Symptoms of Hair Loss – Alopecia Areata
Alopecia is also known as alopecia areata in medical terms. In simple terms alopecia areata is a condition of hair loss. This disease can affect men, women and children of any age.
Normal hair loss should not be mistaken for alopecia areata. It is quite normal to lose 100 to 150 hairs daily as part of the normal cycle of hair shedding. Some people may lose more hair as a result of excessive brushing of hair or having a hot shower, frequent washing of hair or even using a faulty shampoo or hair care product.
The hallmark symptom of alopecia areata is hair loss which occurs in bald patches on the scalp. The areas of hair loss are usually random and can involve hairs in any part of the body. The common body parts affected by this condition are eyebrows, eyelashes and the scalp. In most cases, hair falls out in small, round patches about the size of a coin.
Hair Loss in children
In children alopecia areata may be an associated symptom of a number of conditions. The most common conditions causing alopecia in children are listed below:
- Ringworm infections of the scalp
This is a common skin condition affecting the scalp resulting in hair loss.
- Trichotillomania or hair pulling
This is a self comforting habit. Many babies tend to pull their hair when they are tired, anxious, bored angry or sleepy. Toddlers tend to pull their hair especially when they are in the midst of throwing temper tantrums. This results in hair loss and may occur in bald patches. Trichotillomania is also an associated symptom of obsessive compulsive disorder in which the affected individual resorts to hair puling.
- Traction alopecia
Traction alopecia is also a condition of excessive hair loss which is seen in kids who wear tight braids or ponytails or tight hair bands resulting in hair loss due to hair pulling. It is also seen in newborn babies and infants who tend to lie on their back in the cribs. This results in constant friction between the hair on the back of the head and the bed clothes in the crib. As a result of this there are bald patches on the heads of the babies.
- Childhood cancers
In children, alopecia areata can also be an associated symptom of childhood cancers.
Alopecia in women
In women alopecia can be caused due to stress and hormonal changes. Hair loss can be quite common during and after pregnancy. It can also be an associated symptom of menopause where women lose hair from the top of their head resulting in a receding hairline. Alopecia can also be an associated symptom of thyroid disorders.
Alopecia in men
Hair loss is common in males. Males lose hair in a well defined pattern beginning above the temples. Hair also thins at the crown of the head. Often a rim of hair around the sides and rear of the head is left, or the condition may progress to complete baldness.