Alopecia Areata Introduction
This problem often begins with one or two round, coin-shaped bare patches mainly on the scalp but it can involve eyebrows, eyelashes or beard. Spots may vary in size and number in different people. Few short hairs grow on the edges of bare spots and look like an exclamation mark being narrower at the bottom. In a few cases, these patches remain as it is and in some cases the spots increases in size and number.
Alopecia is an autoimmune disease. In this, there is a destruction of roots of the hair follicle, in patches. In many cases, other autoimmune diseases are present along with alopecia, in the patient or the family. We advise all patients with alopecia to get their thyroid blood test done.
Alopecia areata finds promising and long lasting results using homeopathy medicines for hair loss.
Understanding Alopecia Areata
What Causes Alopecia Areata and Hair Loss?
Alopecia areata is a common autoimmune skin disease, causing patches of hair loss on the scalp, face and sometimes on other areas of the body. In fact, it affects more than 10 million people worldwide. People of all ages, both sexes, and all ethnic groups can develop alopecia areata.
The cause of Alopecia areata is unknown. The most related theory which holds water is that alopecia areata is a T-cell–mediated autoimmune condition that is most likely to occur in genetically predisposed individuals.
Alopecia areata is also known as a polygenic disease which means both parents must contribute some specific genes for a child to develop it. It is a genetic disease but, chances of transmitting it to children are less.
Further confirming, that even if a person has a genetic predisposition, he gets affected only when favorable environmental factors contribute.
This autoimmunity is due to some factors, the significant one being emotional stress. Stress may be in the form of prolonged worry, disappointments, etc.
What is autoimmunity?
Alopecia areata is an autoimmune disease. Autoimmunity means where the body’s immune system mistakenly attacks own body cells. In the case of alopecia, the body attacks its hair follicles leading to hair loss in the affected area.
- This autoimmunity precipitates due to a few factors, such as genetic, hormonal or environmental factors. Environmental factors may include acute illness, nutritional deficiencies, use of certain medicines.
- High levels of male hormones in men and women may trigger autoimmunity.
- Other autoimmune diseases like underactive thyroid, diabetes mellitus may be seen in the same patient or family history.
- Use of certain medicines for a long duration may cause alopecia such as oral contraceptive pills, large doses of vitamin A or chemotherapy drugs.
- Excessive exposure to chemicals may damage hair and can trigger autoimmunity.
- Lack of nutritious diets such as inadequate iron and protein intake may cause alopecia.
- Few infections like fungal or lichen planus of the scalp may produce alopecia.
Signs and Symptoms of Alopecia Areata
Alopecia areata is a disease that causes hair to fall out in small patches. It develops when the immune system attacks the hair follicles, resulting in hair loss. Sudden hair loss may occur on the scalp and other parts of the body. The extent of hair loss and regrowth varies from person-to-person.
A person having alopecia areata may have one or more of the following signs and symptoms:
Hair loss in patches: The hair loss often begins with one or more coin-sized, round, smooth, bare patches which may be a sudden loss. It may manifest as an excessive, sudden hair loss on a pillow or during a shower.
Hair loss occurs mostly on the scalp. But it can affect eyebrows, eyelashes, beards or any hair-bearing site. Patches may vary in size and shape.
Exclamation mark - This is the trademark of alopecia. A few short hairs remain in or at the edges of the bald spots. These hairs get narrower at the bottom, like an exclamation mark.
In a few cases, nails can be affected and have dents, white spots, and roughness. Rarely nails change shape or fall off.
Types of Alopecia Areata
- 1. Alopecia areata- A person loses hair in patches (fairly common and completely treatable)
- 2. Alopecia totalis- complete loss of hair from the scalp (rare and untreatable)
- 3. Alopecia Universalis- complete loss of hair from the body (rare and untreatable)
It can occur at any age though it starts at an early age often seen in children. Males and females are equally affected.
Around 20 to 25% of cases show family history either in parents or one of the siblings.
Alopecia with scarring can be controlled but getting hair back is difficult as hair roots are destroyed.
Homeopathic Treatment for Alopecia Areata
Homeopathic treatment of alopecia areata is based on an individual case study where we treat causes working from the emotional sphere, hereditary factors, etc. so that the disease can be addressed from the roots thereby stimulating hair regrowth.
Using best homeopathic medicines for alopecia the chances of relapse are minimal. Once treated patients get long lasting relief. Homeopathic medicines may take a longer duration to treat than the use of steroids or cortisone, but results remain durable, and it is safe and free from any side effects. Alopecia with underlying scarring may not respond to homeopathic treatment.
Frequently Asked Questions about Alopecia Areata Treatment
1) What is the best homeopathy medicines for alopecia?
There are more than 300 medicines in homeopathy which are indicated in alopecia areata. The selection of medicines in each particular case depends upon various factors. An experienced homeopath will take a detailed case history before deciding the medicines. Properly selected medicines on the basis of homeopathy principals ensure long lasting and permanent results.
2) Is hair fall/loss treatment in homeopathy effective?
Yes, hair fall and hair loss can be effectively treated with homeopathy. Homeopathy considers all around causes like genetic, environmental, nutritional, etc. Homeopathic medicines are completely safe and nontoxic.
3) How long does it take for alopecia to cure?
It differs from patient to patient. It depends upon the duration of patches, the size, hereditary history, previous treatment taken, etc. Although initial positive response can be expected within six to eight weeks. It is important to note that homeopathic medicines for alopecia helps in preventing further spread.
4) I have gone through a lot of stress. Can it be a cause for my alopecia?
Yes prolonged stress can be a trigger factor for getting alopecia. While planning the treatment emotional stress and its impact on the person must be considered.