Is Genetics The Cause Of Your Hair Loss?

Is Genetics The Cause Of Your Hair Loss?
September 19th, 2010

genetic hair lossThere are several causes of hair loss in women and men – is your hair loss due to genetics? Do you have pattern hair loss – Androgenetic Alopecia? Many people with overall hair thinning struggle for years trying to determine if their hair loss is due to something temporary (Telogen Effluvium) or due to genetics (Androgenetic Alopecia). There’s now a genetic test for hair loss!

Genetic Test For Hair Loss
There’s a company called HairDX that does genetic testing to predict whether or not you will experience genetic hair loss, and how severe it will be. You can do the test at any time - before you even notice any hair loss, or as a diagnostic test to determine if your current thinning is due to genetics. For many people, especially women, they can go for years not knowing if they are experiencing chronic “temporary” hair loss, or if they in fact have pattern hair loss, an inherited trait.

For the past 8 years, I’ve been convinced I had chronic Telogen Effluvium from low iron, an underactive thyroid, poor nutrition, etc., because I was shedding a lot of hairs daily, and I didn’t show any signs of genetic hair loss (miniaturized hairs). It wasn’t until this year that I started to see the signs of Androgenetic Alopecia – miniaturized hairs, and a receding hairline. And because both of my parents have thinning hair, I’m now 99% certain I have genetic hair loss.

I haven’t done the HairDX genetic test, and I’m not sure if I will or not. The test itself is simple – on the HairDX website, you find a doctor in your area, and the doctor does a simple cheek swab, which gets sent to HairDX for analysis. You then receive a score that tells you your likelihood of developing genetic hair loss, and how severe it will likely be. If you already have hair loss, and the test comes back positive as being predisposed to genetic hair loss, then you will know that genetics are the cause of your hair loss (or at least part of the cause).

Should You Do The Genetic Hair Loss Test?
From the research I’ve done, I believe the HairDX test is accurate. You might want to do your own research about genetic testing to learn more about it. Why haven’t I done the HairDX test yet? I’m scared to death to find out the results! I’m 99% sure I have genetic hair loss, but I’m afraid to find out how severe it will be in the future. I might do the test one day, but I’m too scared right now. However, I think the test is a great tool for anyone that is trying to determine the cause of their hair thinning. Scalp biopsies done by Dermatologists are one way to determine the cause of hair loss, but I’ve read so many varying reports of their accuracy, and different pathologists and doctors will read the same results differently. The best diagnostic approach would be to do a scalp biopsy, plus the HairDX test. I haven’t done a scalp biopsy either because no Dermatologist has been willing to do one on me, and I don’t want to waste the money, and go through the pain, if the results will be wrong.

The HairDX test only predicts your likelihood of developing Androgenetic Alopecia – it doesn’t test any other types of hair loss like Alopecia Areata, traction Alopecia, or scarring Alopecia.

HairDX cost
The cost of the test is between $150 and $250, depending on what your doctor charges you.

Do you want to know if you have the balding gene???
The theory behind genetic testing is that if you are going to experience genetic hair loss, it’s better to be proactive and start treatment as soon as possible because it’s easier to prevent hair loss, rather than try to reverse it. Plus you will know the correct treatments to do (I will talk about hair loss treatments in other posts). If I had a thick, full head of hair, I wouldn’t bother with the testing. But at the first signs of thinning, if I wasn’t scared, I would do the test. Tell me – do you want to know if you have genetic hair loss, or will develop it in the future???

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3 ResponsesLeave a comment
  • B.
    September 19, 2010 at 1:49 pm
    Reply

    If my hair doesn’t stop shedding in a couple of months, I am going to get this test done. I am pretty sure I have TE due to undereating and all the weight I lost, but I would also like to know if I’m predisposed to genetic hair loss. If I am, I can hopefully take action now to prevent it from worsening.

  • Jeni - Hair Loss Hell
    September 20, 2010 at 2:35 am
    Reply

    B.,
    You are braver than I am! One thing I didn’t think of when I was writing about the genetic testing is that at least 50% of women will experience thinning hair eventually – in their 50s, 60s, 70s, etc. So I wonder if the test would come back positive for 50% of women. If the test came back positive, but on the low end, then maybe you could assume your hair would eventually thin a little, but maybe not til you’re much older. If it came back as really bad, then I guess you could assume you’d start thinning earlier (like me in my 30s). I just worry the test would scare people unnecessarily. For example, tons of women see their hair thin somewhat from genetics in their 50s, but it’s not enough to really worry about for most of them, because it still looks fine.

    • B.
      September 20, 2010 at 2:47 am
      Reply

      Jeni,

      I worry about the same thing. I would assume the test would show severity. On the Hair DX site it says something along the lines of only 2.3% of women with a score lower than 13 did not develop AA. I plan on calling the clinic in my area that has the test and asking them this question. Will let you know what I find out.

      Looking at my family history, AA doesn’t appear anywhere. I think for most women hair gets thinner with age due to menopause and the drop in estrogen production. I know very few middle aged and older women who have the same hair that they did at 25. I think it’s just a part of getting older.

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