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?