If you have noticed small patches of hair loss it could be caused by a condition known as Alopecia Areata. This develops when the immune system attacks the hair follicles, causing the hair to fall out.
Alopecia Areata can be a distressing condition, but there are effective treatments that can often prevent further hair loss and, in many cases, help your hair grow back.
What are the Symptoms of Alopecia Areata?
The usual symptoms of Alopecia Areata are small coin-shaped areas of hair loss on your scalp. Some women may also lose hair on other parts of the body - in particular the eyelashes and eyebrows.
Most women with mild symptoms will find that their hair grows back normally within a year. It can be an unpredictable condition, however, and you may experience hair loss again in the future.
In some cases, your area of hair loss may expand, and treatment becomes more complex. That’s why we understand how important it is to offer a highly specialised and holistic approach to treating the symptoms.
What Causes Alopecia Areata?
Alopecia Areata is an autoimmune disorder. Usually the immune system protects us from infections and other diseases, but in the case of Alopecia Areata, it mistakenly attacks healthy hair follicles, causing them to shrink and eventually stop producing hair.
It is not understood exactly what triggers this autoimmune response in some people, although in around 1 in 5 cases, a genetic predisposition is believed to be a factor. Other triggers can include pregnancy, a stressful life event or a previous illness.
How is Alopecia Areata Diagnosed?
Dr Singh will always carry out a detailed clinical consultation and take a full medical history. In most cases it is possible to diagnose Alopecia Areata by looking at the pattern and extent of your hair loss and through a careful examination of your scalp.
Hair loss can be a complex condition and it is important to get an accurate diagnosis, especially if you have been suffering for a long time. Dr Singh may order blood tests to rule out other causes of hair loss - such as thyroid disorders, or iron deficiencies - which can cause the hair to fall out in a similar pattern.
Can Alopecia Areata Be Treated?
Alopecia Areata affects each woman differently. You may find that your hair grows back normally within a few months without the need for any treatment, or the condition could recur and specialist expertise might be needed.
Dr Singh is a leading Consultant Dermatologist and is one of the UK’s few specialists in female hair loss. Having had many years’ experience in this field, she understands how treatment for Alopecia Areata can require careful evaluation, to find a tailored treatment plan that works for you.
Although there is no cure for Alopecia Areata, luckily for most women, there are a range of effective treatments to stabilise your hair loss and in many cases stimulate the regrowth of your hair. These can include:
- Steroid creams and other topical medications
- Topical immunotherapy
- Steroid injections
- Light therapy
Alopecia Areata, like other hair loss conditions, requires careful diagnosis and treatment. An integrated approach that involves other specialists can often work best, and Dr Singh works alongside Consultant Gynaecologists, a Consultant Endocrinologist and a dedicated Clinical Psychologist.
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If you would like to find out more or make an appointment, please call us on 020 724 4200.