The structure and appearance of hair is highly dependent on genetics and care. However, there are situations when problems arise due to violations in the work of internal organs. In such cases, it is impossible to completely restore the beauty of the hair with standard cosmetic procedures.
A disease such as autoimmune alopecia is accompanied by suppression of the hair root system at the cellular level. Often the problem lies in the violation of the body’s defenses: antibodies are produced against its own tissues. Killer cells begin to destroy the hair follicles, the structure of the hair deteriorates.
Description of autoimmune alopecia
Autoimmune alopecia – hair loss, which is provoked by hormonal changes (sex hormones are not involved here) or activation of the T-killer link of immunity. The main symptom of the disease is complete or partial baldness.
Autoimmune alopecia in both women and men appears spontaneously, for no apparent reason. It brings physical and psychological discomfort. Hair can fall out completely without proper treatment.
Causes of Autoimmune Alopecia
Trichologists believe that autoimmune alopecia can occur against a background of disease.
Toxic diffuse goiter. It is most commonly found in women. Symptoms are sudden weight loss, hyperhidrosis, bulging, tachycardia.
Lupus erythematosus. The disease is also more common in women. It is hard to bear. Lupus appears as a rash that covers the body and scalp.
Diabetes. The disease occurs in both men and women. It leads to the death of cells that form the endocrine part of the pancreas. Symptoms are thirst, weight loss or gain, and blurred vision.
Chronic thyroiditis. A disease that damages the tissues of the thyroid gland. Symptoms may include fatigue, constant feeling of weakness, and hair loss.
Rheumatoid arthritis. The disease most often occurs in women 35-40 years old. It proceeds rapidly, affecting the joints.
Other factors can lead to autoimmune baldness:
prolonged depression, severe stress;
increased iodine content in the body;
chronic respiratory diseases;
lack of vitamins and minerals;
bad ecology, work in the chemical industry.
If a person has problems with immunity, then autoimmune pathologies can manifest themselves throughout life. The destruction of the hair follicles is sometimes accompanied by lesions of the nail plates.
To identify the root cause of the disease, you need a doctor’s consultation and a thorough diagnosis.
Symptoms of autoimmune alopecia
Hair loss is often accompanied by the following symptoms:
high blood pressure;
sudden mood swings;
disruption of the systems of the gastrointestinal tract;
With autoimmune alopecia, hair loss occurs in lesions. If the disease is not treated in a timely manner, you can lose more than 25% of your hair. You should consult a doctor if any of the above symptoms appear.
Stages of alopecia
Autoimmune alopecia goes through three stages:
Progressive. Hair quickly falls out, lesions appear, which grow and merge.
Stationary. The lesions do not change their size.
Regressive. In places of baldness, fluff appears, which is eventually replaced by normal hair.
In complex forms, the disease becomes resistant to treatment, which leads to irreversible consequences.
Separate stages may not be observed if the disease is acute. The chances of losing all your hair are high.
In addition to visual inspection, mandatory measures for autoimmune hair loss are:
trichoscopy – helps to assess the condition of the hair shafts and follicles;
analyzes for trace elements;
phototrichogram – allows you to assess the indicators of hair growth.
In addition to visiting a trichologist for autoimmune alopecia, consultations of a therapist, immunologist, rheumatologist and endocrinologist are required. Experts will send:
for a biochemical and general blood test;
rheoencephalography, which allows to assess the speed of blood flow;
a blood test for hormones;
Ultrasound of the thyroid gland.
Only a specialist can determine the main cause of hair loss, prescribe the correct treatment and monitor its effectiveness. It is very important for patients not to ignore the symptoms, but to seek medical attention in a timely manner.
Treatment of autoimmune alopecia is carried out using traditional methods. The choice of specific methods depends on a number of factors:
the underlying disease is the primary source;
stage of the disease;
the age of the patient;
There are two main treatment regimens. They differ in that they are used for different severity of alopecia. The first scheme is suitable if less than 50 % of the hair on the head is lost . The second – if more than 50%.
When less than half of the hair has fallen out, for the treatment of autoimmune alopecia, the patient may be prescribed:
multivitamin complexes, necessarily containing B vitamins;
minoxidil (an effective hair loss treatment);
corticosteroids (used both intradermal injections and topically on the foci of baldness).
The second treatment regimen, when more than 50% of hair is lost, involves the use of the following drugs:
irritants, allergens applied to the foci of alopecia.
There are also salon and physiotherapy treatments indicated for autoimmune alopecia.
Magnetic, laser or electromagnetic resonance therapy. The EMRI procedure allows you to suppress the pathogen, and magnetic and laser therapy – to restore the functionality of the thyroid gland.
Plasma therapy. The method helps to stimulate hair growth and involves injections of plasma into the areas of baldness.
Mesotherapy. It implies the injection of vitamins or other nutrients into the skin, which helps to strengthen hair follicles and hair regeneration.
The recovery period after autoimmune alopecia is long. Hair transplantation helps to avoid psychological discomfort and hide aesthetic problems. However, with autoimmune alopecia, it is almost impossible.
During the period of treatment, it is extremely important to monitor the correct nutrition. It is recommended to exclude fried, fatty, starchy foods from the diet. We need to eat more fermented milk and dairy products, seasonal fruits and vegetables. Also, experts recommend jelly-like dishes from fruits or berries, meat jellied meat, fish aspic, since these products are rich in collagen.
In the fight against autoimmune alopecia and for the body as a whole, daily walks in the fresh air and adherence to sleep are beneficial.
In the treatment of autoimmune alopecia, the psychoemotional component plays an important role. Sometimes the patient is referred for a consultation with a psychologist in order to talk about the problem of hair loss, calm down and tune in to a positive result. It is important to consider comorbid psychological conditions and psychiatric illnesses.
Unfortunately, there are no specific methods that can protect a person from autoimmune alopecia. However, doctors are reminded of general guidelines for scalp and hair care.
Use hair care products regularly. It’s good if these are compositions from natural ingredients.
Always protect hair from the elements. You need to wear a hat in the cold, a hat on hot sunny days, and hide your head from the rain and wind.
Timely contact trichologists, hairdressers, cosmetologists. Preventing dandruff and other diseases, overcoming the problems that have arisen make the hair stronger and prevent it from falling out.
Do not use drugs that can cause alopecia.
If you do not start treatment in a timely manner, then unpleasant consequences are guaranteed:
hair loss will spread to other areas of the head;
the chance of restoring hair density with total alopecia is no more than 10%.
The course of the disease is not always predictable. Many patients recover in the first year of therapy, and sometimes without treatment. In some patients, relapses are possible.
Forecasting is influenced by the following factors:
spread of alopecia (focal, total, diffuse);
type of ophiasis (baldness nests);
the presence of follicular atrophy;
the duration of the hair loss process;
the presence of autoimmune diseases;
the presence of symptoms on the nails.
Without timely treatment, autoimmune alopecia causes complications in the form of mental disorders, problems with self-esteem, and other psychologically negative conditions.
Hair is an indicator of health. If they fall out, this indicates a latent disease. The first symptoms that indicate alopecia should not go unnoticed.
Treatment with folk methods
Alternative medicine offers its own methods of dealing with autoimmune alopecia.
It is recommended to rub the oils into the scalp with sponges or soft brushes. Burdock and castor oils are best suited for this. The procedure should take about 30 minutes, and then the head should be covered with a towel for the best effect.
It is proposed to act on the foci of alopecia with tinctures of capsicum. The composition can be made by yourself or bought at a pharmacy. The recipe is as follows: take one pepper, pour vodka over it and leave for a week. Further, the composition must be applied to problem areas.
You can make a milk mask with black bread. To do this, the crumb is soaked with milk and immediately applied to the bald spot. You need to keep such a mask on your head for 1 hour.
It is important to understand that when it comes to baldness, folk remedies are not always effective, moreover, they can be harmful. In particular, if the hair loss is in the acute phase, nothing can be actively rubbed in – this will contribute to even greater hair loss.