Your hair is beginning to thin and shed, and you’re ready to talk to a doctor about possible treatment options. Where do you go and whom do you call? What kind of doctor treats hair loss?
It’s a common question. Hair loss affects millions of men and women worldwide, and treating it is a big business. Look online and you’ll instantly find all kinds of miracle solutions from specialists promising to restore your natural hair to homemade remedies and potions to stimulate hair growth.
There are many treatment options and remedies for baldness out there, and there's a wide range of hair loss doctors and specialists. Choosing the right doctor is an important first step in your hair restoration journey. Here are some things to consider when choosing the right doctor or service provider for you.
Types of Hair Loss Doctors
You should first discuss your hair loss with your family doctor, internist or dermatologist.
A dermatologist is a licensed medical professional who specializes in skin, nails and hair. They are the most qualified to diagnose the root cause of hair loss and can provide treatment recommendations.
To diagnose the cause of your hair loss, your doctor will ask you several questions, including a medical history and the history of baldness in your family. He or she also will examine your scalp and hair loss pattern. If the cause of hair loss cannot be determined after a physical examination, a hair sample or blood test may be required to rule out any underlying diseases or conditions such as a thyroid disorder, which can cause hair loss.
Your doctor may also try to determine if a certain medication you are taking is causing your hair to thin or fall out and might even ask you about your diet, as a lack of protein and iron can contribute to hair loss.
Other specialists include trichologists and endocrinologists. A trichologist is a professional who has studied trichology, the health of the scalp and hair. Trichologists are not necessarily licensed medical professionals, but can often accurately diagnose the cause of hair loss. Endocrinologists are licensed medical professionals who specialize in the endocrine system, including hormones and the effects of hormonal imbalance on the body, one of which is hair loss and thinning hair.
It is important to note that trichologists and endocrinologists do not specialize in hair restoration. A dermatologist, plastic surgeon or medical hair loss specialist typically performs hair transplant surgery and other non-surgical procedures to treat hair loss.
The Importance of an Accurate Diagnosis
Before starting any kind of hair loss treatment, it is important to get an accurate diagnosis of the cause of your hair loss because different types of hair loss respond better to different kinds of treatments.
The most common type of hair loss is male pattern baldness, also known as androgenetic alopecia, and accounts for over 90% of hair loss in men. It is genetic and is easy to recognize and diagnose because it follows a very distinct pattern of receding or thinning hair at the hairline, temples and crown.
Male pattern baldness is triggered by the male hormone dihydrotestosterone (DHT), a byproduct of testosterone. Some men’s hair follicles are sensitive to DHT, and continued exposure causes the follicles to shrink and stop producing hair. If diagnosed early, DHT exposure to the hair follicle can be slowed or stopped.
The drug Propecia (Finasteride) is approved by the FDA to treat male pattern baldness by inhibiting the enzyme that converts testosterone into DHT. Treatment can lower DHT levels by as much as 60%, which works to stop the progression of hair loss. Rogaine (Minoxidil) is also known to slow hair loss progression and effectively regrow some hair when applied to the scalp.
The second-most common cause of hair loss is telogen effluvium (TE), which is often triggered by a stressful event. Our hair follicles aren’t constantly producing hair. They go through a growth cycle where they produce hair for around two years. Then they “rest” for a month or two before continuing to growing hair. TE occurs when there are hair follicles “resting” longer than normal. The result is an increase in shedding and hair loss.
Hair follicles can enter a resting state because of several different factors including a sudden change in hormones typically associated with childbirth, changes in medications, extreme dieting and surgery. TE is often temporary and is completely reversible when the body heals and recovers from the underlying cause.
Other possible causes of hair loss include stress, chronic disease, a traumatic event, poor nutrition, a skin condition or even certain medications.
Without properly diagnosing the cause of your hair loss, a doctor cannot properly treat it.
Choosing a Hair Restoration Specialist
Hair restoration technology has come a long way over the years, and there are many revolutionary treatment options to replace and regrow your thinning or lost hair. The results of these restoration treatments are natural-looking and permanent.
When considering a hair replacement procedure or hair transplant surgery, do your homework and find a certified hair restoration technician that you trust. Read online reviews, ask for references and choose your technician as carefully as you would your family doctor.
To learn more about the cause of your hair loss and the best available treatment options to help restore your natural hair, contact Dallas NeoGraft to schedule a consultation today.