The doctor needs to meet the patient in person in an effort to determine the cause(s) of hair loss. Key parts of the patient’s medical and hair loss history include the following:
- How has the hair loss started and progressed?
- Is the hair loss characterized by shedding or by a slow steady thinning?
- Are there any accompanying symptoms?
- Is there a family history of hair loss?
- Is there currently any other medical condition that is causing hair loss?
- Have there recently been any stressful events?
- What medications have or are being taken?
- What therapies for hair loss has the patient tried?
Certain patterns of hair loss are typical (female pattern hair loss, alopecia areata-patchy hair loss, cicatricial alopecia- often with itching, traction alopecia caused by wearing hair tightly etc.), but there are also some variants of hair loss that are very subtle. The doctor has to be familiar with how the hair loss has developed with time, if there have been periods with more severe hair loss, was it accompanied with any other symptoms, and the patient’s own impression of the grade of her hair loss. This investigation is followed by checking the patient’s family history of hair loss to see whether anyone else suffered from a similar or the same condition. The patient should reveal to her doctor all other medical conditions she has experienced, along with current medications. There are a lot of conditions and medications that can cause hair loss. And, lastly, but no less important, the patient should let her doctor know about any prior treatments for hair loss and the success or failure of those treatments.