Hair Loss Test Panel
This lab test panel includes main blood test makers involved in hair loss in women and men: Complete Blood Count (CBC)- Can detect potential low hemoglobin and infections that can lead to hair loss. Ferritin- Low ferritin, an iron storage protein, has been linked to hair loss and slow down of hair growth. Iron and Total Iron Capacity (TIBC)- Low iron anemia has been linked to hair loss. Hyperandrogenism: Excessive male hormones (androgens): Total Testosterone (LC/MS), Free Testosterone (Equilibrium Ultrafiltration), DHEA-S, Dihydrotestosterone (DHT) Hypothyroidism and Hyperthyroidism: Thyroid Stimulation Hormone (TSH), Free Triidothyronine (Free T3)
This lab test panel includes main blood test makers involved in hair loss. Note: Some medications (listed below) may cause hair loss in men and women.
- Complete Blood Count (CBC)- Can detect potential low hemoglobin and infections that can lead to hair loss. Additionally, some CBC makers like MCV and MCH can detect B-12 and folate deficiency that affects hair growth.
- Ferritin- Low ferritin, an iron storage protein, has been linked to hair loss and slow down of hair growth.
- Iron and Total Iron Capacity (TIBC)- Low iron anemia has been linked to hair los
Hyperandrogenism: Excessive male hormones (androgens):
In healthy women, the ovaries and adrenal glands produce about 40% to 50% of the body's testosterone. Tumors of the ovaries and polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) can both cause too much androgen production. High testosterone can lead to high dihydrotesterone (DHT), known factor in male and female hair loss. Cushing disease is a problem with the pituitary gland that leads to excess amounts of corticosteroids and DHEA. In men with genetoc predisposition to hair loss, excess DHT may worsen this issue.
- Total Testosterone Test (LC/MS)
- Free Testosterone (Equilibrium Ultrafiltration)
- Dihydrotestosterone (DHT)
Hypothyroidism and Hyperthyroidism: Both low and high thyroid function are known factors in hair loss.
Some vitamin defficiencies can also cause hair loss in men and women with poor dietary habits, malabsortion, and illness. Please check our discounted vitamin tests.
Causes of Hair Loss
There are many causes of hair loss. Causes include certain diseases, chemical exposure, or drug use. The most common causes are:
- Androgenic Alopecia (AGA) - Male and Female Pattern Baldness, also known as “Androgenic Alopecia”, is the most common cause of hair loss and will affect up to 70% of men and 40% of women at some point in their lifetime. Men typically present with hairline recession at the temples and hair-loss on the upper surface of the head, also known as vertex balding. Women typically present diffuse, or scattered, thinning of the hair over the top of their scalps. People who suffer from this type of hair-loss have an underlying sensitivity to “hair follicle miniaturization” due to androgenic hormones.
- Poor Nutrition - Usually complete baldness is not seen in people with nutritional deficiencies, thinning of the hair is more common. Studies show that limited food intake and deficiencies in certain nutrients can cause thinning. These include deficiencies of biotin, amino-acids (protein), zinc, and iron. Consuming a diet high in animal fat, such in fast food, can also have a negative effect on hair loss.
- Stress - Stress has been shown to restrict the blood supply to capillaries which prevents oxygen and nutrients from reaching the hair follicle which can prevent hair growth. This effect is similar to having poor circulation.
- Medications - Some medications can cause hair loss, especially medications which affect hormone levels. These medications include contraceptive pills, some forms of hormone replacement therapy, anabolic steroids, and acne medication. Other medications which can have an effect on hair loss include those for blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease, and cholesterol.
What is Hair Loss (alopecia) from Medications?
Alopecia from drugs is a usually reversible nonscarring diffuse hair loss that occurs within days to weeks of starting a new medication or changing the dose.
Who Gets Drug-induced Alopecia?
The development of hair loss and severity depend both on the drug and individual predisposition. Some drugs cause hair loss in most patients receiving an appropriate dose. Other drugs are only occasionally responsible for hair loss.
What Types of Hair Loss Caused by Medications Are There?
There are two types of drug-induced hair loss:
Anagen effluvium – the shedding of actively growing hairs. Anagen effluvium is usually due to chemotherapy drugs and rarely with gold, colchicine or poisoning with arsenic, bismuth, thallium, or boric acid.
Telogen effluvium – the shedding of resting, or bulb hairs. Telogen effluvium is the mechanism of virtually all other medication-induced hair loss. The list of possible drug causes is very long and includes:
- Hormones — oral contraceptive pill (during/after/changing), hormone replacement therapy, androgens.
- Mood stabilizers and antidepressants — most, such as lithium 12–19%
- Others — some antipsychotics and anti-anxiety drugs
What are the Treatments for Hair Loss?
Several treatments are currently being used for hair loss as prescribed medications or over the counter (OTC) options.
Unlike Propecia, Rogaine doesn't come with all the negative side effects. This OTC treatment is a topical one rather than oral, so it is applied directly to the scalp as a means of combatting hair loss.
How does it work? Rogaine helps to increase the flow of blood to your scalp and hair follicles, preventing the follicles from shrinking--basically jump-starting them and getting them back into working order. The topical treatment is very unlikely to interact negatively with oral medications, so it should be fairly safe for your use.
Low dose oral minoxidil is showing some promise in growing hair in men and women.
Platelet-Rich Fibrin Matrix Injections
In 2014, a study was published in the journal Facial Plastic Surgery, detailing the results of using platelet-rich fibrin matrix as a means of treating hair loss.
Platelet-rich fibrin matrix (PFRM) is a mixture made by separating the red and white blood cells from the platelets and plasma. According to the Journal of the American Medical Association, " It is collected in a vacuum-sealed collection tube with a thixotropic separator gel, and the tube is centrifuged for 6 minutes at 1100 rpm. This process separates the red and white blood cells from the plasma and platelets, which are then transferred in a closed system to a second tube containing calcium chloride; it is this small amount of calcium that initiates the fibrinogen cleavage and the fibrin polymerization."
In the Facial Plastic Surgery study, 15 men and women with androgenetic alopecia were given injections of PFRM three times a month over the course of 1 year. During that time, their hair density indexes were monitored. After just 1 year, hair density indices increased significantly, meaning the patients' hair grew thicker and denser on the scalp.
Latanoprost is a medication used to help regrow eyelashes that have fallen out as a result of thyroid disorders or stress. However, studies have shown that the hair re-growth benefits extend beyond just the eyelashes, but the medication can even help to replenish hair that has been lost from the head.
A 2012 study published in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology found that latanoprost "significantly increased hair density (terminal and vellus hairs) at 24 weeks". Essentially, it could help to stimulate activity in the hair follicles, making it a potentially effective treatment for hair loss.
Ketoconazole (KCZ), originally used for seborrheic dermatitis, dandruff (in Nizoral shampoo) and as an anti-fungal medication, has also been found to be effective in stimulating new hair growth when applied topically. Even though the exact mechanism of topical KCZ for hair growth is not clearly understood, evidence suggests that ketoconazole acts as an androgen receptor suppressor.
Progesterone is a critical hormone produced by the female body. Progesterone acts as a precursor in the production of other vital hormones, such as estrogen and cortisone.
Topical progesterone-based hair restoration therapy is demonstrably effective in treating hair loss according to multiple studies. It's believed that progesterone acts by inhibiting an enzyme called 5-alpha reductase, the enzyme needed to convert testosterone into DHT. Specifically, progesterone will prevent DHT from forming in the first place by blocking the action of 5-alpha reductase).
Certain other studies have also suggested that progesterone could have a significant effect on human hair growth beyond its ability to prevent testosterone from converting into DHT.
Higher levels of estrogens during pregnancy are thought to be the reason for an increase in the ratio of hair follicles in the growing phase of the female hair growth cycle. It's also true that after giving birth (when progesterone levels decrease), these new follicles enter a resting phase that results in increased hair shedding and temporary hair thinning.
Spironolactone is a powerful androgen receptor blocker, and when applied topically can prevent DHT from attaching to both hair follicles and oil glands.
Spironolactone can effectively prevent DHT from binding to androgen receptors in your follicles and stimulating your body's immune response to attack your own hair. Although the reason for this isn't clearly understood, topical spironolactone is a scientifically verified way to stop DHT from causing a follicle destroying immune response.
Topical Combination Hair Loss Products
Compounding pharmacies make topical scalp solutions to treat hair loss containing a combination of several of the options mentioned above.
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