- Is there a generic alternative to the medicine you're prescribing me?
- Do you have any brochures or other printed material that I can take home with me?
- What websites do you recommend?
What to expect from your doctor
Your doctor is likely to ask you a number of questions. Being ready to answer them may reserve time to go over any points you want to spend more time on. Your doctor may ask:
March 25, 2015
- When did you first begin experiencing hair loss?
- Has your hair loss been continuous or occasional?
- Have you noticed poor hair growth? hair breakage? hair shedding?
- Has your hair loss been patchy or overall?
- Have you had a similar problem in the past?
- Has anyone in your immediate family experienced hair loss?
- What medications or supplements do you take regularly?
- What, if anything, seems to improve your hair loss?
- What, if anything, appears to worsen your hair loss?
- Hair loss. U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health. http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/hairloss.html. Accessed Feb. 9, 2015.
- Hair loss. American Academy of Family Physicians. www.familydoctor.org. Accessed Feb. 9, 2015.
- Hair transplants. American Society for Dermatologic Surgery. www.asds.net. Accessed Feb. 9, 2015.
- Lavender. National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, National Institutes of Health. https://nccih.nih.gov/health/lavender/ataglance.htm. Accessed Feb. 9, 2015.
- AskMayoExpert. Alopecia (adult and pediatric). Rochester, Minn.: Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research; 2014.
- Hair loss. American Cancer Society. www.cancer.org. Accessed Feb. 9, 2015.
- Hair loss. Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database. http://naturaldatabase.therapeutic research.com. Accessed Feb. 9, 2015.
- Van Zuuren EJ, et al. Interventions for female pattern hair loss. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. http://ovidsp.tx.ovid.com/sp-3.14.0b/ovidweb.cgi. Accessed Feb. 13, 2015.
- Jimenez JJ, et al. Efficacy and safety of a low-level laser device in the treatment of male and female pattern hair loss: A multicenter, randomized, sham device-controlled, double-blind study. American Journal of Clinical Dermatology. 2014;15:115. www.clinicalkey.com. Accessed Feb. 9, 2015.
- Banka N, et al. Pattern hair loss in men: Diagnosis and treatment. Dermatologic Clinics. 2013;31:129.
- Mirmirati P. Age-related hair changes in men: Mechanisms and management of alopecia and graying. Maturitas. 2015;80:58.
- Champagne C, et al. Hair loss in infancy and childhood. Paediatrics and Child Health. 2014;25:2.
- Second opinion. Mayo Clinic Health Letter. 2013;11:8.
- Hair loss. American Academy of Dermatology. www.aad.org/dermatology-a-to-z/diseases-and-treatments/e---h/hair-loss. Accessed Sept. 30, 2014.
- McMichael A. Female pattern hair loss (androgenetic alopecia in women): Pathogenesis, clinical features and diagnosis. www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Feb. 11, 2015.
- Riggin EA. Decision Support System. Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. Jan. 15, 2015.
- Safety announcement. U.S. Food and Drug Administration. http://www.fda.gov/Drugs/DrugSafety/ucm258314.htm. Accessed March 11, 2015.