posted by ISHRS on April 1, 2008
Sometimes your mirror raises the first question: Is that a spot where I’m beginning to lose hair?
Or, it may be your comb and brush or the shower drain: It looks like I’m losing a lot more hair than usual.
If you have been losing hair for a while and have visible bald spots, you may wonder how much hair you will eventually lose.
If you are a young person with close relatives who have hair loss, you may wonder if hair loss is also in your future.
Those are questions you cannot answer by looking in the mirror. Nor can you find satisfactory answers on the World Wide Web, because every person’s hair loss is individualized by his/her heredity, medical history, age and gender. The answer to your question must be individualized to you.
A question about hair loss must inevitably raise a following question: What can I do about it? This is also a question that must have an individualized answer.
As with other questions regarding your health and well-being, you will want expert consultation with a professional trained and experienced in the relevant field. In the case of hair loss and hair restoration, this is a physician hair restoration specialist—a medical doctor with the specialized knowledge and skills necessary for the diagnosis and treatment of hair loss. The physician hair restoration specialist should also meet your expectations for empathy and interest in you as an individual.
What Can a Physician Hair Restoration Specialist Tell You About Your Hair Loss?
One of the first questions to be addressed is: If you are experiencing hair loss, what is the cause? The most common cause of permanent hair loss in both men and women is androgenetic alopecia, also called male-pattern and female-pattern hair loss. Androgenetic alopecia has a genetic basis and tends to “run in the family”. There are many other causes, however, and before any treatment for hair loss is contemplated, the cause of the hair loss should be correctly diagnosed.
Another question to which you will want an answer: Is my hair loss going to progress, and if so, how much and how rapidly? Answers to this question may be found in your family history of hair loss, your personal history of hair loss, and in data from studies of hair loss. Data gathered in some classic studies suggest how specific patterns of hair loss develop and progress over time in men and in women.
While every person’s hair loss follows a pattern unique to that individual, the study data provide a template for assessing a likely pattern of development.
What Can be Done About Your Hair Loss?
Recommendations for hair loss treatment provide you with options based on the expert assessment by the physician hair restoration specialist. Options may include medical hair restoration therapy, a surgical approach to hair restoration, or a combined medical-surgical approach.
Recently approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for treating certain types of androgenetic alopecia is a hand-held laser device that has been shown effective in slowing hair loss and stimulating hair growth in small clinical trials. Larger well-designed clinical trials will be necessary before the effectiveness of this device can be substantiated. A physician hair restoration specialist can provide guidance regarding the use of the laser device by an individual patient.
After Consultation, Then What?
After consultation with a physician hair restoration specialist, you can assess the answers you received to your questions, and the options for slowing hair loss or undertaking hair restoration.