Can I Have Chromosome Testing for Genetic Hair Loss?'

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Question: Hello, My father went bald in his twenties. His first wife has several brothers and all went bald in their twenties. My father and his first wife had 4 sons and all went bald in their early twenties! I am his daughter, but my mother has no apparent baldness showing in her 2 sons or her father.

However, I would like to inquire about a genetic test on my X chromosome. Is it possible to do this? What would the costs be? Is it only a swab that you would need? Thanks and looking forward to hearing from you.

X ChromosomeAnswer: Hi, Kate. Although there are a number of home-use kits being marketed for these types of tests, unfortunately genetic hair loss is not quite so easy to predict.

Female Pattern Hair Loss is polygenic, meaning there are several different genes involved. Testing positive for one gene does not necessarily mean you will express the hair loss trait. Many people can be carriers of androgenetic alopecia (aka Male Pattern Baldness and Female Pattern Hair Loss) genes yet not experience any of the associated hairloss. Because of this, a strong family hair loss trait does not necessarily mean you are guaranteed to lose your hair - which is especially true of women.

Finding out whether or not you are a carrier of any of the relevant genes is not actually that helpful as you cannot actually do anything about it until the trait expresses itself. So, basically, until you actually start to experience thinning hair there is little you can do, other than look after your health and diet in order to keep your hair in a good, well-nourished condition. As genetics are the basic underlying reason for female hair loss, whilst these general wellness steps can help to promote strong, vital hair, they cannot stop the effects of DHT, the hormone byproduct responsible for causing androgenic alopecia.

With this type of hereditary condition the best thing to do is firstly try not to worry about it as stress and anxiety can actively trigger female hair loss in those with a genetic predisposition. Secondly, should you start to notice that you are losing more hair than normal or if your parting appears wider than normal, visit a hair loss specialist for a professional diagnosis. They will be able to identify your condition, level and pattern of shedding and recommend a personalised hair loss treatment plan, aided by growth boosters, to stabilise your hair fall and encourage regrowth, even from the earliest stages.

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