Chronic Alopecia

WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW:

Chronic alopecia is a condition where you lose your hair. It may happen on any part of the body. Many conditions can affect the hair follicles and reduce hair growth. Chronic alopecia may be a symptom of an illness, an infection, or another condition.

INSTRUCTIONS:

Medicines:

  • Hair growing agents: This medicine helps promote hair growth. It must be used continuously until new hair grows on the affected area.

  • Steroids: Steroid medicine helps decrease inflammation and damage to the hair follicle. Corticosteroids may be used to treat alopecia areata.

  • Estrogen: This is a female hormone that is used for women with hyperandrogenism (high levels of male hormones). Estrogen can reduce the effects of male hormones on hair growth. This treatment is used in women with male pattern baldness.

  • Immunologic agents: This medicine affects the immune systems cells that may be attacking hair follicles. This treatment is used to treat alopecia areata. Your caregiver may start treatment with a small dose at first and slowly increase the dose with each treatment. The frequency of treatment may be reduced once your caregiver sees improvement in your condition. Treatment is stopped when there is no improvement for 6 months.

Follow up with your primary healthcare provider as directed:

Your primary healthcare provider may recommend that you see a specialist such as a dermatologist, endocrinologist, or mental health provider to help your chronic alopecia. Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.

Self-care:

  • Avoid hair and scalp trauma: Use a soft-bristled hair brush to protect your scalp from damage. Avoid the overuse of chemicals such as permanent wave solutions on your hair. Avoid hairstyles that pull your hair too much.

  • Eat a healthy diet: Ask if you need to be on a special diet.

  • Reduce stress: Try to get enough sleep and daily exercise. Learn new ways to relax, such as deep breathing, meditation, and listening to music. These may help you cope with stressful events.

Contact your primary healthcare provider if:

  • You have problems thinking and concentrating.

  • You feel anxious or fearful with sweating and a fast heartbeat.

  • You feel that you cannot cope with your condition.

  • You have a change in your appetite, or you sleep a lot more or less than usual.

  • You have new signs or symptoms even with treatment.

  • Your scalp is very itchy.

  • You have questions about your condition or care.

Return to the emergency department if:

  • You feel like hurting yourself or others.

© 2014 Truven Health Analytics Inc. Information is for End User's use only and may not be sold, redistributed or otherwise used for commercial purposes. All illustrations and images included in CareNotes® are the copyrighted property of A.D.A.M., Inc. or Truven Health Analytics.

The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

Learn more about Chronic Alopecia (Aftercare Instructions)

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