Alopecia areata

Any person would be shocked if one “beautiful” day he or she notices that his/her precious strands of hair get thinner and foci appear. The main issue that people with Alopecia Areata have is: “What will happen afterwards, what can we expect? Will there be an improvement or further regression”. This condition may lead to psychological trauma, anxiety and even depression. Some people similize the psychological trauma from hair loss with loss of an extremity.

Alopecia areata or patchy hair loss (also called circular hair loss) is a comparatively frequently occurring disease characterized by total hair loss on distinctly marked patches of the skin, covered with long hair and absence of inflammatory processes at the same time.

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Depending on the area affected, the following forms of Alopecia Areata are distinguished: local, band-like alopecia (or ophiasis), subtotal, total or universal alopecia. Some MDs also distinguish dot-like form of Alopecia (in the form of small oval or circular foci of acomia, with a diameter of several millimeters, scattered on various regions of the hair-covered part of the head) and Nikolsky’s sign.

The course of Alopecia Areata is characterized by a sudden beginning of the disease, often foci of acomia can be identified by chance only. In the first days of the disease reddening of the skin may be observed on the areas of hair loss, it may be accompanied by burning and itching sensations.

Long hair falls out, and follicle apertures remain open. The hair along the circumference of alopecia foci are very unstable and can fall in tufts if pulled slightly. Area of alopecia represent distinctly marked areas of skin round-shaped or oval, sizing 3-5 cm on average, totally lacking hair, the skin is pale, shiny, smooth, at first follicle apertures are clearly seen, then they become barely noticeable.

Alopecia foci count from 1 to 5 and more. Upon growing peripherally they often merge, forming large and irregularly shaped foci. At the progressing stage of the disease the hair along the circumference of alopecia foci are very easily removed. Alopecia is most frequently localized on the hair-covered part of the head and beard, less frequently — on the eyebrows and eyelashes and in armpits and pubis.

Alopecia Totalis or the so-called malignant alopecia has the longest duration. All of the scalp and sometimes other hair-covered parts of the skin lose hair. The so-called marginal form of alopecia (alopecia areata ophiasis) in the case of which areas of acomia, usually symmetrical, are located in the marginal region of the scalp, mainly in the occipital region.

For people who got Alopecia Areata for the first time.

If you’ve had a “focus” for the first time in the lifetime, you should not panic and run to visit various doctors, especially you should not listen to advice in blogs, chats and forums!

If your “focus” does not exceed 3 cm, it is the only one and new foci do not appear, it will cover with hair by itself within 3 months — without treatment.

If new foci appeared within a short period of time and they expand and merge, then we face a catastrophe. If you go to an incompetent specialist you will grow bald and get total alopecia. What you should do:

Undergo tests for presence of cytomegalovirus, Epstein-Barr virus , toxoplasmosis, Mycoplasma pneumoniae (children’s stool samples should be especially tested for helminthes and giardia)

Comprehensive tests of hormonal status should also be conducted: test for thyroid hormones, adrenal hormones and pituitary hormones.

If you have anxiety or depression you should take respective psychotropic medications.

In the case of speedy or quickly spreading alopecia (the foci extend and merge) only a competent doctor may help with treatment. Unfortunately even in our hospital it is not always possible to stop development of the disease in 2 patients out of a hundred at the progressing stage of the disease.

Having received the results of the abovementioned tests you can arrange a visit to our clinic. We will take all efforts in order to help you!

An example of emotional state of women who have faced circular alopecia (of various forms). Quotes obtained from women’s forums:

Alopecia starting from the age of 9. I am currently 36. At first it was circular, then it became total. There is no hair virtually anywhere - legs, arms, armpits, pubis, eyebrows — everything is lacking. I wear a wig. Total depression. I think about it all the time. I worry that the wig will fall off even when I am asleep.

I would like to control my emotions very much.... The ones who have not experienced this will never understand how one lives without hair …

Thank God, my husband has not abandoned me yet.

It is very hard to live with such a problem!

I become very vulnerable in the periods of aggravation, any side-glance unsettles me. And the remarks, like: “Why don’t you die your hair? Why don’t you change your haircut, the previous one suited you more?”, – are like a knife stabbed in my heart. I simply hate the shampoo and hair styling ads: “You have coarse, unruly hair? We will help you”.

Help US, the unfortunate. Because any hair structure problems are no problems at all. The only thing that matters that you have it (hair), and even such problems such as split ends are nonsense.