Hair loss in women – evaluating causes of female pattern baldness
You are SO welcome. I really love being able to talk to all of you from places all over the world. Thank you for sharing your hair loss concerns with me. Many people don’t realize but there are numerous internal causes of hair loss as well as diseases that affect only the hair follicles. Stress is generally NOT a cause of hair loss or it’s a diagnoses of last resort.
Please see a dermatologist (dermatologists are specialists in skin, hair and nails) and ask for a hair loss evaluation. Often, but not always, you may be tested for various hormonal imbalances including male and female hormones, thyroid hormones, and things like iron balance. In the case of hair, it correlates best with a ferritin level which is a measure of total body iron stores. There are also diseases like lupus which can cause hair loss (just one of a several) and also medication side effects. Many blood pressure medications have hair loss as a side effect, for example. I’m just scratching the surface here, but I’m sure you see my point.
Also, tests besides blood tests may be indicated. Another common test is a scalp biopsy. This is not a scary as it sounds. A small area about the size of a pencil eraser is numbed with lidocaine, and a small “punch” is used to remove a small piece of scalp with the roots of the hair intact. The pathologist needs to see the roots. The punch looks like a tiny, round cookie cutter. Then, 2-4 stitches are usually placed and then removed about a week later. It’s not painful at all, except for the small sting of the numbing medication. Pathologists can really help with finding the cause of the hair loss with this small piece of tissue.
I’d really encourage you to go in and be evaluated. You’ll feel much better in the long run!!
Hope this helps, Dr. I