What’s up Doc?
If you feel like you’re losing hair, before doing anything or taking anything, you should see your doctor. Especially because it may not necessarily be what you think it is.
I was at pains to avoid the cost of a specialist hair person aka a trichologist, and it turned out that my doctor was extremely helpful. Plus he was able to prescribe drugs legally. And he also recommended anti-fungal shampoos containing ketoconazole which has an anti-androgenic effect. Something I’d never heard of before!
I had very targeted and specific questions for him. Amongst the key questions to ask when you visit are:
1 – Is it actually male pattern baldness?
Best to be absolutely sure that you’re treating the right thing!
2 – If it’s not, could it be alopecia areata?
Alopecia areata is an autoimmune disease where one’s own immune system attacks the hair follicles, causing hair loss. There are varying degrees of severity. The mildest form is alopecia areata, typically and most commonly small coin shaped bald patches, that appear anywhere on the scalp and beard. Alopecia totalis causes all of the hair on the scalp to fall out and alopecia universalis causes hair follicles all over the body (including pubic hair, eyebrows and eyelashes to fall out). Stress and viral infections can be the trigger here and working on lifestyle changes, and boosting immunity can help. Your doctor may offer intramuscular steroid injections if you have alopecia areata, which can have good results. Acupuncture can also be helpful here.
3 – Is it worth getting a full screen of blood tests done?
Thyroid disorders, autoimmune disorders and hormone imbalances can lead to abnormal patterns of hair loss. Iron deficiency can also cause thinning. So it might be worth asking for a full blood screen to check for these!
4 – Could it be a skin disorder?
Sometimes psoriasis or skin disorders of the scalp (such as seborrhoeic dermatitis) can lead to abnormal patterns of hair loss.
5 – Could it be a sebaceous cyst?
Some men can get sebaceous cysts on their scalp which lead to the appearance of a bald patch at that point where the cyst is under the scalp. It’s not actually hair loss but it’s that as the cyst grows and becomes more convex it spreads the hair follicles apart from each other leading to the appearance of hair thinning at that point. They can be resected by your doctor or in a minor surgical clinic.
6 – Are there any new treatments available?
New treatments come and go, some seem to have some success, and others don’t. Your doctor may or may not be up to date on the newest treatments. Either way, they can hopefully access research journals and use evidence based medicine to judge their efficacy accordingly.