Alopecia is a medical condition wherein you lose abnormal amount of hair from your scalp or your body. If you suffer from baldness on scalp in patches, the condition is called alopecia areata. If any of the condition is neglected or left untreated, it can cause total baldness. It is a non-infectious condition, but can be hereditary.
Symptoms of alopecia:
You are definitely suffering from alopecia if you come across the symptoms mentioned below:
- Skin lesions
- Scars on the scalp
- Hair loss from the scalp in patches
- Width of hair partition increases
- Men begin to lose hair from the temples, and start looking partially bald
- Women start losing their hair from the back of the scalp or frontal
Causes of alopecia:
The various causes of suffering from Alopecia are:
- Excess usage of hair cosmetic products
- Usage of hair relaxer solutions and hot hair irons
- Hair styling like braids and high ponytails
- Hair treatments
- Radiation therapy
- Fungal infection
- Scalp infection
- Hormonal changes
- Hereditary disorders
- Iron deficiency
- Hypervitaminosis A
- Side-effects of many drugs like chemotherapy
- Tendency to pull out one’s hair known as trichotillomania
Diagnosis of alopecia:
If you are young, yet experience excessive hair loss without any family history, you should see your doctor as early as possible. You may be suffering from alopecia, and for the diagnosis, the doctor may perform following tests.
- The pull test: A normal traction is exerted on 40-60 hair on three different sides on the scalp. Once the traction is lifted, the number of hair extracted are examined under a microscope. Less than 3 hair on each side is normal. However, if the number of hair exceeds 10, the test is positive; you are suffering from alopecia.
- The pluck test: The hair of the patient is pulled out from the roots. The phase of the growth of hair is examined by putting the hair under the microscope. This helps the doctor to diagnose any defect or presence of any disease.
- Daily hair counts: This test is performed by counting the number of hair lost per day. It begins from the first combing of the day. The number of hair lost is collected in a plastic bag for 14 days. If the number of hair lost exceeds more than 100 per day, it is considered to be abnormal. However, the counting is not done of the days you shampoo your hair, as the hair loss is more than 250. This test is usually performed when the pull test is negative.
- Trichoscopy: In this test, the health of your hair and scalp will be examined to conclude the cause of hair loss.
- Scalp biopsy: Here, hair samples are taken from the scalp, especially from the areas near inflammation and from the bald patch. This will help to diagnose the true reason of the condition.
Treatment for alopecia:
There are a number of pills, ointments and steroids available in the market to treat alopecia. However, they can take weeks and even months to show the result. You may also opt for surgical options like hair transplant and scalp reduction after consulting your doctor. These options can be painful as well as expensive. And if you want to totally avoid medical and surgical options, wigs are the best option. Good quality wigs and hair switches are available to cover your scalp.