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Trichotillomania

more about Trichotillomania


  • In this condition, a child pulls out his or her own hair.  Usually it is pulled from the scalp, but occasionally it is pulled from the eyebrows or eyelashes.

  • The main symptom, and usually the only symptom, is patches of hair loss from the scalp.

  • This is thought to be a reaction to stress.  If it occurs in pre-teens and teenagers, it might also be a sign of any number of psychiatric conditions.

  • It is difficult to be certain of this diagnosis, since the child hardly ever admits to hair pulling or stress.
  • If a biopsy were done of an area of scalp presenting hairpulling, the physician would see tiny bleeding points surrounding the hair follicles.  Not every family wants to have a biopsy done on a child's scalp.

  • There are many proposed treatments, such as counseling or applying various substances to the hair.  If the child affected is a young, frequently the condition is a nervous habit that will end.

  • Continued hair loss
  • Peer ridicule and embarrassment for the affected child

  • Patches of hair loss should be brought to the attention of your physician, since there may be several causes to be distinguished, and each cause has a different treatment
  • In the case of trichotillomania, no single treatment has wide acceptance among all physicians.

  • Fungal infection of the scalp (tinea capitis) is a common condition.
  • One can do fungal cultures to look for fungal infection, and one can also look for fungus by highlighting the scalp with a special light (called a Wood's lamp).  With the room light off and the Wood's lamp on, most areas of fungal infection of the scalp have a fluorescent glow.  One problem is that not every fungus causes the fluorescence.
  • Alopecia Areata is a common condition of spontaneous hair loss, especially from the scalp.  It has no known cause.  In Alopecia Areata, the nails are often affected as well.  The nails have pits and ridges in them.
  • If a biopsy were done of an area of scalp that had Alopecia Areata, the physician would see inflammatory cells, called round cells, surrounding the hair follicles.
  • Traction alopecia is loss of hair from the scalp due to prolonged tension on the hair, usually from braids.




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