HairDX – The Hair Loss Test

HairDX – The Hair Loss Test
October 25th, 2011

HairDX hair loss test

Guess what? I finally got the HairDX hair loss test done. Are you ready to find out once and for all the cause of my hair loss???? About a year ago I wrote about HairDX, which is the genetic test to determine if you have hair loss caused by genetics (Androgenetic Alopecia) – it tells you if you have a high or low androgen sensitivity. At the time I wasn’t sure I wanted to do the test because of the cost, and I figured I already knew I had genetic hair loss due to my receding hairline, and the fact my hair keeps getting thinner and thinner each year.

• Why Get the HairDX Test?
So why did I take the HairDX hair loss test? A few months ago when I went to the hair restoration doctor in Los Angeles, that doctor looked at my hair under a magnifying video camera and said he didn’t see any miniaturized hair follicles on my head, except in the very front. So all of my hairs were more or less of equal diameter according to him. The hairs on the top, sides, and back of my head were all the same size, and there weren’t more than 10% of hairs that were thinner than others. This all indicated to him that I didn’t have female pattern baldness, although I had less hair on the top of my head than the back, which to me means I do have genetic balding. The doctor said I could take Propecia, and why would he offer a prescription for that if I didn’t have genetic hair loss? Anyway, after that appointment I was more confused than ever. Now I’ve had 10 doctors tell me they don’t think I fit the profile of having genetic hair loss, and one hair loss doctor who was 100% convinced I have a classic case of Androgenetic Alopecia.

I couldn’t take the confusion anymore, which is why I got the HairDX test done. Another option would have been a scalp biopsy, but HairDX is less invasive, and I have a feeling it would be cheaper than a scalp biopsy since my insurance sucks. HairDX is not covered under insurance (as far as I know). I also wanted to go on Propecia if the test came back positive for genetic hair loss, but otherwise I would not go on the medication. After more research, I read that HairDX is only 70% accurate, and I’ve also heard mixed reviews about the accuracy of scalp biopsies. So I don’t know what 70% accurate means exactly, but I will use the results as another piece of the puzzle, along with my personal observations of my hair, my research on hair loss, and the opinions of the doctors I’ve seen.

• The HairDX Test Process
I got the HairDX test done in Las Vegas at the hair loss clinic I went to earlier in the year. The test cost $199. What’s funny is the hair loss consultant didn’t think it was worth me getting it since it’s expensive and he hadn’t seen a lot of women get the test done, so he didn’t know much about it. I asked him what percentage of women that took the test came back with a result of “female hair loss” and he called his Los Angeles office, and the consultant there said 75%. That is what I expected. If you have hair loss already, chances are more than likely it’s genetic, so 75% sounds right. The people that don’t have a positive result are probably experiencing temporary hair loss (from going on or off the pill, low iron, post-pregnancy, stress, low thyroid, etc.), or they have Alopecia Areata, or another rare form of hair loss. And of course the test isn’t 100% accurate.

When I got to the hair loss clinic, a nurse swabbed my cheek a bunch of times, while telling me that I was wasting my money, and she didn’t believe in the test either. She recommended I crush up garlic and massage it into my scalp every day for a month. I haven’t tried that yet. As she was swabbing, I looked over my shoulder and read the instructions and it said to not drink water or brush your teeth an hour before the test. I had come straight from my house, where I had brushed my teeth right before I left. I probably should have gone and come back to be safe, but I didn’t. Then it said to air-dry the cheek swabs before putting them in the containers, but the nurse refused to do that. Those two things made me super worried the test would come back wrong, but in the end I did get my results, so I can only hope that two issues didn’t change the results (I doubt it). So a few cheek swabs is all that’s needed to perform the HairDX test. Next the clinic mailed the swabs to the HairDX lab and the results come back a few weeks later – I think it was three weeks later.

• My HairDX Hair Loss Test Results
After the test, I was 99% sure it would come back positive for genetic hair loss (Androgenetic Alopecia). Honestly I think the first 10 doctors I saw were all wrong – every single one of them. And the hair loss expert in Los Angeles that has treated tens of thousands of patients, and who looked at a magnified view of my scalp? I think he was wrong too – I am convinced my hair loss is genetic (and maybe made worse by other factors). My hair strands are definitely skinnier than they were 10 years ago – my guess is they must have all equally shrunk in diameter, which is why individual strands don’t look thinner than others (except in the front).

The results are in…..I have genetic hair loss! Boohoo:(  I got the results on the phone and asked them to send me a copy of the results but they haven’t arrived. When I get them I will update this post with more specifics. I believe I was told I have a 70% chance of developing hair loss (but hello, I’ve had hair loss for 10 years now.) Then there’s something called a CAG score, and mine was a 21. A score under 23.5 means my genetics suck and I am
destined for baldness, but it also means I am a great candidate for Propecia/Finasteride to treat my hair loss. However, HairDX also claims women that have the low CAG score could also benefit from Spironolactone, and that did nothing for me at all. What the hell??? Another reason I was confused about whether or not I have genetic hair loss is because nothing I’ve tried to treat it has worked – I feel like I am immune to Rogaine and Spironolactone.

Also, according to the HairDX.com website, 50% of women will develop hair loss by the age of 60, and they attribute this hair loss to Androgenetic Alopecia. I have read similar statistics, but I’ve always wondered if 50% of women develop Androgenetic Alopecia, or if their hair loss is just part of the natural aging process, or due to declining hormones. So if HairDX claims that 50% of women have genetic hair loss, and no one’s going to get the HairDX test unless they already have noticeable hair loss, then it makes sense that 75% of women that get the test come back positive for genetic hair loss.

• My Next Step…Propecia
I just found a doctor to prescribe Finasteride for me. I actually managed to get a prescription for generic Proscar, which is 5mg Finasteride (Propecia is 1mg Finasteride), so I will cut the Proscar into 4 parts and take one part each day. Propecia is expensive (around $70 a month) but my Proscar prescription was $9 for a 3 month supply! Awesome! I just turned 37 and I’m not planning on having kids, and I’m on the pill (Yasmin). Doctors will only consider prescribing women Propecia if they aren’t planning on getting pregnant, and if they’re on the pill, and even then most don’t want women taking it because it can cause birth defects in male babies. If you plan on having kids, you will need to get off Propecia first, and when you do, all of the hair that it helped keep on your head will eventually fall right back out:( 

HairDX claims women with test results like mine will see an excellent response to Propecia. I’m not holding my breath. Nothing I’ve tried has helped my hair loss, so I honestly expect Propecia won’t work for me either. I have heard of some women that have good results with Propecia, but not many. That doesn’t make sense, if 75% of women that take the HairDX test end up with the same results as me, yet there are so few women that report positive results from Propecia. The reason I’m trying Propecia is that I just need to know if it will work. If it doesn’t work, I will be out of options and will have to accept that I will end up wearing hair for the second half of my life, and that totally sucks!!!!!!! And Propecia is sort of like Rogaine in that it helps keep your hair on your head, but it’s less likely to grow new hair. Again that sucks because I’m not happy with the amount of hair on my head. So I am wishing I tried Propecia two years ago when I had a lot more hair (but then I wasn’t as desperate to try Propecia). Since my hair sheds way too much, I am hoping Propecia will slow down the shedding, and if it does, it will look like I have more hair. We’ll see what happens! While side effects from Propecia aren’t that common, I am sure I will have some, and I worry it will cause something horrible like cancer, but the evidence of that is mixed.

• HairDX – Is The Hair Loss Test Worth It?
If you have $200 to spare, I would recommend the HairDX test – just go to HairDX.com and find a doctor near you that does the test. Sooo many women are diagnosed with Telogen Effluvium when they really have Androgenetic Alopecia, and HairDX will help you find the real answers. I wouldn’t use HairDX as your sole diagnostic tool for determining the cause of your hair loss, but it’s one tool. It only tells you if you have Androgenetic Alopecia or not (it doesn’t tell you if your hair loss is caused by Telogen Effluvium, Alopecia Areata, or one of the other less common types of hair loss). Finally, I know now I have Androgenetic Alopecia, but I still can’t rule out having other factors that are making it even worse (stress, low iron, low thyroid, etc.) Have you had the HairDX hair loss test, or would you consider it?

*Click Here To Get Hair Loss Hell Updates Via Email!



Related posts:

  1. Is Genetics The Cause Of Your Hair Loss?
  2. Another Dermatologist Visit For Hair Loss
  3. Hair Loss Treatment Update
  4. Back To The Hair Loss Doctor
Tags: Categories: Female Hair Loss

14 ResponsesLeave a comment
  • Dana
    October 26, 2011 at 6:38 am
    Reply

    I had the scalp biopsy to determine about my LPP. My dermatologist was almost positive I had it, and the test confirmed it (allegedly). I’ve read things about how the test can be inaccurate or interpreted in different ways, but I’m inclined to believe my diagnosis. I’m going to ask about Propecia for me. It was never mentioned. I have been pleased with my minoxidil/topical steroid treatment and the plaquenil. I’m hoping that at my appt in November, I will be considered “burned out” and in remission and perhaps either half or eliminate my plaquenil entirely.

    I’m sorry for your genetic diagnosis. At least you know now. The more I read your blog, the more surprised I am about the number of women who deal with this. I’m 43 and I’ve only ever personally known one woman who was essentially bald like a man – she wore wigs constantly – in my life. My mom lost her hair – but from chemo – but in the past year, my best friend got Hashimoto’s disease and I’ve got LPP and we are both losing our hair. Hers is coming out from all over, thinning all over her head. She is so lucky, her hair was SO THICK. She complains, but no one but her hairstylist and she even notice – now. I hope for her that in a few years she’s not on your blog, desperate for answers. :(

    Thanks again for your blog.

    • Jeni - Hair Loss Hell
      October 26, 2011 at 2:08 pm
      Reply

      Dana,
      It just dawned on me that LPP is another type of hair loss that wouldn’t show up on a HairDX test, so that’s where a scalp biopsy would be more useful than the genetic testing. I don’t think Propecia would help with LPP because Propecia is for hormonal/genetic hair loss only. I think what you’re doing is good if it’s helping control the hair loss.

      Hashimoto’s is really common, and I have about 100 symptoms of it, and the doctor said I was borderline Hypothyroid (but it was probably not Hashimoto’s). So I had been focusing on that for the past few years, but nothing I did helped my hair. Hopefully once your friend gets on the right dose of medication it will help her hair (although Synthroid can sometimes cause hair loss, which is why a lot of people try the “natural” alternatives – Erfa, Armour, etc.)

  • Kris
    October 26, 2011 at 3:23 pm
    Reply

    Oh my gosh!! This blog is awesome! Thanks so much for writing. I enjoyed reading all 5 pages of it lol. I too am a HL sufferer and I am 34. I had long curly hair too..the kind that would give you a headache if you wore it up all day. What is it with curly hair falling out when women get older? I found your blog from crowned beautiful. I have yet to wear supplemental hair and I just visit her website daily longing to be a success story. I have no idea why I have HL, but I am petrified that I have passed this on to my little daughter. UGH!

    • Jeni - Hair Loss Hell
      October 26, 2011 at 11:04 pm
      Reply

      Hi Kris,
      Thanks for coming to my site. I think the curly hair/hair loss thing may be a hormonal thing. My hair didn’t really get curly until I was 12 or 13 (puberty), and I think the same hormones/genetics that gave me an afro later on have made all my hair fall out when my hormones took another shift! That’s just a theory. Lots of women with curly hair don’t end up with it thinning, though. I hope your daughter will be saved from our fate (and by the time she’s older I think there will be a cure). I visit Crowned Beautiful all the time, and will start wearing hair soon I think:(

  • Dana
    October 27, 2011 at 6:25 am
    Reply

    One more thing – that scalp biopsy was PAINFUL. Not when they did it, but after. Essentially it’s a “hole punch” of your head, right down to the skull. Then they stitch it up and it feels all “swampy” and “squishy”, a VERY strange sensation that I am told is the bleeding between the scalp and the skull. All was fine until the numbing agent wore off and then every time I made and expression, smiled, raised my eyebrows, etc, it hurt like hell. I told my mom that I was coming to an understanding of how bad a face lift must hurt. Plastic surgery scares me!!

    Anyway, scalp biopsy = not fun. I still have a dent/scar where the tissue was removed. It’s funny that they have to CAUSE a bald patch to SOLVE the bald patches! :)

    Very strange how common Hashimoto’s is when I had never heard of it until my friend got it. After researching it, I learned how common it was. The older I get, the more grateful I am for my health. So much can go wrong.

  • Kris
    October 31, 2011 at 4:43 am
    Reply

    Jeni-
    I have a new person for you to interview like you did for the Crowned Beautiful website. How about http://www.personalhairtherapy.com? Her hair looks great in the pictures…but I am confused as to what she suses to actually keep the hair attached.

    • Jeni - Hair Loss Hell
      October 31, 2011 at 6:21 pm
      Reply

      Thanks. She is in the Women’s Hair Loss Project community too – http://community.womenshairlossproject.com. I love her blonde hair! I wish I could pull off being blonde. I’m pretty sure she bonds her hair just like Susan from Crowned Beautiful. But on her site I see you can also order hair that comes with clips that attach to your bio hair. When I get a hair piece I’m going to start with clips, before I commit to bonding. I know people are happy ordering hair through her site, or going through the training course through Susan.

  • Kris
    November 1, 2011 at 12:25 pm
    Reply

    Thanks for the Women’s hairloss project website. I had no idea it existed. I wish I could pull off blonde too..but there is no way…blonde seems to blend better with the scalp. I am in a similar stage as you. I think I will start with clips as well..because I am afraid of looking at myself with a portion of my head shaved. However, bonding seems to be more realistic and nice to not have to think about your thin hair everyday. Who are you thinking you will go with? Susan, Katkat, or AmberC? I saw that they all have their own personal sites…who do we know who to go with? Also, I need cheap consultations and cheap hair that looks awesome…lol Somehow I don’t think that can happen. I am pretty sure HH is really expensive..especially if we want it to look realistic. Hope you don’t feel like I am stalking you…thanks! Kris

    • Jeni - Hair Loss Hell
      November 1, 2011 at 3:05 pm
      Reply

      I don’t think you can go wrong with choosing any of those women to help you. I need something as cheap as possible too since I don’t have any money, so my plan was to go with hairdirect.com and try to pick something out myself. The website helps you, and they assign you a hair consultant, but it seems so complicated, so I wish I could afford to pay extra for even more help. Also, since I’m really bad at doing my own hair, I have a list of places in my town that do hair replacement too, so I might check those out, but I am sure they cost even more than Hair Direct. I’ve found places online that sell realistic looking human hair wigs for only like $300, and there are nice looking wigs on Ebay too, but I haven’t ordered anything yet. I also have a list of high-end wig places in LA I was going to visit, but I think a hair piece would look more realistic. I keep putting this whole thing off!

  • D.
    November 12, 2011 at 1:26 pm
    Reply

    I had the Hair Dx test too and my result was 25.5 and 26 – but I definitely have AGA pattern! They state that 90% of women with that test result don’t lose their hair. Guess I’m one of the unlucky 10%! Now I’m bummed since I’m still gonna lose my hair – and propecia and spiro probably aren’t gonna make a lick of difference. :(

    • Jeni - Hair Loss Hell
      November 12, 2011 at 3:45 pm
      Reply

      D., What did the doctor say that ran the test for you? What have other doctors said about the cause of your hair loss? I know the test isn’t 100% accurate, but if your hair loss results said it was probably not genetic, there’s still a chance your can come back if the contributing factors are corrected. I don’t know what your hair looks like, but TE and AGA look very similar sometimes.

  • Marita
    January 6, 2012 at 8:08 am
    Reply

    Hi Jeni, first of all, this blogs already helped me by making me feel not alone.
    As a short introduction I´m mexican, I´ve been living in the US for 5 months as an Au Pair and I´m only 24.
    My relationship whit my hair has always been bad, even when I was 5 I hated my hair. My hair is not straight not curly, I has a lot of waves and frizz a lot, and when I was younger, I used to have a lot. So my mom use to cut my hair very often and only allowed me to grow my hair until I was 7.
    I remember at the age of 7, my hair always frizz, even in a ponytail, I hated my hair! And I noticed since a very early age that I loss a lot of hair, but it was normal, I have a lot and very thick one.
    By the age of 12 I start to wear a ponytail everyday of my life with some chemicals like gels, and mousse, so the top of my hair was straigth. My mom used to tell me to stop doing it, that I´ll be bald! By the age of 18-20 I stop doing the ponytail everyday but I always put mousse on my hair. I think I only let my hair going completely natural on sundays. I been awful with my hair. I used to washed it every day. I regret so much.
    My hair always fall out, but as I said, I thought it was normal. A couple of years ago, I noticed that I had less hair than when I was 15, but… nothing to worry about, you know? I was 22, no one goes real bald at that age. It never really worried me. I´ve never dye my hair, only ironed a few times, nothing crazy. I´ve always been very sensitive though. I felt my scalp burn when been iron, I would felt like been pulled easily… I dont know.
    Then, 5 months ago I came to live here, I´m an Au Pair, and by the second month I start to notice that I was loosing much more hair than normal. I started to pay attention to the signs, I know that some hair loss is normal, but the amount of hair I loss every day is insane! In the bathroom, in the pillows, even if I touch my hair, some hairs will fall out.
    I went to the mirror and I was so scared when I notice my receding hairline, and I looked at my temples, and I´m just so scared!
    I talked whit my host mom, whit my boyfriend, whit my familiy and everyone says its normal, you look the same, you are crazy. I know that I´m not. I can tell the difference, I dont even want to brush my hair anymore, or use shampoo!
    So, I have the problem that America is not like Mexico, in Mexico we have very good doctors, but the prices are lot cheaper. And I´m here as an Au Pair, I dont have that much money to go to a real good doctor. So my first decicion was a bad one. A month and a half ago I went to Boesleys, just because it was free and after doing a lot of search online. I went and they put me a magnifying glass on my head. They told me I do have a receding hair line, I´m candidate for the transplant (which I´m so not interested) and to start using Rogaine. I´ve doing it, but my hair just keep falling out even more (I heard is normal but freak me out!) So I stop using it, because, I think the wise thing to do is going to a doctor. I´m going next wednesday and I´m very anxious.
    For all I know, and all the causes for hair loss in women, I could fit in several of them, so I want a evaluation. My dad is bad, so it could be a hereditary one, but there are no bald women in the family. My grandma has some thyroid problems, but never went bald. I´m under stress, but I´ve been under stress before. I took Yasmine for 2 and a half years as a birthcontrol and stop it when I come here, and now my period is also a mess, so it could be hormonal too. And finally, it could be traction alopecia too because of all the bad things I have done whit my hair.
    I dont look bald, I still have hair, still looks good. I dont see any bald spot yet, but my hairline is way back than before, and the temples are going thinner and I´m just to scared in the bathroom because of the amount of hair Im loosing!!
    It also make me feel stupid that everyone I talked about this subject thinks Im crazy. But it really breaks my heart see the hair on the tube, and the sink, and pillows! It´s just terrible! I try to think that are things faaar way worst than loosing hair, that maybe, some product will work for me and that hopefully I dont look ugly if I shave my hair. I´m just too streess and anxius about all this!

  • D
    February 22, 2012 at 7:26 pm
    Reply

    Jeni,
    Sorry it took me so long to reply to your questions! The doc didn’t know what to make of my negative Hair Dx results since I obviously have AGA. I wish it was just TE but it isn’t. My mom has suffered with AGA since age 25 and is nearly bald on top now. What this tells me is that the CAG repeats they test for on the Hair Dx test is not the only gene which predisposes to AGA. Researchers now say there is a gene on chromosome 20 which encodes for hair loss too. So I guess I have that gene or some other undiscovered gene that causes hair loss :(

  • Jennifer
    July 24, 2012 at 8:03 pm
    Reply

    So, now I am curious… Did you try the crushed garlic?

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