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Hair Loss Symptoms & Diagnosis

Symptoms

Alopecia symptoms depend on the type of hair loss. Some of the more common symptoms include:

Male-pattern baldness:

  • Hair recedes
  • Hair falls out at the top of the head
  • Affects men and women

Female-pattern baldness:

  • Hair thins over the entire head
  • Hair comes out when brushing

Alopecia areata:

  • Rapid hair loss
  • Round or oval patches of hair loss
  • Sometimes tiny hairs are visible in the patches
  • Fingernails and toenails with pits

Stress-related:

  • Gradual shedding
  • Hairs come out with gentle pulling

Fungal infections:

  • Patches of hair loss
  • Black dots in the patches
  • Itching
  • Scaling
  • Inflammation (such as redness)

Diagnosis

The doctor will ask about your symptoms and medical history. A physical exam will be done. The doctor will examine the area(s) of hair loss, noting the pattern of hair loss and condition of the scalp.

This physical exam may include:

  • Gentle pulling on the hair.
  • Taking samples of scalp areas with inflammation. The sample will be examined them under a microscope.
  • Analyzing samples of hair.
  • Checking for hair loss on other parts of the body.

The doctor will ask questions about:

  • Diet
  • Hair care
  • Medication use
  • Your personal and family medical history
  • Pregnancies, menopause, and monthly menstrual cycles

Other tests may include:

  • Blood tests—to help identify underlying conditions that may be causing the hair loss
  • Biopsy of the scalp—removal of a small tissue sample to be analyzed under the microscope

Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Copyright © 2017 EBSCO Publishing All rights reserved.

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