Alopecia Areata (AA) is an autoimmune disorder that results in rapid hair loss in a well-defined area, usually from the scalp or the face. ‘Alopecia’ is a Latin word which signifies baldness and ‘Areata’ refers to the patchy nature of hair loss. Hence, it is sometimes called as patchy baldness.
People with Alopecia Areata are noticed with hair fall out in small, round patches resulting in the patches of coined size area of bare skin. Alopecia Areata is observed in people of all age-groups, but it is found more between age-groups of 15 to 30 years. The lost hair may usually grow back after a certain period, but the cycle of hair fall accompanied by hair growth may continue. In some cases, the hair is found to become thinner without any noticeable patches of baldness.
When the patchy hair loss affects the entire scalp, it is known as Alopecia Totalis and, when it affects the whole body, it is known by the name Alopecia Universalis.
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Causes of Alopecia Areata:
The exact reason for the onset of Alopecia Areata is completely unknown, but it is very well understood that this is an autoimmune disorder. The body’s immune system normally protects itself from bacteria and viruses. In autoimmune disorders, the body’s very own immune system will malfunction and attack its tissues. Here, in Alopecia Areata, the immune system targets the hair follicles, thereby preventing the growth of hair.
If we see the hair growth process, there are three distinctive stages, the first one is growth phase known as anagen followed by the second phase of catagen or maturity, and the final phase of telogen or falling out of hair. So, under normal circumstances, the anagen phase is expected to be quicker than the slow process of telogens. But, in Alopecia Areata, within the hair follicles, one can expect a premature telogen or delayed catagen process.
Some of the other reasons for the occurrence of patchy baldness in people are:
- Hormonal imbalance in the form of androgens
- Mental stress
- Genetical Traits, the disease condition might be present in the parents of the affected individuals
- Dependency on pharmaceutical drugs or undergoing chemotherapy
- Overdoing of cosmetics on hair, such as applying shampoo, bleaching, hair straightening, etc.
- Injury to the head from accidents can lead to the patchy type of baldness
Symptoms of Alopecia Areata:
Alopecia Areata is usually characterized by
- Round or oval patches of baldness on hair forming areas
- Rapid hair loss can occur in a few days
- Regrowth of hair on one side but followed by a loss on other areas
- Gradual thinning of hair on top of the head
Diagnosis and Treatment:
As such, no specific test can be run on the patients coming up with symptoms of Alopecia. The best would be to approach an experienced doctor who can ascertain the medical condition of Alopecia Areata by physical examination.
Homeopathic Treatment for Alopecia Areata:
Alopecia as such may not be completely curable. The recurrence of hair fall followed with hair growth is normally expected in a high percentage of people suffering from this autoimmune disease. Homeopathy offers a vivid range of medications that are found to be very useful in the treatment of Alopecia Areata. A few of the suggested remedies in homeopathy based on symptoms are as below.
(i) Fluoricum Acidum: When symptoms include hair falls in spots, kind of brittle hair fall, a family history of alopecia, vertex baldness, the patient turning mentally disturbed with a sudden burst of anger, etc., the patient will be put on a course of fluoric acid medication.
(ii) Phosphorus: Symptoms, such as patchy baldness, scalp and hair becoming dry, frontal baldness, plenty of hair loss during combing, lean or thin physique, and emotional vulnerability, indicate Phosphorus.
(iii) Phosphoric Acid: When the patient experiences symptoms, such as progressive thinning of hair, grief towards hair fall, and progressive thinking of hair fall and growth, phosphoric acid is recommended.
(iv) Sepia: Usually, Sepia is recommended for the patients suffering from baldness, menopausal symptoms, pain on touching the hair, and have a history of headaches. This remedy is mostly recommended for female patients.
(v) Lycopodium: Lycopodium is an excellent drug for people having symptoms such as hair loss, premature graying of hair, baldness, violent itching, low self-confidence, and sudden outburst of emotions.
(vi) Graphites: When patchy baldness is noticed with hair fall on the sides and itchy humid eruptions appear on the scalp, Graphites is prescribed as a remedy.
(vii) Natrum Muriaticum: When hair loss is noticed in anemic females or hair loss arises from stress or grief, the patients are suggested to have Natrum Muriaticum.
Now that you know how effective homeopathy is in treating Alopecia Areata, opt for homeopathy without a second thought if you happen to suffer from this autoimmune condition anytime.
- Written by Dr. Ashitha A., Associate doctor to Dr. Rajesh Shah