Alopecia is simply a loss of hair – whether that be on the head or on the body. Alopecia can be caused by a number of different factors (illness, reactions to medication, hereditary, hormonal changes), and there are a number of different types of alopecia. But there’s a few common threads that tie each type of alopecia together – one obviously being hair loss.
What other telltale signs of alopecia should you look for before seeing a doctor for a diagnosis?
1. Hair loss in patches. Small hair loss (such as noticing hair in the shower or in your hair brush) is perfectly normal and part of the lifecycle of a hair follicle. However, if you notice hair loss that’s happening in patches, that’s generally a sign of alopecia.
2. Broken hair follicles. If you notice that your hair is breaking off, instead of falling out, it’s possible that alopecia is the culprit. Hair breakage is common in people with alopecia, as is hair that’s easily pulled out.
3. Hair loss in the front of the head. Hair loss that occurs in the front of the head (avoiding the direct hairline) is also generally a strong sign of alopecia. While the hairline stays in tact, the front and top of the head (immediately behind the hairline) will oftentimes experience hair loss first.
4. Hair thinning gradually. Hair that has thinned gradually – even over a longer period of time – can be an early sign of alopecia that’s followed by hair breakage and hair loss.
If you notice any of these changes happening very quickly, it’s important to see your healthcare provider to rule out any potential illness, since that can produce immediate hair loss. Talking to a physician can help you pinpoint the cause of alopecia and they can help you develop a plan for moving forward.
What signs and symptoms did you experience before being diagnosed with alopecia?