Which medical specialist should I see about my hair loss?
On average, we tend to lose 50 to 100 hairs a day as part of the normal hair growth cycle, but what happens if you start to see marked hair shedding, notice your hair line is receding or discover a bald patch has formed on your scalp. Hair loss can be devastating and knowing who to turn to can be fundamental to either achieving successful treatment or learning to cope with an ongoing problem.
Hair loss can be caused by a number of different factors and underlying health conditions so, as a result, the diagnosis and management of your hair loss may require a particular medical specialty. Searching online for a ‘hair loss expert’ can bring up a bewildering number of individual hair loss specialist practitioners and clinics, some of whom may be self-appointed experts. Here’s a guide to the medical specialties that deal with hair loss:
A dermatologist is a medical doctor that has specialised in the diagnosis and treatment of all conditions relating to the skin, hair and nails. Their initial training in general medicine gives them experience in all other medical specialties and after qualification they specialise in dermatology training and research before being awarded a Certificate of Completion of Specialist Training (CCST).
The scope for the dermatologist is huge in that there are over 2000 skin diseases, affecting men, women and children of all ages, although there are a few conditions, such as acne, eczema or skin cancer that are more commonly seen and treated. Hair loss is also a very prevalent condition and seeing a dermatologist such as Dr David Fenton who has spent many years treating and researching alopecia conditions can be key to successful management of your condition.
A dermatologist can carry out a wide variety of investigations and then provide medical treatment for your alopecia.
Hormonal imbalances can often result in hair loss, so an endocrinologist – a doctor that has specialised in endocrinology which is the study of the organs that release hormones – can provide treatment aimed at restoring hormonal balance, which should resolve the accompanying hair loss.
Female hair loss can be related to a number of underlying health conditions. As gynaecologists are a key part of women’s healthcare they will often be providing diagnosis, treatment and management of these conditions, which will often resolve the accompanying hair loss.
Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) is of particular note, as research shows that 67% of women suffering from alopecia have PCOS. However, gynaecologists can also help with the management of lifestyle and diet factors that might be a causal factor or address hair loss as a result of birth control medication. If it is suspected that you are suffering from PCOS, your gynaecologist may refer you to an endocrinologist to confirm the diagnosis of PCOS.
The first step should always be to see your GP to ask advice and medical assessment and, if necessary, they should refer you to the relevant medical specialist, but if they are unsure about who to recommend then a recognised national consultant expert such as Dr David Fenton is the next step. Book a consultation with Dr David Fenton’s Harley Street Hair Loss Clinic by calling 020 7580 8356.
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“I just want to say thank you to Dr David Fenton (and his team!) for the exceptional care and kindness shown to my son over the last 18 months. His support also to an anxious mother has been tremendous”