Alopecia is the medical term for hair loss, and children can experience alopecia for several reasons. The majority of children can be diagnosed with one of the respective conditions by their pediatricians:
Tinea capitis, often known as ringworm of the scalp, is a fungal infection that affects the scalp. On the child’s head, you may observe scaly areas that are circular or oval, and the hair can break off, leaving black patches on the scalp.
Alopecia areata is a form of non-contagious hair thinning that is considered to be caused when the child’s immune system attacks its hair follicles. You can suddenly discover that there are circular or oval bald spots that are smooth and hairless.
Trichotillomania is a type of hair loss that is not communicable and is brought on by a youngster tugging, plucking, or otherwise removing their hair. There is a possibility that they will experience uneven hair loss along with breaking hair. Anxiety and stress are common factors that bring on this condition.
Telogen effluvium is a disorder that can be induced by significant stress (high fever, serious injury, surgery, a family member’s death, or sensitivity to certain prescription medicine), which breaks the regular hair development cycle.
The hair follicles will stop growing, and a few weeks following the stressful incident, you may notice that your child is shedding an abnormally large amount of hair, which can sometimes lead to complete or partial baldness.
In children, nutritional deficiencies are a less prevalent cause of hair loss; a lack of zinc or biotin or an excess of vitamin A can cause hair loss.
Problems with the endocrine system can cause a child to experience hair loss; one such condition is hypothyroidism. This describes a disorder when the thyroid is not generating enough hormones to regulate the body’s metabolism properly and is underactive.
Natural hair loss – alopecia can be triggered by a variety of factors, few of which will correct themselves without the need for medical intervention. Within the first few months of life, most babies have some degree of hair loss, often followed by the growth of their adult hair.
How Can One Determine If a Child Has Pediatric Alopecia?
The child’s doctor will check their scalp to look for apparent indications of alopecia to diagnose the condition and determine its origin. Microscopic inspection is typically required to diagnose tinea capitis.
The diagnosis of alopecia areata involves a physical evaluation and a review of the patient’s medical history. Trichotillomania is typically diagnosed when other illnesses have been ruled out, a physical exam has been performed, and a discussion about recent sources of stress has taken place.
A hair-pull test and trichogram could be performed, and the child’s physician will follow up to ensure that average hair growth resumes after the stressful incident. Blood tests can diagnose hypothyroidism and nutritional deficits if any of these conditions are suspected.
What Kind of Treatment Is There for Pediatric Alopecia?
Numerous therapies are available for alopecia, and the treatment used will depend on the kind of alopecia the child has. Experts recommend oral antifungal medicine and shampoo if the physician examines the child’s scalp and determines that they have tinea capitis.
Because this sickness is contagious, the child should not share hats, pillows, or other objects that come into contact with the head. Although there is no known cure for alopecia areata, medication can frequently keep the condition under control. If the child is still young, the pediatrician may recommend powerful corticosteroid ointments that you can use on the thinning areas of their hair. Other therapeutic options are available, including oral medication, topical immunotherapy, and intralesional treatment.
Since there is no cure for telogen effluvium, the attending physician will monitor the kid to make sure that normal hair growth resumes. If nutritional deficiencies are found, experts can correct them with supplements; however, you should consult with the child’s primary care physician before beginning any treatment. The child’s primary care physician may be able to make a recommendation for a qualified mental health counselor who may assist the child in coping with the stress that can trigger trichotillomania.
Hair loss in kids can have substantial psychological impacts, including low self-esteem, despair, social isolation, and embarrassment. This treatment also involves managing the source trigger of the disorder, which involves providing reassurance and support for both the child and the parents.
Tinea capitis treatment needs to get underway as soon as the clinical diagnosis has been made, without waiting for the findings of the fungal culture. Tinea capitis can be treated with oral antifungal medication since topical antifungal treatments do not provide enough penetration into hair follicles. According to the results of randomized control trials, griseofulvin taken orally is the most effective treatment option.
A dermatologist referral for administering systemic glucocorticoids and carefully monitoring is needful for treating kerion and favus. Tinea capitis in kids has a favorable diagnosis, with complete clearance observed in most patients who are effectively treated. The most major risk of alopecia is either the absence of a diagnosis or the persistence of disorder for an extended period.
It is essential to check for tinea capitis in close relations and family members, and treatment should begin simultaneously if the condition is found. Because there is a possibility that family members could be asymptomatic carriers, they should employ antifungal shampoo on their hair for a period of 2 to 4 weeks and stop sharing hair items or other equipment. Because pets can act as reservoirs for dermatophytes, it’s important to get pets checked out by a veterinarian if numerous people in your household are infected.
The appearance of alopecia in children is unusual but essential in primary care. Several disorders are responsible for a substantial amount of psychosocial stress patients experience. The child can achieve an accurate diagnosis and prompt referral to the relevant specialists by taking a systematic method to the assessment process. This entails taking a comprehensive background check, a full-body analysis, and proper treatment.