Alopecia areata refers to a kind of disease that affects hair growth. In extreme cases it can also lead to complete baldness among children.
According to reports around 4 million people in US are affected by alopecia areata that starts from childhood. Even though there is no cure for alopecia in children, there are treatments available that may help your child grow back his hair.
Symptoms Of Alopecia Areata In Children:
Hair loss is one of the most common symptoms of alopecia areata in toddlers and children. Alopecia areata affects the hair follicles, from which hair grows. Let’s take a closer look:
- You will find hair falling out in round small patches.
- Most children suffering from this disease get few bare patches, but it may progress and lead to complete baldness as well.
- You may also notice loss of hair from your child’s body and face.
[ Read: Common Childhood Diseases And Vaccines ]
Alopecia Areata Causes In Children:
This problem of hair loss in children is considered to be an autoimmune disease. Alopecia areata is also known to be associated with autoimmune conditions like ulcerative colitis, lupus and vitiligo.
Let’s look at more causes:
- In this condition the immune system attacks its own body by mistake.
- The hair follicles are attacked that leads to loss of hair in the head and elsewhere.
- Sometimes it occurs because of genetic factors. Your child is likely to suffer from the same if anyone in the family has a history of alopecia areata.
- In case of identical twins sharing the same genes, one of them may develop alopecia areata, while the other has 50% chance of developing this disease. Thus, other factors apart from genetics have their role to play in causing this disease.
Diagnosis For Alopecia Areata In Children:
Take your child to the doctor who shall examine the pattern of hair loss and the scalp condition. He may also pull out some of the hair strands for better understanding.
Here is how the diagnosis is done:
- Your doctor can take your child’s hair samples and examine under a microscope.
- He may take a scalp sample.
- Your child may be asked to go for blood tests to check for hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism.
Treatment For Alopecia Areata In Children:
So far there is no cure for this type of disease. However, take your child to the doctor so that he can diagnose him and look for factors that are hindering his hair growth.
Here are some of the treatment options available:
- Doctors generally prescribe topical medicine and ointment to treat alopecia areata.
- The most commonly used topical medicines are minoxidil and corticosteroids.
- Corticosteroids are same as cortisol hormone that the body produces.
- Topical minoxidil approved by FDA promotes hair growth and is also useful for treating children suffering from alopecia areata.
- Children are advised to apply the solution twice daily and see some improvements after 12 weeks.
Effect Of Alopecia Areata In Children:
You may be worried when your child is diagnosed with alopecia areata. However, here is some comforting news for you:
- Your child won’t fall sick for this.
- It won’t experience pain of any sorts.
- His life expectancy is not affected in any way.
- It is not contagious.
- It will in no way interfere with his activities in school, studies, exercises, sexual life or sports.
This does not mean you can overlook the emotional aspect of hair loss. You can do the following for this:
- Talk to your child about this. Make sure you tell him that beauty should come from within.
- Take him for counseling sessions to help him develop a positive image about himself.
- You can buy him stylish bandanas or caps to minimize his appearance of loss of hair.
Do not worry and seek advice from your doctor. Your child needs your support, so work together to help him cope with his problem.
Share with us if you had seen signs of alopecia in toddlers or young children. Tell us what you did about it.
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