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Why Is My Baby Losing Hair?
Baby Losing Hair
There are many reasons why babies can begin to lose their hair, the vast majority of which are neither exotic nor harmful and can be treated rapidly and efficiently. Admittedly, if you're sure that a baby isn't simply pulling his hair out (a common habit amongst infants) then you would do well do visit a pediatrician who can correctly diagnose the problem.
This article seeks to present concerned parents a concise list of reasons why your baby is losing hair, along with symptoms and probable diagnosis, but should not substitute professional health-care advice. Chances are it isn't anything particularly worrisome, but there are some conditions that will require prompt attention.
I'll start with common occurrences and work my way down to rarer conditions.
Types of Allopecia areata
- One bald spot - Alopecia areata monolocularis
- Multiple bald spots - Alopecia areata multilocularis
- Total hair loss - Alopecia areata totalis
- Telogen Effluvium - This disorder is characterized by moderate to severe hair loss in children due to the interruption of the normal hair cycle. Telogen Effluvium can be difficult to diagnose because no standard tests apply, and due to the fact that there are many factors which can lead to the disorder appearing. If your child has undergone surgery, is showing signs of emotional stress, is anemic or has had high fevers (this is by no means an exhaustive symptomatic list), there is a chance that you've found a possible culprit.
- Alopecia Areata (pictured right) - Hair loss can literally appear overnight in sporadic and specific areas of the scalp. The underlying skin will appear to be normal and show no signs of inflammation or irritation. The disorder is not scientifically well understood and therefore there are no wonder-drugs, but the good news is that within a year the disorder should correct itself.
- Traction Alopecia - This gradual form of hair-loss is not a disorder per se, but a consequence of hair traction (pulling the hair). If you're asking yourself, "why is my baby losing hair?" the answer may simply be a question of fashion! Pigtails, braids, ponytails and dreadlocks can often cause episodes of traction Alopecia, but bear in mind that an infant will spend much of the time rubbing his hair on the ground or crib, which may also lead to hair loss.
- Tinea Tonsurans - Is a wide-spread disease, particularly in the third world, that is caused by a parasitic ringworm that lives beneath the scalp (there are eight species of Dermatophytes that have been documented to cause Tinea Tonsurans). The disease manifests itself can lead to patches of baldness characterized by redness, itching and scaling. Due to the fact that it is both highly contagious and infectious, it is likely that someone (or pets) who has had contact with the baby is also infected, but may not show any obvious symptoms. Thankfully anti-fungal treatments can efficiently cure the disease.
Other Problems That Can Cause Hair Loss
- Cancer - Certain cancers can provoke hair loss, but it is more likely due to the accompanying radiation therapy.
- Trauma and stress - Both emotional trauma and stress can definitely cause hair loss.
- Trichotillomania - Is the compulsion to pluck and twirl hair, a behavior that can be difficult to purge and causes hair loss. If you notice an almost obsessive tendency towards hair-pulling that has no apparent cause, you may have your man (figuratively speaking of course).
- Anemia and Iron Deficiency
- Lack of vitamin A
- Androgenic Alopecia - Hereditary hair loss.
- A dysfunctional thyroid.