May 18th, 2017 Written by a Staff Writer at Hair Loss in Women
Are you suffering from hair loss that comes in small to large patches? If your answer is yes, then you may have alopecia areata, a condition that damages your hair follicles. The condition is characterized by hair loss that tend to appear in round, small patches. Some of those who have this condition only have a small number of bare patches. However, there are more severe cases wherein the patients lose substantial amounts of hair. Although rare, alopecia areata may cause complete hair loss on the head, body and face (called alopecia universialis).
Causes of Patches of Hair Loss & Bald Spots
1. Family History
One of the most common causes of patchy hair loss in women is a hereditary condition known as female pattern baldness. This condition tends to become apparent gradually. It also comes in predictable patterns, usually characterized by hair thinning in women. Heredity or your family history also plays a major role in when you will start to lose hair, the extent of patches or baldness, and the hair loss rate. This means that if you have close family members who have hair loss, your risk of suffering from the condition is high.
2. Hormonal Changes
Any changes or imbalances in your hormones may trigger temporary hair loss. These hormonal changes or imbalances may be triggered by childbirth, onset of menopause, and pregnancy. The current condition of your thyroid gland may also contribute to your current hormone levels, which means that thyroid problems are also among the major contributors to hair loss that appears in patches.
3. Scalp infections
Some infections like ringworm may invade the skin and hair found in your scalp. This may lead to hair loss and scaly patches. The best way to avoid hair loss from this cause is to treat the infection first. After treating the infection, hair growth can be expected.
4. Skin Disorders
Some skin disorders like lupus, lichen planus, and sarcoidosis may also trigger patchy hair loss. This happens when the disorders trigger scarring alopecia that contributes to the loss of hair on the scarred areas.
5. Certain Medications
Medications designed to treat heart problems, high blood pressure, depression, arthritis, and cancer may also contribute to patchy hair loss in women. Your hair may also start to fall out if you take too much Vitamin A.
6. Radiation Therapy
Particularly radiation therapy which targets the head. You can’t expect your hair to grow the same way as it did before if you have already undergone this treatment.
7. Emotional or Physical Trauma or Shock
This is considered as a trigger event. Some people experience significant amount of hair loss that comes out in patches a few months after they experienced an emotional or physical trauma or shock. A few examples of events that trigger trauma or shock, eventually leading to hair loss, are death of a loved one, sudden weight loss, surgery, and high fever.
8. Hair Treatments and Hairstyles
Hair treatments and styles that put a lot of pressure to your hair strands and scalp like pigtails and cornrows can contribute to the development of alopecia areata. Hot oil treatments may also cause hair follicle inflammation, leading to hair loss.
The good thing about alopecia areata is that it is treatable. If you think that you’re shedding too much hair, then you have to visit your doctor immediately. They will review your symptoms to figure out if you really have the condition. They may also conduct a scalp biopsy. This diagnostic test is necessary so they can rule out other diseases that are similar to the symptoms of alopecia areata. Your doctor may also order a blood test if they suspects that you also have other autoimmune disorders.
1. Medical Treatments
Certain medical treatments encourage hair growth. Note, however, that none of these treatments can completely cure hair loss. One medication that you can use is Rogaine or Minoxidil. You rub this drug into your scalp to encourage healthy hair growth. You can also take advantage of other hair loss therapies including the use of corticosteroid creams and steroid injections. You may also undergo photo-chemotherapy. This treatment combines the use of ultraviolet light and oral medication.
This therapy involves the use of chemicals including diphencyprone (DCP) and squaric acid dibutyl ester (SADBE). These chemicals are applied on your scalp to create an allergic reaction. This helps in neutralizing the turned-on immune cells and encourage your hair to grow back again.
You can apply this treatment on your scalp to trigger scalp irritation. This irritation may stimulate hair regrowth. To maximize the effects of this treatment, you should consider using it with minoxidil.
4. Alternative Treatments
Some women who suffer from patchy hair loss opt to undergo non-medical or alternative treatments since these have low to zero side effects. These include acupuncture, herbal supplements, use of essential oils, and aromatherapy. These treatments can help you relax, so these are perfect for you if stress, anxiety, trauma and other unfortunate events caused your hair loss. However, take note that most of these alternative treatments were not yet tested in clinical trials.
Your hair loss treatment plan will depend on a few factors like your current age, the level of hair loss you are experiencing as well as your willingness to deal with all the side effects and discomfort that come along with your chosen treatment. If you only have mild patches on your scalp, then simply wearing a headpiece or modifying your hairstyle until you notice that the bald spot is already filled in can help. However, if you think that your case is already severe, then wearing a hairpiece or wig until you start to notice the results of your chosen treatment is beneficial for you.
It is also advisable to visit your doctor right after you noticed the sudden formation of bald spots on your scalp. A hairstylist telling you that you developed small bald patches or that your hair is thinning is also a cause of concern. Consulting your doctor right after you noticed the mentioned signs is essential in successfully treating your condition.
Have you experienced bald patches? What caused it and how did you regrow your hair? Please comment below.