Measuring DHT not useful for most men and women
Androgenetic alopecia is one of the most common types of hair loss. In men, it is known as male pattern balding and in women it is known as female pattern hair loss.
The exact cause remains to be worked out but it is thought that in those affected genetic factors make the hair follicles more sensitive to the hormone dihydrotestosterone. Such sensitivity causes those hair follicles to get skinnier and skinnier with time - a phenomenon which is called 'miniaturization'
Measuring DHT : A good idea or not?
If DHT is so important, a common question is whether doing a blood test for DHT has any value in the evaluation and management of androgenetic alopecia.
A recent study set out to evaluate the usefulness of DHT level in patients with androgenetic alopecia. The study comprised 49 individuals, including 9 men and 19 women with androgenetic alopecia. The control group consisted of 17 healthy women and 4 men without hair loss.
What were the results of the study?
All in all, increased serum concentrations of DHT were observed in both patients with androgenetic alopecia and in those without. More importantly, the differences in mean values of DHT were not significant according to two groups and increased serum concentrations of DHT were not correlated more severe hair loss.
What are the conclusion of this study?
Although DHT plays an important role in the pathogenesis of androgenetic alopecia, asking patients to do a blood test is not useful for most patients.
Urysiak-Czubatka I et al. Assessment of the usefulness of dihydrotestosterone in the diagnostics of patients with androgenetic alopecia. Postepy Dermatol Alergol. 2014 Aug;31(4):207-15. doi: 10.5114/pdia.2014.40925. Epub 2014 Sep 8.
Dr. Jeff Donovan is a Canadian and US board certified dermatologist specializing exclusively in hair loss. To schedule a consultation, please call the Vancouver office at 604.283.9299