Loss Diseases in Children and Adults
* Tinea Capitis (Ringworm of the scalp, fungal
infection of the scalp): Tinea capitis is an infection
of the scalp by mold-like fungi called dermatophytes. Tinea
capitis is a skin disorder that only affects children and
teens. It can be unrelenting and highly infectious to other
children. However, it often disappears spontaneously at
The fungi that cause tinea capitis infections thrive in
warm, moist areas. Children with poor hygiene, lowered immune
system, minor skin and scalp injuries are more susceptible
to tinea infection.
Tinea infections are contagious and
can be passed by direct contact with affected individuals
or by contaminated items such as combs, hats, clothing,
or similar surfaces. They can be transmitted by contact
with pets that carry the fungus (often, cats). -
Symptoms include: Itching of the scalp, round scaly spots
on the skin and scalp, redness and inflammation, bald patches
and/or small black dots on the scalp. In extreme cases,
pus filled lesions on the scalp may appear.
Contact your doctor if you suspect your child might have
tinea capitis by displaying any of the above symptoms. Your
doctor will mostly likely prescribe an oral antifungal medicine
as well as a medicated shampoo containing selenium sulfide.
Pets and other family members who may have come in contact
with the affected child should also be examined.
* Alopecia Areata is a type of hair loss
characterized by round patches of complete baldness. Although
it is unknown exactly how this disease is caused, some evidence
suggests that family history, and possibly an auto immune
disorder may have a role in forming this disease. Children
who are affected by Alopecia Areata will usually regrow
their hair back in appoximately 1 year.
Falling under this category of alopecia is Alopecia
Totalis and Alopecia Universalis. Totalis causes
a complete loss of hair on the scalp whereas Universalis
causes a complete loss of hair on the scalp and the entire
Although no completely effective treatment method exists,
the chances for a full recovery are excellent as the problem
seems to go away on it's own. To help reverse the disease,
doctors might treat patients with topical or injected steroids
to stimulate new hair growth.
* Telogen Effluvium (Stress related hair loss,
temporary hair loss) in children is a natural type
of hair loss that usually occurs as young babies shed existing
hair to be replaced by more mature hair.
This phenomenon can occur in older children, especially
after an illness or due to high stress. This hair loss usually
occurs 2 months after the illness and is caused by the normal
hair growth cycle being interrupted with more hairs in a
resting state then in a growing state. The problem should
automatically correct itself in 3 to 6 months. If you observe
redness or inflammation of the scalp during what you believe
is telogen effluvium, consult your doctor as this might
be another form of hair loss.
* Telogen Effluvium in Adults
Adults can also be affected by telogen effluvium and it
is usually stress related and therefore, temporary. Telogen
is the name of the resting phase for the 3 stage hair
Do not confuse telogen effuvium with genetic hair loss
(a very slow process by which DHT attacks the hair follicles).
During telogen effluvium, more hairs are going into the
resting phase then the normal 10 to 15 percent. This amount
can increase to as much as 70 percent of your hair going
into the resting phase over a short period of time.
The difference between genetic hair loss and telogen effluvium
can be established during normal shampooing and showering.
If you notice large clumps of hair coming out in your hands
or in the bathtub/shower, then it is probably the telogen
hair loss. During normal genetic hair loss, the shedding
of hair is so slow that it will probably escape your notice
- keep in mind that the average person loses 50 to 100 hairs
every day, which is expected and normal.
"The most important issue in telogen effluvium
is to determine if an underlying cause for the problem
is present. Blood tests may need to be done if the cause
is not obvious, such as mild iron deficiency. If the
telogen effluvium is caused by a medication, the medication
needs to be stopped. When the cause of the hair loss
is something like giving birth, a transient illness,
or other self-limited problem the induced telogen effluvium
is also usually self-limited and requires no treatment."
- American Osteopathic College of Dermatology
* Traction Alopecia occurs when the hair
is braided too tight or is damaged by some other tight hair
styling methods. Read more about: Traction
* Trichotillomania is a compulsive disorder
by which hair on the head or face is twisted and/or pulled
by the person until it is damaged and breaks off leaving
patches of uneven hair growth, thin hair areas or baldness.
Women and children are much more likely to have this disease
then men and symptoms usually appear before the age of 17.
The NIH predicts that up to 4 percent of the American population
might be affected by this disease. Although little is known
about this disease, the cause is usually related to mental
stress and anguish.
According to the National Institute of Health, these symptoms
are usually seen in children:
- Constant tugging, pulling, or twisting of hair
- Increasing sense of tension is present before the hair
- Sense of relief, pleasure, or gratification is reported
after the hair pulling
- Hair pulling leads to an uneven appearance
- Bare patches or diffuse loss of hair
- Hair regrowth in the bare spots that feels like stubble
- Some individuals may develop a bowel obstruction if
they eat the hair they pull out
- Other self-injury behaviors may be present
- People suffering from this disorder often deny pulling
out their hair.
Since the cause is related to the mind and stress, this
disease is more effectively treated with anti-depressants
than with direct hair growth solutions.
"Early detection remains the best form of
prevention since it leads to early treatment. Decreasing
stress in the environment might be beneficial, as stress
may increase compulsive behavior." - Medline
* Chemotherapy Related Hair Loss- Cancer
does not cause hair loss. However, the medications that
are used to fight cancer can cause hair loss. The good news
is not all cancer treatment medications cause hair loss
and some patients only experience a thinning of the hair
instead of total hair loss. If you have cancer and are taking
chemotherapy treatments, ask your doctor if the medication
you are taking will cause hair loss.
If you do lose your hair, one thing to keep in mind is
this is an indication the medication is working and is fighting
the cancer. The good news is the hair will grow back once
the chemotherapy treatments cease. However, the hair could
possibly be a different shade, texture or fullness.
The American Cancer Society has recommend the following
techniques to help you deal with hair loss during chemotherapy
- Use mild shampoos.
- Use soft hairbrushes.
- Use low heat if you must use a dryer.
- Don't use brush rollers to set your hair.
- Don't dye your hair or get a permanent.
- Have your hair cut short. A shorter style will make
your hair look thicker and fuller. It also will make hair
loss easier to manage if it occurs.
- Use a sunscreen, sun block, hat, scarf, or wig to protect
your scalp from the sun.
- Use a satin pillowcase.