Before making a diagnosis, your doctor will likely give you a physical exam and ask about your medical history and family history. He or she may also perform tests, such as the following:
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- Blood test. This may help uncover medical conditions related to hair loss, such as thyroid disease.
- Pull test. Your doctor gently pulls several dozen hairs to see how many come out. This helps determine the stage of the shedding process.
- Scalp biopsy. Your doctor scrapes samples from the skin or from a few hairs plucked from the scalp to examine the hair roots. This can help determine whether an infection is causing hair loss.
- Light microscopy. Your doctor uses a special instrument to examine hairs trimmed at their bases. Microscopy helps uncover possible disorders of the hair shaft.
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- 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.