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  • Cause of Trichotillomania

    Posted on February 7th, 2009 admin 1 comment
    Michel Waugh asked:

    The term “trichotillomania” comes from the Greek words “thrix,” meaning “hair” and “tillein” meaning “to pull” and “mania,” the Greek word for “madness” or “frenzy”. As the name suggests trichotillomania is a psychiatric condition in which an individual has an uncontrollable urge to pull out his or her own body hair. For people suffering from trichotillomania, hair pulling is more than a habit. It is rather a compulsive behavior, which the person finds very hard to stop. The cause of tricholomania is supposed to be the imbalance of chemicals in the human brain.

    People with trichotillomania pull their hair out of the root from places like the scalp, eyebrows, eyelashes, or even the pubic area. Some people even pull handfuls of hair, which can leave bald patches on the scalp or eyebrows. Other people pull out their hair one strand at a time. Some inspect the strands after pulling them out or play with the hair after it’s been pulled. About half of people with this condition also have the habit of putting the plucked hair in mouth.

    Trichotillomania has been mentioned as a disorder in very early historical records. But clinically the condition trichotillomania was first described in 1889 by the French physician Francois Hallopeau. The condition is rare - statistics show it affects only 1% to 3% of the population, although new research suggests that the rate of hair pulling may be around 10% or higher.

    Trichotillomania affects about twice as many girls as boys. Most people who have trichotillomania develop the condition during adolescence. However, it can start when a person is as young as 1 year old.

    Trichotillomania is often the cause for embarrassment, frustration, shame, or depression for those people affected with the disorder. Those people also suffer from low self-esteem. They usually try to hide their behavior from others. Because of this fact, social alienation is common in trichotillomania patients. Moreover, the patients also try to cover patches of balding scalp by wearing wigs, hats, scarves or hair clips, or by applying make-up or even by tattooing..

    Cause of tricholomania

    Doctors don’t know much about the cause of trichotillomania. It is believed that genetics plays a major role. The compulsive behavior like trichotillomania can sometimes run in families. Some psychiatrists think it might be related to OCD since OCD and trichotillomania are both anxiety disorders. This is one reason why the impulses that lead to hair pulling can be stronger when a person is stressed out or worried.

    Experts think that the actual cause of tricholomania is the imbalance of chemicals in the brain. These chemicals, called neurotransmitters are part of the brain’s communication center. When something interferes with how neurotransmitters work it can cause problems like compulsive behaviors.

    Since trichotillomania is a medical condition, it’s not something most people can just stop doing when they feel like it. People with trichotillomania usually need help from medical experts before they can stop. With the right help, though, most people overcome their hair-pulling urges. This help may involve therapy, medication, or a combination of both.

    There are therapies in which special behavior techniques are used to help people recognize the urge to pull hair before the urge becomes too strong to resist. The patient learns ways to resist the urge so that the urge becomes weaker and then goes away.

    Many people find it helpful to keep their hands busy with a different activity (like squeezing a stress ball or drawing) during times when the urge of pulling hair is strong. Even activities like knitting while watching TV seems to help.

  • Alopecia - a Hair Loss Disease | Symptoms

    Posted on January 19th, 2009 admin 1 comment
    Alien asked:

    About Alopecia

    Alopecia, which is pronounced al-oh-PEE-shah air-ee-AH-tah, is an autoimmune skin disease. This results in loss of hair on both the scalp and body of a person. It is impossible to guess where it strikes and anyone whatever their age, background; social standing, gender ethnic origins etc can experience Alopecia. However, Childhood is the period to start by frequent observation.

    The victims

    The sufferers of Alopecia are approximately 1.7% of the population within western society with five million sufferers living in the United States alone. The timing of the disease is unpredictable; devoid of any warning in can affect any unsuspecting person. Human’s life have a very serious affect, which can result in long term depression for many victims who see their Alopecia problem as a great impact on their life.

    Symptoms of Alopecia

    Hair is considered as our crowning glory, lovingly cared for and nurtured. In most cultures a woman’s hair is a part of her beauty. Women spend a lot of money for maintaining their hair in a fine-looking condition. The symptoms of Alopecia are when you wake up one morning and find much of hair on the pillow, or when washing it to discover much of your hair at the bottom of the drain. These symptoms can have devastating consequences.

    Misconception on Alopecia

    People who have never experienced this disease are unaware of what Alopecia actually is, so when they look someone who is suffering from the condition they are often new to the psychological problems the sufferer may be going through. They may also judge the person looks unsightly or even that they have some infectious disease. It’s often unimaginable bias on the part of those uneducated about the disease of Alopecia that makes life more painful for the person anguishing from it.

    Cause and affect

    Since it is an autoimmune problem, it means the body incorrectly sees the hair follicles as an “attacker” This results in the person’s immune system going into a defensive/attack mode and destroying the hair follicles. The first sign of the problem is presence of a small round bald patch on the scalp. Sometimes it may just stay at that stage, in other cases it may progress further until only a single thin piece of hair are left on the scalp or the person becomes fully bald. (Alopecia Totalis)

    Unfortunately, Alopecia is not only confined to the scalp. For some people the situation can be even more disastrous with complete body hair loss. This can include eyelashes, eyebrows, the pubic regions underarms etc. (Alopecia Universalis). This of course can be even more devastating for the person who is suffering from the disease on a psychological level.

    Remedies for Alopecia

    Alopecia is not life threatening, but it is a socially disfiguring disease. Though there is no remedy for the loss of body hair such as eyelashes, pubic hair etc, there are now wigs that can be bought that are so well made that no-one would ever believe they are not the person’s real hair. Unfortunately these types of wigs come at a towering price, which many people can’t afford. It may be worthwhile checking to see if your health insurance covers you for this type of problem.

  • All You Need to Know About ALOPECIA

    Posted on January 17th, 2009 admin 1 comment
    Benedict Smythe asked:

    Alopecia areata is a medical condition wherein hair, most commonly on the scalp is lost. This often occurs either in spots or in larger patterns.


    Alopecia areata is a condition resulting from a defect in the body’s immune system. The disease is autoimmune, a condition wherein the body’s immune system and immune cells attack the other cells in the body. In alopecia areata, immune cells attack and destroy its own hair follicles resulting in diminished hair growth and subsequent baldness.

    The condition is inherited and the gene responsible for it has been mapped to be found on chromosome 8. The inherited gene, with the interplay of environmental stressor such as pathogens or emotional stress can all contribute to the development of the disease. It is sometimes linked with other autoimmune diseases like systemic lupus erythematuos, vitiligo and rheumatoid arthritis.


    The most common pattern on the disease is the spotted appearance. As such, this has been known as spot baldness.

    Diffuse alopecia areata happens when the entire head hair experiences general thinning. No accentuated areas of baldness can be distinguished.

    When all the hair in the scalp is lost, the condition is called alopecia areata totalis. This condition rarely occurs.

    The most severe of the patterns is hair loss in the entire body, including eyebrows and even pubic area. This condition, like alopecia areata totalis rarely occurs.

    Affected Population

    The condition usually occurs in the younger adults, teenagers and children. Adults and toddlers can also be affected.


    Bald spots can be seen immediately in the scalp and beard area. This spots may come in a variety of shapes. These areas may have painful of tingling sensations.

    A characteristic feature of alopecia areata is an exclamation point hair. Areas of hair loss has this kind of hair which may be seen thin near the scalp thus looking like an exclamation point.

    Scalp biopsy is the most certain diagnostic feature of alopecia. However, it is seldom necessary especially if other diagnostic features have been identified.


    Almost half of the patients with alopecia areata have hair regrowth within a year even without medical treatment. The probability of hair regrowth decreases when the period of time a person has experienced hair loss has been very long. Creams and shampoos containing fluocinonide or clobestasol have been used to improve the condition. Other medications include minoxidil and cyclosporine have been used singly or combined.

    Recently, aromatherapy oils have been shown to have positive effects on patients with alopecia areata. Aromatherapy essential oils like thyme, lavender and rosemary have promising effects.

    No single treatment has been found to cure alopecia. This is especially true since the mechanism of the disease has not yet been fully elucidated. Prevention cannot be identified also because of the said reason.


    Patients with minimal hair loss due to alopecia, or those with smaller spots before treatment usually get better and experience hair regrowth. However, those with severe hair loss prior to treatment have less likely chances of hair regrowth. This may unfortunately lead to alopecia areata totalis or alopecia areata universalis. The patients face the effects of alopecia which may be psychological or emotional stress.

  • A Hair Raising Experience

    Posted on January 8th, 2009 admin No comments
    Barry Lycka asked:

    Hair transplant refers to surgical removal of hair follicles from a hair-bearing donor site and their relocation to a balding or bald area by a grafting procedure, in order to restore normal healthy hair growth at the recipient site over a period of time. The most common application of hair transplant is in treating male and female pattern baldness.

    Hair transplant is a minor outpatient surgery carried out under local anesthesia and a single session lasts about 3 to 5 hours, depending upon the number of grafts performed.

    The total number of sessions required for full treatment will depend on the (i) the area of the bald patch, (ii) the size and number of grafts used, (iii) the hair density desired by the patient, and (iv) the individual characteristics of the hair, e.g., coarse, fine, curly, etc.

    History of Hair Transplant

    Hair transplant in its present form has evolved a long way ever since it began in 1952, when Dr. Norman Orentreich performed the first hair transplant for male pattern baldness in New York City. For many years, hair transplants were carried out using more or less the same method. It involved direct removal of 4-mm-diameter circular grafts (called punch grafts or plugs) from the back of the head by punching, giving the donor area a moth-eaten look. Each graft carried 15 to 20 hair follicles. Such large grafts resulted in acorn row or a dollar haircut look, not a fine natural look. This technique is outdated now.

    In the 1980s, hair transplant surgery evolved dramatically with the emergence of the method of harvesting mini-grafts (4 to 8 hair) and micro-grafts (1 to 3 hairs) from a strip of donor tissue; a combination of mini and micro-grafts gradually replaced the punch grafts. Mini-grafts were used to create fullness and density, whereas micro-grafts were used to give a soft, feathered natural look to the hairline.

    The nineties saw the emergence of a very refined surgical procedure called the follicular unit hair transplant (FUT). This very precise and painstaking procedure involves transplanting hair using 1- to 4-haired follicular units, exactly like how natural hair growth occurs. This procedure gives a fine natural look to the transplanted hair and is now considered a Gold Standard in hair transplant.

    Statistics on Hair Transplant

    To give you an idea of how prevalent hair transplants have become today, here are some statistical facts and figures according to the International Society of Hair Restoration Surgery (ISHRS) 2005 Practice Census: An estimated number of 168,155 hair transplant procedures were performed worldwide in 2004, of which 87,987 were in US alone. The US market for hair transplant was estimated to be a whopping US $811,684,185!

    Hair Transplant Procedure Today

    The procedure begins with the removal of a donor strip (usually 1 and 1.5 cm wide) from the back or sides of the scalp under local anesthesia. The opening is then closed with self-absorbable sutures. The donor strip is then dissected into grafts of three different sizes: single-hair micro-graft, 2-hair single follicular unit, and 2 and 4-hair modified follicular unit. This takes about 2 to 3 hours. After the individual hair follicles are isolated from the donor strip and the excess tissue removed, they are immediately inserted into pre-cut micro and mini slits or punctured holes that are strategically placed so as to give a natural and aesthetically appealing look to the hair that will grow in future from the transplanted follicles. An expert surgeon can place up to 50 grafts per square cm. The surgery does leave a scar in the donor area, but that gets covered once the hair grows fully.

    A far less invasive method of obtaining hair grafts for transplant is the follicular unit extraction (FUE) method. Here the surgeon examines the donor tissue under a microscope and selects individual follicular units and then plucks them out using a fine needle, eliminating the need to excise the skin from the back of the head. The benefits of the FUE method are faster healing, less trauma, no strip scar, and the surgeon’s ability to individually select follicular units. However, this procedure is far more time-intensive than the traditional strip methods and therefore much more expensive.

    Since the hair transport involves outpatient surgery, recovery is speedy. You can go to work the very next day itself and carry out all your normal activities within a week. Post-surgery, you would need to take the prescribed antibiotics and vitamin supplements for some days to avoid wound or graft infections and aid healing. The transplanted hair will fall in 2 to 4 weeks time and new hair will start growing in 3 to 4 months time; within 6 to 9 months the hair growth will become normal, allowing you to style your hair as you please.

    Since the hair is transplanted from ones own scalp, it is a safe procedure with no major or long-term side-effects. The only important requirement to get good results is to have healthy hair growth at the donor sites. So do not wait to get your hair transplant done until you go completely bald!

    Other Areas for Hair Transplant

    Other than treating male/female pattern baldness, hair transplant surgery makes it possible to restore hair on other areas of the body too, e.g., eyebrows, eyelashes, chin, moustache, sideburns, chest and pubic area.

    According to ISHRS 2005 Practice Census, 95% of the hair transplant surgeries were done for treating baldness (89% for male baldness, with 30% of them being in their 40s). Approximately 3% of hair transplants were performed on eyebrows, about 1% on moustache/beard, 0.35% on eyelashes, 0.34% on the pubic area, and 0.06% on the chest.

    In fact, the earliest hair transplant carried out by a Japanese dermatologist Dr. Okuda in 1939 was for restoring hair on the eyebrows and eyelashes of burn patients by using small grafts from the scalp.

    Advantages of Hair Transplant

    The greatest and most palpable advantage of hair transplant is that you have your own new crop of hair thats there for keeps! Unlike a wig, there is no fear of transplanted hair moving around or changing position, no matter what the activity. And since the transplanted hair is harvested from your own scalp, there is also no fear of tissue rejection or foreign body reaction as in other organ transplants. Also there is no headache of matching color and texture that you face while shopping for a wig.

    The transplanted hair can be shampooed and styled just like normal hair, because they are your normal hair. A hair transplant can immediately take away 10 years off your visible age. It makes your looks youthful and boosts your self-esteem.

    How Expensive is Hair Transplant?

    Though at first glance a hair transplant procedure may appear expensive, in the long run it can turn out to be more economical than buying wigs. Due to the stiff competition in the hair transplant market, the rates have fallen from the earlier US $15 per graft to US $3 per graft. Of course, the number of grafts required will depend on the area of the bald patch, the size of the graft, the required hair density, etc. In general, the total cost of hair transplant can vary from US $4000 to $15,000.

    Whatever the case, considering the boost and positive energy it adds to the psyche, a hair transplant is worth every cent. After all, its hair today, not gone tomorrow.

  • How Much do You Know About Hair Loss?

    Posted on January 5th, 2009 admin No comments
    Benedict Smythe asked:

    Hair loss is most commonly known as baldness. It is the condition of losing hair, most conspicuously on the head. Angrogenetic alopecia, otherwise known as male-pattern baldness is the most famous hair loss problem among men.

    Normally, hair at the telogen phase falls off. Normal amount of hair fall is 25-100. When hair fall exceeds the normal, the condition is already hair loss leading to baldness.

    Male Baldness

    Male pattern baldness or angrogenetic alopecia is the most popular type of baldness, especially among males. This is characterized by a receding hairline. The usual onset is at 25 years, although receding hairline in teen is commonplace. This condition is an inherited trait.

    Males with male pattern baldness have lower levels of testosterone as compared to normal males. And they also have higher levels of androgen, specifically dihydrotestosterone (DHT).

    Female Baldness

    Female pattern baldness usually has more than one cause. The most likely cause of baldness in women is same as in men: androgenetic alopecia. The usual course of hair loss in women begins at the age 50 but can occur as early as 20 especially when puberty started early. In contrast to the receding hairline in men, female pattern baldness is characterized by a diffuse hair thinning of the entire scalp.

    Unlike men, other types of baldness occur in women. Trichotillomania results from compulsive pulling of hair strands. This condition results in a patchy appearance since hair pulling tends to concentrate in a particular area.

    Triangular alopecia can also occur in women. In this case, hairs in the temporal regions are lost. It usually begins in childhood. The cause for this is unknown but can be corrected medically.

    Scarring alopecia is typical of African-American women who often have tight braids or corn-rows in the scalp. This usually inflames the hair follicles and subsequently producing scars that result to hair loss.

    Telogen effluvium happens when a large portion of the hair growth shifts to the telogen or the resting phase of the hair cycle. Usually, this condition happens after childbirth or after a chemotherapy session.

    Alopecia Areata

    Alopecia areata is a disorder that can occur in both men and women. This is an autoimmune disease, wherein body cells attack the hair follicles resulting to hair loss. Alopecia areata starts as spot-baldness, where certain areas of the hair are lost.

    The condition can evolve to alopecia areata totalis, wherein all the head hair is lost. And it can also become alopecia areata universalis, wherein all hair in the body including the pubic hair, is lost.


    Hair loss can be a result of a variety of causes. Common hair loss is stress-related. Stress can be brought about by personal, social, and even medical problems like diseases.

    Problems in the body’s circulating hormones can be a cause of hair loss too. Hyperthyroidism or hypothyroidism has the same effect of hair loss in humans. Hormones like androgen and estrogen also cause hair loss in both men and women. Hormonal problems need to be corrected to prevent hair loss.

    Certain medications also cause hair loss. Anticoagulants or blood thinners, chemotherapeutic drugs, gout medication, downers, birth control pills and excess Vitamin A are among those which can cause hair loss.

    Fungal and parasitic infection of the scalp can also cause hair loss. Hair loss in this case is indirect. Infections can cause itching, and some scratches can cause scarring on the scalp which will contribute to hair loss.