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Last Updated: Sep 04, 2019
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Alopecia Areata - Treatment, Procedure, Cost And Side Effects

What Is Alopecia Areata? What is the treatment for alopecia areata? Who would need treatment for alopecia areata? Who is not eligible for the treatment? What are the negative effects of alopecia areata treatment? What are the post-treatment guidelines? How long does it take to recover from alopecia areata treatment? What is the average cost of alopecia areata treatment in India? Is alopecia areata curable? What are the alternatives to alopecia areata treatment?

What Is Alopecia Areata?

There are many factors and reasons that can lead to hair loss. One such case can be due to a condition called Alopecia Areata. It is a symptom during which your body’s immune system mistakenly attacks your hair follicles and makes them appear weak and fall off. The damage of the hair follicles is not permanent, and 50% of the individuals can witness their hair regrowing back in the affected area, while the other 50 % have to go in for some treatment to regain the lost hair. In some rare cases, the condition can be permanent.

There is no known reason as to why exactly the immune system attacks the hair follicles, but experts believe that it's due to an allergic chemical imbalance that occurs. The situation also multiplies when you have the condition hereditarily. It usually affects only in patches. The area where it affects can start losing hair while the area around it will be with dense hair. The condition as stated earlier can go away on its own but treatment is the best option if the condition does not subsidize. Intake of medicines and applying certain hair products like hair oil can keep the condition in check. However, it is not a tailor-made solution for all and these treatments work differently for different individuals.

What is the treatment for alopecia areata?

Before starting the treatments, you might be advised by the doctors or the trichologist to wait for a year before beginning. This is due to the fact that Alopecia Areata has a tendency to minimize on its own and you can regrow your natural hair back. However, when the hair does not grow back, you have to opt in for treatments. The most common forms of treatment would be the intake of medications and drugs to promote hair growth. Certain chemical based oils and solutions can be used like minoxidil and Anthralin.

In some cases, the medication is done as an injection to the scalp, and these can be had with a gap of four to six weeks. Hair regrowth may start appearing after about three to four months after starting the treatment. In some of the cases, the hair would be fragile, and your regrowth may not be of expected standards. In such cases, if you prefer a full head of hair it would be wise to go for permanent hair solutions like hair transplantation. It is a procedure where the hair follicles from the stronger part of the scalp are surgically implanted into the weaker areas. After the follicles start to take root, new hair begins to form in the affected area.

Who would need treatment for alopecia areata?

Any individual who is suffering from patchy hair loss can be eligible for the treatment. The treatment is mostly undertaken when there is a severe case of hair loss, and the hair does not grow back in the bald patches. It is better to wait for a period of about six months to one year before opting for the treatment as for 60 % of the individuals there are chances of hair regrowing back.

Who is not eligible for the treatment?

Individuals who might be having allergic reactions to certain chemicals and drugs should not undergo the treatment for Alopecia Areata. Also if you are opting for injections, you should check yourself that you are not suffering from any other medical conditions. Also if you are a heart patient do check with your doctor about the drugs you might have to undertake.

What are the negative effects of alopecia areata treatment?

Since these are artificially inducing the re-growth of your hair follicles, you can experience some side effects. These can include skin itching in the scalp to redness in the region. Also if you are taking medications and hair growth pills, there is a chance that it can affect your reproductive organs and your sex life to an extent. Make sure that you have all the queries addressed with the doctor before you go for the medications.

What are the post-treatment guidelines?

Diet is the major change that you have to undergo, and there could be some changes to your lifestyle. You have to reduce the intake of certain foods and in a few cases completely avoid some foods that can hamper with the treatment. Since the treatment is either in the form of medicines or oils, care should be taken that you do not get any side effect.

How long does it take to recover from alopecia areata treatment?

You can get back to your normal activities during your period of treatment. You would be undergoing these treatments either in medications or oils and lotion. Hence your normal work life would not be affected. The results of the medications can also depend on the individual’s medical condition. The average visible results can start appearing after a period of six months.

What is the average cost of alopecia areata treatment in India?

The price of the oils and the lotion can start from INR 500, and the treatment and the tests can depend on the clinic or the medical center you are undertaking the treatment. While choosing the hospital, always ensure that you pick a clinic with reputation and also make sure that your trichologist is an experienced person in treating Alopecia Areata.

Is alopecia areata curable?

Once again the permanency of the treatment depends on the person’s medical condition. In a few individuals the condition goes away, but after a brief hiatus, it can come back while for others the hair growth can be permanent. Do consult with your doctor about the possible conditions you might be having and the best treatment to take for it.

What are the alternatives to alopecia areata treatment?

If you are planning an alternate way, go for the permanent procedure of hair solutions such as hair transplants. It is a surgical procedure that takes your hair follicles and implants hem in the area where you are experiencing a bald patch. This is one of the efficient ways to get a stable solution for hair loss.

Key Highlights

Safety: High

Effectiveness: High

Timeliness: Medium

Relative Risk: Medium

Side Effects: Medium

Recovery Time: Medium

Price Range: RS. 500 and above

Popular Questions & Answers

Im suffering from severe hair fall for past 2 weeks. I was using folligain lotion and ketoconazole shampoo, does this cause hair fall? Do I need to stop this? Pls provide any solution.

MD, MBBS
Dermatologist, Chennai
No. You are suffering from hormonal changes causing androgenetic alopecia causing hair fall. It's completely stoppable even regrowth of hair is possible with certain medications without any side effects. Treatment depends on the grade of hair loss...

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