Alopecia Areata – most common form of boldness
Alopecia areata is the most common form of hair loss which usually results in spots of baldness. Sometimes, in most complicated cases of alopecia, the whole head becomes bald. Usually, the patches of baldness recover and the hair regrows, however, it may take 7-10 months and even up to a few years. Depending on causes of hair loss, medical condition of the individual, external physical factors and form of development the boldness may become long-lasting or even permanent.
What is alopecia and who is affected?
Alopecia is a medical condition that causes hair loss, which results in baldness. The lifetime of hair is approximately 4-6 years. That means that every day some hairs die and fall… At the same time, new hairs grow. Medical scientists and researchers believe that loss of 40-60 hairs per day is normal. However, when this number goes up over the 100 it is considered as a pathological medical condition. Hair loss may be caused by different external and internal factors and may exist in a few different forms. The most common causes of alopecia are:
Physical Stress causes alopecia
Any type of somatic bodily injury – surgical procedure, personal injury, viral or bacterial infection, even simple flu – may result in short-term hair fall and baldness. Any of these factors may initiate a form of hair loss named telogen effluvium. As it was mentioned above each single hair develops following its life cycle, which includes development period, rest period and flaking time.Marc Glashofer, MD – board certified dermatologist from New York, NY explains: “Any significant stress, emotional trauma or infection disease may distress the life cycle of hairs, forcing a significant number of them into the flaking stage”. Baldness as a result of this broken life cycle may become visible few months or even half of year after the event.
Pregnancy may cause alopecia
Pregnancy is another common cause of hair loss and it’s because first of all most of the time pregnancy very often keep a woman in chronic stress condition and at the same time during pregnancy the hormonal equilibrium may go out of balance. When pregnancy causing a hair loss baldness usually becomes noticeable 3-4 months after delivery.
Too much vitamin A causes alopecia
Overdosing of vitamin A very often prompt hair loss. This cause of hair loss discovered in clinical studies and officially published by the American Academy of Dermatology.
Lack of protein causes alopecia
In another clinical study report distributed by the American Academy of Dermatology in a case of lack of protein in individual’s diet body may “decide” to conserve protein by stopping hair grows.
Male pattern baldness or alopecia
Most men started losing hair at age 50 and older. In a majority of cases, this is normal since it shows the signs of decrease of male sexual hormones concentration in the organism. We would not call it hair loss in those cases since hair loss is a medical condition and cannot be considered as normal. Boldness in men before 50 years old may be termed as alopecia and described as abnormal. In females, hair loss in any age is abnormal and need to be addressed appropriately.
Heredity makes people prone to alopecia
Male pattern baldness in women is often characterized as androgenic hair loss. Females that have family history when women in previous generations were affected by alopecia and lost hair at some point of development might be more predisposed to it.
Female hormones disbalance causes alopecia
Same way as hormones’ disbalance during pregnancy may result in alopecia, going off birth control pills can cause the same symptoms. Similar to this the hormonal disproportion that happens at menopause sometimes causes alopecia.
Emotional stress causes alopecia
Emotional stress can also cause alopecia, but not as often as physical stress. Women more often have hair loss symptoms as a result of emotional stress and men as a result of physical.
Anemia causes alopecia
Approximately 10% of women in the age between 20 and 49 have symptoms of iron deficiency and as a result of it a low level of hemoglobin (anemia). Anemia often causes hair loss.
Hypothyroidism causes alopecia
The low function of thyroid gland aka hypothyroidism influences cortisol production by the cortex. This hormonal dysfunction can also result in hair loss.
Vitamin B deficiency causes alopecia
Similar to Vitamin An access deficiency of B-Vitamins can result in alopecia. In this case, B-Vitamins replacement therapy would resolve the problem fast and effective.
Most common form of hair loss – alopecia areata usually caused by the aggressive activity of individual’s immune system. This is the condition similar to an allergy. The organism considers hair as a foreign object inside of the body and reacts aggressively trying to defend itself.
Alopecia some time is a symptom of lupus
The autoimmune alopecia also often registered in patients with lupus. Mechanism of hair loss in lupus patients is similar to alopecia areata when the immune system of the lupus patient attacks his own hair mistakenly consider them as foreign objects.
Intense weight loss causes alopecia
Speedy weight loss even if the individual intentionally targets it can be mistakenly recognized by the organism as a form of physical stress, which as it was described above often causes hair loss.
Chemotherapy almost always causes alopecia
The goal of chemotherapy is to destroy and prevent from reproduction fast growing cells. This is the only way of conservative cancer treatment that is known to today’s conventional medicine. However the same way the chemotherapy medicines destroy and prevent from reproduction hair cells causing baldness. Also similar influence on hair registered in patients that take anti-depressants, blood thinners, anabolic steroids and some other pharmaceutical drugs.
Polycystic ovary syndrome is common cause of alopecia
The disproportion of sex hormones in patients with PCOS influence grow of hair and causes hair loss. This form of alopecia often accompanied by hirsutism, menstrual disorders, infertility, etc.
What are the symptoms of alopecia?
Symptoms of alopecia may vary depending on the individual constitution of a patient, the cause of the disease and the pattern of baldness. The most common form of hair loss represented by one or a few “naked” spots on the skin of the head. These patches can be different in shape (round, oval) and in size (from the size of a quarter to the size of a coaster). These patches grow in size fast and without any sensation. A person who has patches of alopecia may not even know about them until somebody (hairdresser, parents, spouse, etc.) pay attention to this baldness. They develop quite quickly. A relative, friend or hairdresser may be the first person to notice the bald patch or patches.
What is the outlook (prognosis) for people with alopecia?
- Simple cases of alopecia may be self-healing and recovery may happen without treatment. It may, however, take up to a year.
- Sometime alopecia may have a recurrent pattern when patches come and go and this condition may last for years.
- If less than half of the scalp is affected and no treatment is started, there is about an 8 in 10 chance of full hair re-growth within one year.
- With more extensive hair loss, it is less likely that hair will re-grow.
How do dermatologists treat alopecia areata?
Conventional Western Medicine does not have any real cure for alopecia. Very often it’s a self-healing illness and after some period of time, the hair starts to re-grow. Pharmaceutical drugs for hair loss may speed-up the re-growing process.
The most common prescription drugs that dermatologists recommend for hair loss treatment are:
Corticosteroids: Prednisone and Hydrocortisone are preventing autoimmune hair loss by suppressing the immune system.
Minoxidil: This medicine specifically stimulates hair re-growing process. New hair appears on patches approximately 3 months after the first intake of Minoxidil.
Anthralin: This drug used locally in the form of cream stimulating hair bags inside of derma.
Diphencyprone (DPCP): So called irritation therapy. This medicine irritates the skin and stimulates extra blood circulation locally. The increase of the blood secondary stimulates the hair re-grow process. Again, the hair starts to re-grow in about 3-4 months.
Homeopathic Treatment of alopecia.
Homeopathic remedies are very beneficial for hair loss treatment. The following medicines most frequently used:
Acidum Phosphoricum, Phosphor, Graphites, Arsenicum album, Apis melodica, Calcarea Carbonica, Kali carbonic, Hepar Sulphur, Rhus Toxicodendron, Sepia, Psorinum, Calcarea Phosphoricum, Carbo Animalis, Selenium, Kali Phosphoricum, Lycopodium.
Homeopathic medicine does not focus on specific symptoms or diseases. Contrary homeopath sees the patient as a whole organism that is prone to specific illnesses. The homeopathic remedies in each particular case are carefully chosen following a complete homeopathic evaluation and homeopathic case review. The homeopathic evaluation includes a detailed medical history of an individual, somatic and psychological constitution, palpation, percussion, auscultation, iridology testing, etc.
This evaluation may take 2-4 hours and is essential in order to select the most appropriate homeopathic medicines, based on a rule “similia similibus curentur” (lat.)
The effectiveness of homeopathy in hair loss treatment if very high. In my personal practice, a significant positive result was registered in more than 90% of patients.
Traditional Chinese Medicine against alopecia
Another great treatment system for hair loss is Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). Two main methods of this system – acupuncture and herbology – are highly effective. The TCM approach to treatment always based on a theory of 5 elements as well as 14 energy meridians. Any disease including hair loss understood as disbalance of Qi energy in two main energy systems of the organism Yin and Yang.
Using medicinal herbs and acupuncture needles TCM practitioner balancing the energy level and creates a healthy internal body environment.
For example, Traditional Chinese Medicine recommends using herb Polygonum as a part of everyday diet. According to TCM, Polygonum stimulates grow of black solid hair. Have you ever seen gray hair or bald Chinese man?
At Viva Healthy Life – The Center for Holistic Medicine all Homeopathic and TCM treatments performed under Dr. Tsan’s personal supervision. This medical center achieved the highest effectiveness of hair loss treatment nationwide.
To make an appointment for an Initial FREE consultation with Dr. Tsan and find out if a holistic medicine is the right treatment choice for you – call our office or use the widget below.