Hair Loss Advisory
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Not all types of hair loss have the same symptoms and causes and therefore they don’t all have the same treatments. On this page, you will find five types of non-traditional hair loss, each with its own symptoms, causes, and treatments. They are non-traditional in the sense that they are not directly related to male pattern baldness or female pattern baldness (the DHT inflicted kind).
1. Alopecia Areata:
Alopecia areata is a hair loss condition which can result in a single patch of hair loss or more. It has two typical types: one resulting in less than 50% hair loss, and two resulting in more than 50% loss.
It is relatively common and as many as 1 in 1,000 people may suffer from it at some time.
Diagnosis: In order to properly diagnose the condition, you must go to a doctor who will do blood tests and check your clinical history. The tests are numerous but necessary and something in your clinical history may be a cause for the condition.
Causes: The cause of Alopecia Areata varies. The good news is that it is often due to an imbalance in the person's system, which if rectified, will result in complete re-growth of hair. Some of the most common causes are medications, pregnancy, birth control pills, thyroid malfunctions, anemia, syphilis, and arthritis.
Treatment: Treatment often depends on the severity of hair loss.
2. Telogen Effluvium:
Telogen effluvium is a condition resulting in the general thinning of hair over a period of months. It is often called "shedding" and is most commonly experienced by those who have just given birth, or are undergoing Chemotherapy. By nature, it is a condition directly related to the cycles of hair growth that everyone experiences.
Diagnosis: In order to diagnose this condition, you must go over the events of the previous five months and have your doctor do blood work.
Causes: Typically, this is caused by a traumatic event, the most common of which are: childbirth, chemotherapy, severe infection, severe chronic illness, severe psychological stress, major surgery, hypo or hyperthyroidism, crash diets resulting in poor health or inadequate protein, and medications.
Treatment: Seeing as this is a result of something traumatic, the only sure treatment is if the event that took place is no longer present.
This is a psychological condition which results in an obsession with plucking or pulling on one's own hair.
Diagnosis: The way to diagnose this condition, while it may seem obvious, is with the inspection of the lesion (s) and history of the patient. All this should be done under the care of a doctor’s presence.
Causes: Impulse control disorders may be a leading cause for this condition. To continue the repetitive behavior of this hair pulling, a certain mental state characterized by tension with gratification or relief from the hair pulling may be needed. The first impulse may be caused by various cues in the patient’s mind and surrounding environment.
Treatment: Shaving or clipping hairs close to the scalp may be helpful to stop the behavior. It’s unclear how antidepressants and tranquilizers work for Trichotillomania.
4. Alopecia Universalis:
This is characterized by total loss of body hair. The only difference between Alopecia Universalis and its variants is the extent of hair loss. Many with Alopecia Universalis are born with some hair but then begin losing it very quickly.
Causes: This disorder is inherited as a recessive trait. It is caused by a mutation in a gene. Aside from the genetic factor, not many other sources are known as a cause.
Treatment: There is little evidence to support the claims that aromatherapy helps. The standard method of treatment is Topical Immunotherapy, which involves producing an allergic reaction with irritants placed onto the skin. The theory behind this method is based on the general knowledge that hair can be stimulated into growth sometimes, simply by irritating the follicles. Treatment must be continued in order to maintain the hair, or until the disease has run its course.
5. Tinea Capitis:
Tinea capitis is a condition caused by fungal infection of the skin of the scalp, eyebrows, and eyelashes. It is also called "ringworm of the scalp". It is most commonly found in children ages 10 and under, even though it can occur in older people.
Diagnosis: The diagnosis depends on examining the rubbings, scrapings, pluckings, and or clippings from the lesions. Diagnosis takes about 2 weeks to be performed. In some cases, other tests involving nutritional requirements and hair penetration are necessary to confirm the identification.
Causes: This is usually spread via person-to-person contact. The organisms which cause the condition can be found on combs, brushes, couches, and sheets.
Treatment: The following treatments are to be administered and monitored by a doctor at all times. There is systemic administration of Griseofulvin as an effective oral therapy. As substitutes for Griseofulvin, Itraconazole and Terbafine are used as alternatives. A topical shampoo called Selenium Sulfide Shampoo may reduce transmission to others.