Are you the one suffering from patchy baldness? In this article, we are going to brief you about alopecia areata, its causes, symptoms and treatment.
What does Alopecia mean?
An autoimmune disorder, Alopecia areata causes your hair to fall out, often clumping the size and shape of a quarter.
The amount of hair loss experienced by everyone is different. Some people might lose only a few strands, while others might lose a lot. Sometimes, your hair grows back but falls out again later.
There are different types of alopecia. Alopecia areata is one of the most common in its main form, but there are other, more rare types:
- Alopecia areata totalis means that you have lost all the hair on your head.
- Alopecia areata Universalis is the loss of your hair over your entire body.
- Diffuse alopecia areata is a sudden hair thinning rather than lost patches.
- Ophiasis alopecia areata causes hair to lose in a band shape around the sides and back of your head.
What are the symptoms of alopecia areata?
1) Hair loss is the main symptom of alopecia areata. On the scalp, hair usually falls out in small patches. These hair patches are often several centimetres or less.
2) Hair loss may also occur on other parts of the face, such as the eyebrows, eyelashes, and beard, as well as other parts of the human body.
3) For starters, you might first notice clumps of hair on your pillow or in the shower. If these spots are on the back of your head, someone may even bring them to your attention.
4) However, other medical conditions might also cause hair to fall out in a similar pattern. Hair loss alone is not used to diagnose alopecia areata.
5) In severe conditions, some people may also experience more extensive hair loss. This is usually an indication of another type of alopecia.
6) The hair loss issue that is associated with alopecia areata is unpredictable. Your hair may grow back to normal at any time and then may fall out again. The extent of hair loss and regrowth of the same varies greatly from person to person.
What are the causes of alopecia areata?
- As mentioned above, Alopecia areata is also known as 'autoimmune disease'. This is one of those annoying conditions where the affected person's body's immune system, which usually fights off the harmful bacteria and viruses, accidentally attacks itself.
- So all the tiny cells in the immune system known as T cells, gather around the base of a hair follicle and try to kill it. Eventually, this leads our hair to fall out. But at some point, our immune attacking ability must come to an end and the hair grows back to normal.
- A recent illness like a viral infection or certain medications for other medical conditions can trigger Alopecia areata.
- It has also been observed that some people can link the onset of their alopecia to a stressful life event, while many can't.
- Sometimes it seems to run in the genes of families and it has been known to come on in twins at the same time.
If you are suffering from alopecia areata you also have a slightly higher-than-average chance of developing other autoimmune diseases like thyroid disorders, pernicious anaemia and vitiligo. Your doctor might want to check for these if there are any signs of them along with the hair loss.
Alopecia areata in males:
Even though alopecia areata occurs in both men and women, the loss of hair is likely to be more significant in men. Men might experience hair loss in their facial hair, as well as their scalp, chest, and back hair because they are also more likely to have a family history of the hair loss condition.
When compared to male-pattern baldness, which is a gradual thinning of hair all over, hair loss from this condition causes patchy hair loss in men.
If you think you have alopecia areata, you may want to see a skin specialist who is called a dermatologist. They will:
- Talk to you about your symptoms of these problems.
- Take a close look at the areas where you have lost your hair.
- Even pull your hairs gently at the edges of the bald patch to see if they come out easily
- Might even check individual hairs and follicles to see if they’re abnormally shaped
- Examine your nails
- Rarely, you might have a biopsy, which means that a small piece of your skin is removed from your scalp and looked at under a microscope.
Many health and other conditions can cause hair loss. So your doctor might test your skin for a fungal infection or give you blood tests to check for problems like thyroid, hormone, or immune system problems.
- Although conventional treatments for alopecia areata are extremely limited, studies show that there are several natural remedies that people can try to treat alopecia.
- Some experts recommend rubbing onion or garlic juice, cooled green tea, almond oil, rosemary oil, honey, or coconut milk or bhringraj into the scalp. While none of these is likely to cause harm, their effectiveness is also not supported by any research or study.
- Some people, who are suffering from this condition, even turn to alternative treatment methods such as acupuncture and aromatherapy.
- Topical Treatments
Minoxidil is a very popular medicine that is usually used for alopecia treatment and also for other hair loss issues. This solution needs to be applied to the affected areas twice a day until satisfactory results are achieved.
Anti hair fall shampoo nourishes your hair and scalp, they are free of harmful chemicals like Parabens and Sulphate. This shampoo helps to strengthen your hair, improves the texture of your hair, and reduces hair from falling.
The Biotin tablets are enriched with multivitamins which help in growth of hair and improves metabolism. Biotin tablets include a total of 10 vitamins in them. These tablets reduce hair fall, improve scalp health, promote hair growth, and make your hair stronger & healthier than before.
Finasteride, yet another FDA approved drug, is used for the medical management of hair loss in men. It is a prescribed drug that is commonly used to treat an enlarged prostate issue, but a higher dosage of it is used to treat hair fall.
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