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Category Archive for Diseases


I Have Alopecia Totalis — Anything You Can Recommend, Either Clinical or Cosmetic?

I am 41 years old and a female. When i was 4yrs of age, i lost all my hair, including eyebrows, eyelashes, scalp and the nails on my fingers and toes. With homeopathy over a period of time, i regained my eyelashes, eyebrows, nails. With puberty, i grew hair in the correct places, normally. Just my scalp, arms and legs remain without hair till today.

I was diagnosed with Alopecia Totalis. I am happily married with a son also now. Do you have any hope for me,whatsoever? If not clinical, then
anything cosmetic that you can recommend for me which would be available in India?

Unfortunately, there is little anyone can offer for treating alopecia totalis. There are people with this disease where the gene runs in the family and the hair loss goes complete at the age of about 4. These conditions do not reverse.

You can visit the National Alopecia Areata Foundation site for support and the latest research.


Am I Causing Permanent Damage By Scrubbing My Seborrheic Dermatitis?

Hi, I am a 21-year-old female. I have always had seborrheic dermatitis, so my scalp has always been scrubbed during shampoos, with nails, until I was about 16, when I learned it was not alright to do.

Sometimes (about a few times a year) I scratch my seborrheic dermatitis if it is itchy, or run my fingertips through my hair (with a bit of pressure) to push out blackheads on the scalp. Hair rarely comes out. Today I was running my fingers through my hair (with pressure) intermittently all day, and ended up losing about 10-20 hairs (I did not comb or wash my hair for a few days, though). When I play with my boyfriend’s hair, I end up removing his blackheads too, through fingertip-rubbing, about a couple times a month. Did I cause any permanent damage to our hair follicles?


If you pick at your scalp and repeat the process in the same area, you may lose hair permanently (see Trichotillomania Learning Center). So while I don’t know if you caused permanent loss, it’s doubtful at this point. Losing 100 hairs a day is normal, and since you didn’t comb or wash your hair for a few days it’s entirely possible that those hairs were already fallen out and just trapped.

Seborrheic dermatitis is a common condition and there are many good commercial products out there that can address it with traditional shampoos like Head and Shoulders (one of my favorites).


Not Hair Loss News - Eating Fried Foods Once a Week Boosts Prostate Cancer Risk

Snippet from the article:

Eating deep-fried foods, such as French fries and fried chicken, on a regular basis may be tied to an increased risk of prostate cancer, a new study suggests.

Previous research has suggested that eating foods prepared with high-heat cooking methods, such as grilled meat, may increase the risk of prostate cancer. But this is the first study to look at how deep-fried foods may affect that risk, the study authors said.

Researchers examined data from about 1,500 men diagnosed with prostate cancer and about 1,500 men who did not have the disease. The men, who ranged in age from 35 to 74, provided details about their eating habits.

Men who said they ate French fries, fried chicken, fried fish and/or doughnuts at least once a week were 30 percent to 37 percent more likely to develop prostate cancer than those who ate such foods less than once a month.

Read the rest — Fried Foods May Boost Prostate Cancer Risk, Study Says

The article points out that the increased risk may be due to the oils used in the frying process, or just a high fat diet in general.


In the News - Men Who Bald by 40 Years Old Are More Likely To Get Prostate Cancer

Snippet from the article:

Men who go bald by the time they reach 40 may be at increased of getting prostate cancer at an early age, according to new research.

Scientists who studied hair loss patterns in nearly 10,000 men found those who experienced receding hair lines early in life were more likely to suffer a tumour later on. The findings, by a team of researchers in Australia, support earlier studies suggesting baldness could be linked with prostate cancer.

The reasons why are not clear but previous studies indicate it may be due to higher levels of testosterone, the hormone which can trigger the development of cancerous cells but also inhibit hair growth. In baldness, it’s thought high testosterone levels have an adverse affect on the hair follicles, acting on a hormone receptor to slow down hair production.

Read the rest — Men who go bald by the age of 40 are more likely to get prostate cancer

There are relationships between crown balding and coronary artery disease that have been reported as well.


In the News - Teenager with Alopecia Traveling to Great Wall of China to Raise Awareness

Snippet from the article:

Alice FrostA teenage alopecia sufferer from Northamptonshire will complete a trek of The Great Wall of China to raise awareness about the condition.

Alice Frost, aged 16, of Denton, has been suffering from the condition, which causes severe hair loss, for about three years. She will take on the nine-day expedition with her 18-year-old sister, Sally, in September, and the pair hope to raise £7,200 for the trek and for the Alopecia UK charity.

Alice first lost a large amount of her hair while on a school trip to China and she said the expedition would take her back to a fitting place.

Read the rest — Teenage alopecia sufferer in China trek

The article wasn’t clear on what kind of alopecia she has, but it appears to be totalis or possibly universalis. I congratulate young Ms. Frost on her courage and her desire to raise awareness.



My neighbor is in his 50s with no known history of hair loss until about 5 years ago when he first noticed he was developing gray hair. He had his wife pull out every gray hair he could see daily, and it could’ve been as many as 20-30 hairs a day over the years! His daughter researched the condition of trichotillomania and does not feel he fits the diagnosis as the pulling was not done by him.

He claims he is not compelled or driven to have his hair plucked, and that as soon as he realized he was visibly thinning, he had his wife stop doing it. At that time he began to color his hair at the suggestion of his daughter. He states there has been no plucking for the past 2 years now and he has more hair on his head now than 2 years ago, when the plucking was stopped.

This sounds like maybe trichotillomania by proxy (like Münchausen syndrome by proxy, a well known phenomenon)… but I’m not sure that would fit either.

It usually takes quite a few “pulling sessions” to produce the traction required for permanent hair loss, often over years. So if his hair has regrown over the past 2 years, it sounds like he was lucky that the loss wasn’t permanent.


Could Gabapentin Be Responsible for My Female Hair Loss?

I have been taking gabapentin for years and just started to notice increased hair loss, more than would come out naturally. I’ve had chemo and all my hair came out, but that was about 6 years ago and my hair came back, but not all the way. A lot of women told me that when their hair came back it was their natural color, most women color their hair so didn’t even know what their natural color was, plus their hair came back thicker and glossier. They were all delighted.

Mine didn’t come back like that. I was taking gabapentin then and ever since. My hair came back weak, very fine, some gray in natural ‘mouse brown’, limp, awful looking and very easily broken. It was workable but I didn’t really notice it being really thin. Just in the past year and a half it has really been disappearing. I’m now wearing the wigs I used when my hair all came out with chemo.

I’ve had both knees replaced, one last July,2011 and the other last January, 2012. I thought it might have been caused by the anesthesia or the high doses of demeral? or the oxycodone I was taking for back pain. Also, beside the demerol? in the hospital the first time and then morphine the second time. But I don’t take any of that stuff since about April, 2012, around eight months ago and my hair seems to be coming out worse now. I’ve checked out all of those drugs and none of them seem to have hair loss as a side effect. Then I accidentally came across this blog and I have been enlightened. I never would have thought of gabapentin, but it sure makes sense. Is there a different medication to take the place of gabapentin? Someone help me out here?

I’m female, 64 years old, some baldness in the male side of the family, none on the female side. I take gabapentin, prilosec, atenalol?, effexor, Flexeril, Claratin, metformin, and Lantus, oxycodone/acetaminafen? when my back goes out. I take a multivitamin, vitamin C, magnesium, and iron beside the other prescription meds. What am I doing wrong? Can I be helped?

I really think you should see your doctor for your issues. Based on your medication list, you have a significant number of medical issues. You cannot just point to one drug as the source of hair loss. I wish it was that simple, but it does not work that way. In most cases the medical condition itself may be the cause (not the medication). Your issue is beyond the scope of a simple blog post. Sorry.


Is Triangular Alopecia from Menopause?

I saw some of your pictures of triangular alopecia and it seems to be what I’m experiencing except that it is not congenital and I am a 53 years old. Could it be menopause? Is there is anything I could do about it?

Triangular alopecia is not related to menopause. Triangular alopecia is an entity in and of itself, which both men and women may get and could appear almost any time, but usually is congenital. It can be treated with a hair transplant surgery very successfully.

Triangular alopecia has many appearances, but the common thread is that the hair loss is on the front/side of the scalp. These pictures from Google Image Search give some good examples of the diversity of its presentation.


In the News - Grandma Tattoos Entire Scalp Instead of Dealing with Wigs to Cover Her Alopecia

Snippet from the article:

GrandmaA grandmother left completely bald by alopecia has ditched her wig in favour of something a little more permanent - a tattoo covering her entire head.

Ann McDonald, 60, suffers from alopecia and also has a thyroid problem which resulted in all of her hair falling out three years ago.

The grandmother-of-three was inspired to get the overlapping floral design which cost a £720 after becoming fed up with having to wear wigs and hats.

Read the rest — Grandmother-of-three faces up to her hair loss in an unusual way

Wow! That is some dedication. Click the link above to see more photos.


In the News - South Carolina Woman Raises Awareness About Alopecia Universalis

Snippet from the article:

Faith Spells said it wasn’t always easy to accept her alopecia universalis diagnosis.

The 31-year-old Orangeburg resident has lived with the autoimmune skin disorder since she was 4. Her condition is the most uncommon form of alopecia, and is characterized by hair loss extending beyond the scalp to total body and facial hair loss.

“I remember waking up some days and the hair on one side of my whole head was gone,” Spells said. “It was devastating, but I never really had time to regroup because I was so young. I just knew that my mother and her friends wouldn’t let me go outside if it was too hot because of fear of me getting scarred.”

There is no known cure for the condition, but hair regrowth may occur even without treatment and even after many years, according to the National Alopecia Areata Foundation.

Read the rest — Bold and beautiful: Local woman raises awareness about autoimmune skin disease