What Happens At A Hair Loss Consultation
The Initial Appointment Explained – Hair Loss Consultation
All new hair loss patients first need to book an initial hair loss consultation. This appointment is to find out what’s wrong with your hair or scalp and what to do about it. The kinds of questions I ask are generally things such as:
- Timeline of your hair loss – when did it start, how has it progressed since, what have you tried so far to attempt to resolve it, what has helped, what has not
- Your general health – medical conditions you suffer from that your GP treats such as hypertension, hypothyroidism, heart conditions, nerve conditions, auto-immune conditions
- Unusual health symptoms – strange or unusual symptoms not treated by your GP, such as tiredness, dizziness, palpitations
- Recent health changes – short-term illnesses, viruses, short periods of acute illness, surgery, accidents
- Medications – long or short term medications used within the last 12 months
- Supplements – vitamins, minerals, herbs, pills or potions you take regularly or recently
- Diet – what do you eat, how often you eat, any special eating plan, weight loss plan or food exclusion plan
- Digestion – bloating, wind, indigestion, IBS, constipation
- Family History – genetic links or any other family members who have been affected by the same condition.
- Nails – are your nails weak, pitted, ridged
- Stress – major incidences or chronic stress during the time period that is relevant to your complaint
- Blood tests – it is really useful to bring a copy of any recent blood tests with you to your hair loss consultation, even if they are all normal. This is most relevant in hair loss complaints. You can read more about which blood tests are most helpful further down this page under diagnostic tests.
The more talkative and forthcoming you are during your hair loss consultation, the easier it is to give an accurate diagnosis and to get treatment recommendations right.
Your Diagnosis, Cause and Plan of Action
By the end of most hair loss consultations, I will be able to tell you what hair loss or scalp problem is and what has caused it. This information will follow with what you can do, should do or need to do about it or your ‘plan of action’.
Recommendations may include lifestyle or habit changes, diet changes, supplement recommendations, topical treatments, scalp treatments, clinic scalp or hair treatments, laser treatment and referrals to other specialists.
Your plan of action may take the form of:
- Suggestion A, B, or C
- Suggestion A and B and C
- Suggestion A then B then C
- These are the options that are available to you: explanation A,B,C
- Even if your condition is not treatable or curable there are always suggestions for ‘best form of management for improvement in quality of life’.
Please note: Recommendations, suggestions and your plan of action are down to you to act on and execute. You are not obliged to buy anything suggested or take any of the advice given.
When you pay a consultation fee, you are buying 24 + years of experience not a 1 hour appointment. Recommendations are based on years of seeing and knowing what works. I love to work with enthusiastic people and am incredibly rewarded by seeing hair loss or scalp conditions improve or disappear.
Hair Loss Consultation Diagnostic Tests
In some cases it is useful to carry out a trichogram (hair count) or examine hair roots. Hair samples are epilated (pulled) from the scalp to examine under a high power microscope and to asses the number of hairs in each hair cycle in a given sample.
Visual and Trichoscope Examination
Photo-magnification is useful to see the first signs of new hair growth in Alopecia Areata. Initial hair growth is often very light and hard to see with the naked eye.
This tool is not used for ‘showmanship’ as in many hair loss clinics and appointment time isn’t wasted demonstrating your hair at 50x magnification if it is not necessary.
Blood tests are by far the most useful and necessary diagnostic test in hair loss cases. When correctly interpreted, blood tests should show what is and isn’t causing your hair loss.
Hair loss is a symptom of a health complaint, so your GP should be both interested and accommodating in carrying out blood tests for the most common hair loss causes.
However, with the UK’s overstretched NHS budget and our overstressed GP services, this may not be the case. If you can get an appointment with your GP please ask for the following:
- B12 & Folate
- TSH (Thyroid Stimulating Hormone)
- Vitamin D (particularly if dark skinned)
- Full Blood Count (only available as a venous collection test, not fingerpick)
If you think your hair loss may be androgenetic (women) please also ask for a Serum Testosterone test.
What If You Are Not Able To Get Blood Tests?
Ideally your GP should carry out your blood tests, particularly as they may reveal a health complaint that needs medical treatment. If you do not have a GP, time to visit your practice or are refused blood tests there are other options.
You post the sample to a lab the same day as collection, the results are processed and a GP adds comments before sending you a link within a day or so.
This service is also excellent to help you maintain healthy bloods without bothering your GP or unnecessarily adding to the NHS budget.
Blood Test Results
Please try and bring a printed copy of test results with you to your appointment. This is an essential part of your hair loss consultation. Ninety percent of women have test results in the ‘normal’ range but may fall only just slightly within this.
You may think there is nothing that can improve your hair because your bloods are within normal range but they may not be Optimum for hair growth.
In most cases I can help you achieve optimum and give your hair the best chance of recovery.