Whether you’d like to admit it or not, your appearance has a great effect on your everyday life. If your hair starts thinning or balding noticeably, you may find yourself uneasy in public and lacking confidence. Thankfully, there is a way to predict hair loss regardless of your gender and get treatment before your condition worsens.
The Cause of Hair Loss
Hair loss can happen for a variety or combination of reasons, but it holds a close link to your inherited genes. In fact, your hair loss can come from genes on both sides of your family, resulting in a hair situation that is hard to predict.
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One important hormone does play a big role in the condition, however, and that hormone is dihydrotestosterone (DHT). DHT actually aids in the development of men’s sex organs but is found in smaller amounts in women.
According to Dr. Alan J. Bauman, who founded Bauman Medical, hair loss occurs due to a heightened sensitivity to DHT, not directly because of the hormone. One of the main reasons for this extra sensitivity is your genes. Since Bauman attests that around 200 genes affect your hair growth, you can see why pinpointing the exact combination for hair loss proves so difficult.
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A Test for Baldness
Despite the difficulty, researchers have found a way to predict hair loss. Doctors can perform a genetic test on both men and women, since the test is designed to identify people with a tendency for androgen alopecia. Most women experience hair loss because of this condition.
Doctors perform this test, called HairDX, by simply swabbing the inside of the cheek. They then use the DNA from the test to predict your propensity for baldness. According to Men’s Health, if a man tests positive with this genetic test, he will have a 6 in 10 chance of going bald before age 40.
HairDX can also test for a genetic variant. Eighty-five percent of men with the variant will not go bald by age 40, helping these men rest more easily. While the test is not certain, you can get a good idea of your genetic disposition by taking the test, no matter your gender.
If you do test positive, you can start treatment immediately, typically with Propecia (for men only) or Rogaine. These treatments are topical and may slow down the hair loss or encourage new growth. If you stop these treatments, the hair loss will continue. These two medications are the only FDA-approved treatments for alopecia.