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Overview

Trichotillomania - Symptom, Treatment And Causes

What is Trichotillomania?

Trichotillomania also known as hair pulling disorder can be a hindrance to a person’s psyche. The mental health disorder makes it irresistible to recurrently pull hair out from the eyebrows, scalp and other body parts, despite wanting to stop. Pulling out hair from your scalp can often leave bald patchy spots, which cause a lot of distress and can hamper work or social functioning. People affected with trichotillomania often try everything to hide the hair loss. Some people affected with trichotillomania might have a milder form of this disorder which can be managed well. In others, the hair pulling urge gets compulsive and is overwhelming. Some treatments are there which help people reduce pulling their hair or even stop it completely. If hair pulling becomes compulsive or you are embarrassed of your looks because of the disorder, then consult your doctor. People often think of trichotillomania as a habit, and nullify it as a mental health problem. What causes trichotillomania is not known. Like most complicated disorders it probably stems from environmental and genetic factors.

The following factors increase predisposition to trichotillomania:

Age- Trichotillomania generally develops during or before the early teenage years. Often it is a lifelong problem. Infants may also develop urges to pull their hair, but this generally is mild and gets cured without requiring treatment.

Family history- Trichotillomania can be hereditary as genetics might increase the chances of having this disorder.

Other disorders- Those having trichotillomania might be affected by other disorders like OCD, anxiety and depression.

Stress- Trichotillomania might get triggered due to stressful events or situations.

A lot more women seek treatment for trichotillomania as compared to men. This might be attributed to the fact that women in general seek medical help more than men do. Girls and boys are equally affected by this disorder in their childhood.

Complications:

Trichotillomania negatively affect your life in many respects. Complications might include:

Problems Functioning- Embarrassment due to hair loss might make you avoid job opportunities and social activities. People having trichotillomania wear wigs, wear their hair differently or sport fake eyelashes. Some might abstain from intimacy, fearing that the condition will get revealed.

Emotional Distress- Many individuals having trichotillomania admit feeling embarrassed, ashamed or humiliated. They might have anxiety, depression or poor self-esteem.

Hairballs- Consuming your own hair might result in a matted large hairball formation in the digestive tract. Over the years, it might result in vomiting, weight loss, intestinal blockage and ultimately death.

Treatable by medical professional Usually self diagnosable Lab test not required
Symptoms
Hair pulling Low self-esteem

Popular Health Tips

10 Ways To Manage Trichotillomania Effectively!

CIDESCO, DGA, DBT, DBC, MBBS
Trichologist, Mumbai
10 Ways To Manage Trichotillomania Effectively!

Trichotillomania is a condition that urges a person to pull out hair from eyebrow, scalp and other parts of the body. This can lead to bald spots and several other complications in the body. Compulsive hair-pulling often starts in the teenage years.

Trichotillomania coupled with depression can lead to social and work-related impairment in a person. Hair-pulling, therefore, is a serious condition that a person should get rid of. Here is a list of 10 ways to manage trichotillomania effectively:

  1. A plan to stop trichotillomania: It is important to notice when the urge of pulling the hair starts. Once this is being identified, it is time to interrupt the chain of feelings and listen to positive reminders in the head. Keeping a journal to note down the timings of hair-pull can help to identify a pattern. The time chart can then be used to keep one engaged.
  2. Eliminate stress: It has been found that stress plays a pivotal role in hair-pull. It is, therefore, wise to prepare a list of activities that can cause stress. Once the list is prepared, each activity can then be analyzed individually and tackle accordingly. Thus, hair-pulling can be avoided.
  3. Muscle relaxation: This is another method to release stress and refrain from trichotillomania. All it requires is to tighten the muscle for 5 seconds and then make the muscles loose. It reduces muscle tension and relaxes the body.
  4. Think positive: Negative thinking is certainly one reason for hair-pull. Refraining from the fear of failure, negative thinking, too-much critical thinking etc. can help a person stay away from tension and eschew the habit of hair-pull every now and then.
  5. Try Exercise: Various studies have shown that regular exercise regimen can go a long way in cutting down the tendency to pull hair. With exercise, the body produces an increased number of endorphins. The latter is believed to be the hormone that results in positive thinking.
  6. Get sleep: Getting enough sleep is another crucial step towards eliminating Trichotillomania. Eight hours of sleep is crucial for the body to function properly. It fuels the body with enough energy and positive thought to sail through the day without having the urge to pull-hair.
  7. Talk it out: It has been found that talking it out can help a great deal to reduce the tendency of hair-pull. It makes sense to talk to close friends, family, and relatives about the apprehension and other negative news that may be bothering an individual.
  8. Consult a health professional: A doctor is the best bet when the disorder has been persistent for a long time. He can give sound counsel on the ways to cope up with the disorder and chart out a plan to get permanent relief from the condition.
  9. Medication: If a doctor feels that the condition has surpassed the state of habits and lifestyle changes, he might prescribe drugs to reduce the symptoms and get relief from depression, anxiety, fluctuating emotions resulting in less pulling of hair. Some of the common medicines that are prescribed by medical professionals include Olanzapine, Fluoxetine, and Aripiprazole.
  10. Find a support group: For those who are not willing to take a bet on doctors and medications, one best way to eliminate this condition is to join a self-help group. They act as a learning center and can greatly help to cut down the habit of hair-pulling.

In case you have a concern or query you can always consult an expert & get answers to your questions!

2757 people found this helpful

Hair Transplant- 5 Things When It's A Must

CIDESCO, DGA, DBT, DBC, MBBS
Trichologist, Mumbai
Hair Transplant- 5 Things When It's A Must

Hair transplant is a surgical procedure where hair is surgically implanted on the head. You can opt for this procedure, if you suffer from hair loss and bald spots on your head. The surgery comprises of shifting hair follicles from one part of the head to another. Mostly, hair follicles from back of the head are relocated to the balding areas.

The reasons when you can opt for a hair transplant are

  1. Involutional alopecia: It is a form of alopecia where the hair growth tends to decrease due to ageing resulting in thinning and shorter hair. The follicles remain in the telogen phase (resting phase) for an extended amount of time. You may opt for a hair transplant surgery to correct this disorder.
  2. Male pattern baldness (Androgenic alopecia): Androgenic alopecia is a condition which is characterized by a gradual receding hairline, especially along the temples. This is caused due to the testosterone hormone being converted in to Dihydrotestosterone (DHT) which causes shrinking of the hair follicles. If you are affected by male pattern baldness, then you may opt for a hair transplant surgery.
  3. Female pattern baldness: Females may also be affected by baldness which is characterized by loss of hair from the top of the head and gradual thinning of hair. It may lead to self-esteem issues; so opting for a hair transplant surgery is recommended.
  4. Traction alopecia: This type of hair loss occurs due to exertion of external pressure on the hair which may cause it to fall. If the hair does not grow back then it would result in a bald patch. Thus you may opt for a hair transplant procedure if you suffer from this disorder and experience loss of hair.
  5. Trichotillomania: This is a psychological condition where a person pulls out his/her hair. If excessive hair is lost resulting in bald spots, then you may opt for hair transplant surgery. If you wish to discuss about any specific problem, you can consult a dermatologist.
2668 people found this helpful

Understanding the Types of Hair Loss - Check Your Symptoms!

MD, D.V.D, MBBS
Dermatologist, Mumbai
Understanding the Types of Hair Loss - Check Your Symptoms!

At any point of time, only 90% of your hair is growing. The remaining 10% is resting and falls off after 2 to 3 months to make space for new hair follicles. Thus, while it is normal to shed a few strands of hair a day is normal, waking up to find multiple strands of hair on your pillow can be a nightmare for anyone.

Hair loss can be of many types and in order to treat it, you must first figure what type of hair loss you suffer from. Some of the main types of hair loss are:

  1. Involutional alopecia: This type of hair loss affects people who are middle aged and older. In such cases, more and more hair follicles go into the resting phase after which they fall off. The hair that remains becomes shorter and brittle making it easier to break.
  2. Telogen effluvium: Telogen effluvium is a temporary condition that causes changes in the hair follicle’s growth cycle and puts a number of hair follicles into the resting phase simultaneously. This is often experienced after a stressful event like a severe illness, childbirth, stress or sudden weight loss, and can last for anywhere between a few weeks to a few months.
  3. Male and female pattern baldness: For males, hair loss at the top of the scalp in an ‘M’ shape which gradually turns into a ‘U’ around the side of the head is a sign of pattern baldness. This condition makes hair follicle thinner, shorter and brittle and is triggered by genetic conditions. For women, this condition begins with hair loss at the crown and gradually progresses to complete baldness. Both male and female pattern baldness have very gradual hair loss and so you may not notice significant thinning until quite late.
  4. Patchy hair loss: One of the most noticeable symptoms of this type of hair loss is one or two smooth, hairless spots. Apart from the scalp, it can also affect the eyebrows, arms, legs and facial hair. In most cases, this has a sudden onset and is temporary. However, when hair grows back in one bald spot, it may fall out from another. In some cases, the hair may not fall out but may break, leaving behind patches of extremely short hair.
  5. Tinea capitis: This is a contagious fungal infection that affects the scalp of school-going children. It makes hair in certain patches or all over the scalp break off and triggers inflammation in the scalp. Pus-filled sores and a scaly scalp are other symptoms of this condition.
  6. Trichotillomania: Hair fall can also be triggered if you twist or pull your own hair. This psychological disorder often affects children and causes hair loss by breakage. If you wish to discuss about any specific problem, you can consult a dermatologist.
2565 people found this helpful

Hirsutism in Women - How to deal with it?

MBBS, D.V.D.L, Fellowship, DNB (Dermatology)
Dermatologist, Delhi
Hirsutism in Women - How to deal with it?

Are you growing hair in unusual places where you do not want them to be such as on the neck, chest, chin and back? Hirsutism is a medical term, which refers to excess body hair and facial hair in women. It occurs because of an increased production of androgens or male hormones. The increased sensitivity of the androgen receptors in the skin follicles also causes hirsutism.

Diagnosis
Hirsutism is diagnosed using two methods:

  1. The Ferriman Gallwey model involves the visual inspection for detecting the presence of excess hair. The amount of hair growth in nine areas of your body is quantified in this model. However, this is not an ideal method as many women shave or pluck their hair.
  2. Blood test for excess androgens is another method for diagnosis of hirsutism. The different tests include free testosterone, total testosterone and DHEAS or dehydropiandosterone sulphate. Women with PCOS (polycystic ovarian syndrome) are likely to have increased levels of free testosterone in their body because of the absence of enough sex hormone binding globulin.

Removing excess hair
There are several ways by which you can get rid of excess body and facial hair. They are as follows:

  1. Plucking is a way of hiding hair during early stages. It is an easy fix. However, plucking from the follicle may lead to the distortion of the follicle, which may cause hair to thicken and turn darker.
  2. Depilatories is another way of removing excess hair due to hirsutism. Depilatories remove excess hair by the use of a chemical which dissolves the hair.
  3. Waxing is also effective for removing excessive hair. In waxing, warm wax is spread over the affected areas; a strip of cloth is placed over it, and rubbed on the wax. After holding the skin tight, the cloth is pulled off.
  4. Several medicines are used for dealing with hirsutism in women such as oral contraceptives, which help in removing the amount of androgens in the body. The androgen production may decrease as a result of oral contraceptives. The amount of circulating concentration of androstenediones and total testosterone are also reduced. Anti androgen medicines are also prescribed in some cases.
  5. Electrolysis is opted as a measure of managing excessive hair. In the process, a needle gets inserted along the hair shaft. After this, an electric pulse is sent to the root. This makes the hair release from the follicles and they are pulled out.

Laser hair removal is the final option for hirsutism treatment. In this method, light from the laser eliminates several hairs in the affected area. The pigment present in the hair absorbs the energy from the laser and gets destroyed. If you wish to discuss about any specific problem, you can consult a dermatologist.

4260 people found this helpful

Why Diabetic Patients Develop Eating Disorders?

MBBS, CCEBDM, Diploma in Diabetology, Diploma in Clinical Nutrition & Dietetics, Cetificate Course In Thyroid Disorders Management (CCMTD)
Endocrinologist, Hubli-Dharwad
Why Diabetic Patients Develop Eating Disorders?

Diabulimia is a type of eating disorder in which patients of Type 1 diabetes intake less amount of insulin purposely, in order to lose weight. This disorder, however, is not a formal diagnosis. The disorder may be defined as disturbed eating behavior. 

Our body requires insulin for moving glucose from the blood to the cells. In type 1 diabetes patients, the pancreas stop producing insulin and glucose gets stored in our bloodstream. This causes extra stress on the kidney in getting rid of excess of sugar. The body gets devoid of glucose and the calories associated with it and a rapid loss in weight occurs. Patients develop binge eating, with more emphasis on sugar and carbohydrate enriched foods. The excess sugar gets out of the body by urinating.

The symptoms of this disease are:

  1. Occurrence of hyperglycemia
  2. Developing a habit of eating more, but still experiencing weight loss
  3. The shift in weight may be dramatic
  4. The energy level is low
  5. Eating patterns turn unusual
  6. Binge eating
  7. Developing an obsession for food
  8. Enhanced awareness about body image
  9. Feeling anxious about the weight
  10. A delay occurs in sexual maturity or attaining puberty
  11. Occurrence of stress
  12. Hospitalization is required frequently for diabetic patients
  13. Exercising amount increases
  14. The patient tends to hide food
  15. There is a smell of ketones from the breath and urine of the patient
  16. Frequency of urination gets enhanced
  17. Malnutrition occurs signalled by hair loss or drying of skin

Health hazards of Diabulimia

  1. Diabulimia can cause a great amount of permanent effects on the body, irrespective of age.
  2. Patients with diabulimia have a risk of getting early comorbidities.
  3. Health issues similar to issues arising from diabetes are observed, but are more adverse in nature.
  4. Dehydration happens along with excess urination.
  5. The patient experiences fatigue and the level of concentration falls down.
  6. An electrolyte disbalance is caused.
  7. There may be risk of heart attack, stroke, retinopathy, neuropathy, gastroparesis.
  8. Vascular disorders, gum infections and infertility in women may also occur.
  9. In the most extreme cases, death occurs.

Prevention
It has been proven by research that almost 30% of type 1 diabetes patients are the ones who abstain from or avoid using insulin in order to lose weight. This habit leads to the risk of many other fatal diseases which may be permanent in nature. Dibulimia is more common among teenage girls who suffer from type 1 diabetes and are generally obsessed with body image. Diabulimia is an eating disorder which leaves a patient at risk of acquiring many other severe diseases. It is advised not to neglect your insulin. If you wish to discuss about any specific problem, you can consult a doctor and ask a free question.

2254 people found this helpful

Popular Questions & Answers

Hello Dr. My father is suffering from psoriasis for last 10 years 2,3 years back I started losing my hairs I thought it's normal hair fall so got shaved bt as my hairs grew it started again then my joints started paining I started feeling fatigue I researched on internet about psoriasis as it can be inherited I had small small black black patches on my tummy and underarms I thought it was psoriasis and I found out that gluten causes the problem so I stopped eating wheat rai and barley (gluten source) then I lost weight around 5 to 6 kg Bt yesterday I was checking on internet about joint pain I got to hiv have same symptoms like joint pain, weight loss, weakens skin rashes and allergy please suggest me something can it be hiv or I have psoriasis as my father.

BASM, MD, MS (Counseling & Psychotherapy), MSc - Psychology, Certificate in Clinical psychology of children and Young People, Certificate in Psychological First Aid, Certificate in Positive Psychology, Positive Psychiatry and Mental Health
Psychologist, Palakkad
Psoriasis is thought to be an immune system problem. Triggers include infections, stress and cold. The most common symptom is a rash on the skin, but sometimes the rash involves the nails or joints. Treatment aims to remove scales and stop skin cells from growing so quickly. Topical ointments, light therapy and medication can offer relief.

Hello I am 21 years old and I always feel like plucking my hairs! I don’t know what makes me pluck my hair but I do it on a regular basis. Can you suggest me a solution for this.

C.S.C, D.C.H, M.B.B.S
General Physician, Alappuzha
You have a mind disturbance making you pluck hair and you need to stop it by getting mind control by meditation and yoga
1 person found this helpful

I am having very high hair fall and all my hair are got to week they got easily pulled out through their roots.

MD - Homeopathy, BHMS
Homeopath, Vadodara
The hair fall reason is internal weakness, lack of nutrition.. Without proper internal treatment it will not get solved... So don't expect any shampoo or oil helping.. Better consult and take proper treatment. You can consult me at Lybrate..for homoeopathic treatment.

I do regular oiling. Even eat healthy but hair fall is going sick.Please suggest me something for that.

C.S.C, D.C.H, M.B.B.S
General Physician, Alappuzha
It is normal to lose 50-100 hairs everyday and it will be normally replaced. You should not use shampoo and apply oil on scalp (do not wash it with soap or shampoo 0 and massage. Eat good balanced diet, Multivitamins and Zinc tablets.
2 people found this helpful

Table of Content

What is Trichotillomania?

The following factors increase predisposition to trichotillomania:

Complications:

Having issues? Consult a doctor for medical advice