Contributed by – Healthians team
Hair loss issues are so common that most of us go through them at least once in our lives. Losing 100 strands a day is relatively normal as it is a part of the hair growth cycle, but anything more than that can be a cause of concern. Usually, in most cases, certain medical conditions and emotional states become a cause of hair fall. But sometimes, it can also be a medical condition like alopecia, which is a type of hair fall disease. In this article, we discuss it in-depth and see what causes alopecia.
What is alopecia?
Alopecia is a medical term for hair loss, and it doesn’t only happen on the scalp. In fact, it is one of the most common examples of autoimmune disease, more common than insulin-dependent diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, or thyroiditis.
Alopecia is not like any other male and female pattern hair loss. It causes hair to fall out in small patches, which may sometimes go unnoticed. These patches can appear overnight and are a common symptom of alopecia. If the pattern continues, these patches can connect and become large bald spots. The sudden loss of hair may occur just on the scalp or it may affect other hair-bearing areas of the body including eyebrows, eyelashes, etc.
The condition may result in total hair loss, called Alopecia Universalis, which may prevent hair from growing back again. And if hair does grow back, it is possible that they will fall again. The extent of hair loss and regrowth varies for each individual.
What are the causes of alopecia?
The reason for alopecia is an autoimmune condition. Normally, the immunity defends the body from foreign invaders, but sometimes, due to unknown causes, it starts attacking the healthy cells of the body. In the case of alopecia, the immune system attacks the hair follicles. Over time, these hair follicles become smaller and stop producing hair leading to hair loss.
Is there any treatment for alopecia?
Unfortunately, there is no predictable course of treatment for alopecia.
Longer the time of hair loss, larger is the patch of baldness and lesser the chances of regrowth of hair. However, treatment may help slow down or stop the loss of hair. There are a variety of options available, but nothing definitive can be said about their efficiency.
- Local steroid injections may help in restarting the hair growth cycle in treated areas.
- Steroid creams, lotion, and shampoos may provide limited benefits.
- The oral-systemic steroids can induce hair growth but long term use of them can bring about undesirable side effects.
- Topical sensitizers have been used for a long time but their efficiency is limited.
- Elimination of emotional stress can be helpful.
Living with alopecia might be challenging as there is no clear cure for alopecia. But with early identification and trial and error of the available treatment options, one can hope to slow down their hair loss.
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