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Video

Dr Pixie:

There’ve been quite a few comments from people worried that they might have alopecia, and many of you are saying ‘oh I’m in the shower and I’m getting loads of hair down the plughole or it’s coming out in my bed, or when I brush my hair’. The thing is that there is a difference between hair fall and alopecia itself. Alopecia we define as coin sized bald patches, so if you haven’t got any bald patches, you haven’t got alopecia. Very often you can experience hair fall due to things like iron deficiency, a thyroid problem or low levels of vitamin and minerals. So it’s really, really important, for these people who’ve put these messages on here, to go and have some basic blood tests from your GP.

I’ve had a question from an eighteen year old who’s had alopecia areata for a year and she tells me that she’s been to see a trichologist, which is a hair expert, who told her to come off the contraceptive pill because this could be the cause. My feeling with this is that there’s no medical evidence to suggest the contraceptive pill causes alopecia areata. We think of it as an auto-immune condition, where your body rejects your hair, rather than due to anything that you’re putting into your body yourself, such as the pill. So, in terms of the concerns that it might cause it, I think they’re unfounded. Probably for me most important, is if you’ve had alopecia areata for a year, it really is worth asking your GP to refer you to a dermatologist, because there are treatments that can be tried, ranging from injections to creams, so it’s really, really important to get this assessed further.

Lots of you are worried about stress and hair loss, and without a doubt, it’s very, very true, stress can make your hair fall out. We often see women for example who’ve had babies or we see people who’ve been through a very, very stressful time lose hair, and this generally tends to occur about a month to two months after the stressful event. We call this telogen effluvium. Rest assured, the hair tends to grow back, it usually is back to normal in about three to six months, so don’t despair. If you’re someone who has general levels of stress and again you feel your hair is thinning, or it’s falling out, have a look at your stress levels and also examine things like your nutrition, like your iron and your thyroid function, and make sure there aren’t any medical factors contributing to it. But again rest assured, if you haven’t got bald patches, then hopefully, this is just a transient event.

There’s lots of women leaving comments on here about hair loss and their concerns and understandably because, let’s face it, it is really our crowning glory. Now there is something that you need to be really, really careful of and that’s alopecia due to traction. Many women who braid their hair really tightly or maybe have to wear something like a headpiece or are addicted to the straighteners, so they’re pulling and putting their hair under traction on a daily basis can cause damage to the hair follicles, and as a result this can give rise to bald patches. So if you have been noticing bald patches and you think you are putting your hair under too much stress or traction then stop, use an alternative hair maintenance regime, because otherwise you could end up having a very bad hair day indeed.

If you’re suffering from alopecia or just simple hair fall then do seek some help. Yes we may not have a magic cure but there are certainly things that may facilitate hair re-growth faster. These could be things which include vitamin supplements and mineral supplements to specific treatments for bald patches of alopecia such as ointments, immunotherapy or injections, and those of you who are despondent or have had this problem for a long time, remember, if medical treatment has failed you there’s always the option of seeing a trichologist and having either a bespoke wig made or even a weave into your existing hair. The results are amazing and I can assure you they will change your confidence dramatically.

Read the video transcript

Doctor Responses: Alopecia

Alopecia affects a remarkable number of us at one time or another, and the Embarrassing Bodies website has been inundated with questions about the condition.

In this video Dr Pixie answers some of the most common questions we’ve received, helping to arm you with the facts about alopecia. The majority of these questions were posted by viewers on our alopecia condition guide.

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For the past few months I have noticed hair loss on one side of my head. It's noticeable when I put my hair up but not when hair is down. I'm 25 years old and have only noticed this for past 5 months or so. It has not got any worse during this time but jm worried it will. Can anyone answer what this could be down to or had similar? Will the area grow hair back?





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I had a baby 6 months ago and have noticed quite a big bald patch on right side of the top of my head why is this happening? Is it to do with hormones or could it be something else ?





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Hi my hair started thinning 7yrs ago after a breast abcess. I have been to numerous doctors abo amd all blood tests are normal. I was given aldactone 200mg per day. my hair stopped falling out but started falling out again 6months ago. I was referred to a dermatologist who took a 2 second look at my scalp and diagnosed me with androgenic alopecia but he will not carry out a scalp biopsy due to the side effects. I wanted to try dianette but he would not prescibe it. What else can I do? As a 29yr old female this is getting me down.





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Hi, I am a 17 year old girl. I have had a bald patch on my head since I was two years old. Growing up it has bothered me and still does.I would say its 2cm but recently it has kind grew a little which makes me really worried I've been too embarrassed to see a doctor. My partner knows about it but has never seen it... is it Alopecia?





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Hi im 20 years old and iv had alopecia for 13 years now at the age of 7 I lost all hair on my body. My eyelashes , eyebrows, ect at the age of 16 I started to get little hair back on legs have my eyelashes back and eyebrows amd from the last year i started getting armpit hair but still have no hair what so ever on my head and have worm wigs most of my life I havent had any help from the hopital for many years now I also suffer from endometriosis and imflamed pelivs deases and suffered from about 5 pelivis infections this year 2014 what kind of help can I get as I feel so alone with my issus and feel like nothing getting done to helping me get treatment





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Hi on both sides of my head my hairs been falling out its been doing this for the past 7 years now and its getting annoying as can barely put my hair up.I would have thought it would have grown back but nothing





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I have been thinning on the top of my head for 4 years now I'm 29 and a man ..and I used to have long length of hair passed my shoulders. I had to cut it all of and start from scratch but now I notice it when the hair grows back more than a few inches and it looks terrible. Will I be able to rock out ever again. I will say my mum has thinning hair across the whole of her head but mines only thin at the very crown...and I've noticed it when looking at the cameras on the bus. I didn't believe it was my head please help me I'm very self-conscious





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Is public hair fall can be a cause of alopecia..?Because 3 four days i am noticing that my public hair is falling in increasing levels..what could be the reason..?





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Lian here again, for anyone taking the contraceptive pill, stop now! I was on it for 10 yrs. Apart from losing 80% of my hair - I've recently had a miscarriage after 6 months of trying to conceive - first pregnancy age 32 - and that was 2yrs off the pill!





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Hi 6 months ago I was put on Topiramate/Topamax for very bad migraine since then I have lost 85 percent of my hair my GP has said their is nouthing she can do as it is a side effect of the drug. unfourtuntly this is the only preventive that has worked and I have tried all the other forms... already looking at wigs





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Have you trued BOTOX? I was on Topamax as well and I lost hair and weight. Went to my Dr. and tried BOTOX and have been headache free for years. good luck.


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