The Diagnosis of Hair Loss in Women

Hair loss in women differs from hair loss in men. There is a variety of reasons for hair loss in women. When it comes to the diagnosis of hair loss in a female patient, a doctor should first eliminate certain disorders in the diagnosis. A few diagnostic tests and a scalp biopsy might help.

Doctor explaining diagnosis of young ill woman

Some of the methods for diagnosing hair loss in women are as follows:

Scalp Biopsy 

Scalp biopsy is not a long and difficult procedure to perform. Often, a 4mm diametered piece of scalp (with the hair strands) is removed under local anesthesia. Then the doctor can examine the sample under the microscope. This method is quite effective in determining the cause of hair loss.

Hair Pull 

The physician pulls a small amount of hair – and do this very lightly. They do it in different parts of the scalp. If only one to three hair strands are released per pull, this is normal. If the number is more than ten, the patient might be experiencing some sort of hair loss.

A physician can diagnose Alopecia Areata, Anagen or Telogen Effluvium via a hair pull. This method does not have an established standard.


A densitometer is a portable magnification device. The physicians can observe the diameter of the hair, the hair follicles, and the hair shaft using this small device. It is effective in early diagnosis, and the diagnosis of hair loss in women.

Diagnostic Tests

Some of the diagnostic tests that are performed to identify the cause of hair loss in a female patient:

  • Complete blood count test (CBC): to see if there are any vitamin deficiencies or anemia
  • Serum iron: to see if there is anemia
  • STS or VDRL: to see if the patient has syphilis
  • Serum ferritin
  • Total iron binding capacity (TIBC)
  • T3, T4, TSH: to see if the patient has any thyroid diseases
  • ANA: for Lupus
  • Hormone levels (testosterone, androstenedione, prolactin, etc.)

Your doctor may request other tests or perform other methods to diagnose your hair loss, and determine the best treatment. It can be a good idea to rule out the serious conditions first.


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