Alopecia and Homeopathy
Homeopathy promotes re-growth of hair, control the progress and spread of bald spots to other regions. It is an excellent solution for hair problems related to the mind, such as stress-related patchy hair loss.
Hair is the most basic, elementary 'prerequisite' to life's dynamics. It 'reflects' and also affects how people think, or feel, about themselves. If long, smooth curls and deep, rich lustre, in women, are essential ingredients of 'body beautiful,' a well-groomed, fulsome hair, for men, is just as much imperative; also fundamental.
Hair is the proverbial allure. It can make or break relationships.
For women, it can lure one's prince charming. A receding hairline, likewise, is as much a ground for separation. It can, in addition, undermine one's self-esteem, or self-confidence, no less.
Hair loss is not just a cosmetic dilemma; it is primarily a medical problem with numerous underpinnings.
Alopecia areata is loss of hair in patches. In certain cases, it can extend to the eyebrows, eyelashes and facial hair (beard and moustache), while activating bald spots anywhere in the body. Though the disorder can affect any hair-bearing area of the body, the term, alopecia areata connotes primarily patchy hair loss from the scalp. The condition is benign in most cases, but it can cause extreme emotional and psychosocial stress in some affected individuals.
Alopecia areata is an auto-immune disorder, where the immune system of the body mistakenly attacks its own cells - in this case, the hair follicles - and, destroys them. This results in hair being lost from the affected area. This unusual response is triggered by a number of factors, such as hormonal or thyroid problems, anaemia, certain drugs, chemicals and emotional stress, among others.
Other causes include hormonal (DHT, or dihydrotesterone) problems, genetics and flawed diet, or nutritional deficiencies. The best part is - hair loss, it is evidenced, predicts an underlying disease. Hair starts thinning 5-6 weeks before the detection of diabetes. Likewise, hair loss on the crown is said to imply a three-fold increased risk of heart disease in men. In addition, the condition may be diagnosed by a history of a preceding illness (e.g., lupus, a damaging immune disorder).
Among hair disorders, none arouses as much interest as alopecia areata. The reason for this is the uniqueness with which the disorder presents itself:
- Alopecia areata can affect people of any age - from infancy right up to one's 80s
- It can progress rapidly leading to complete loss of scalp hair in a span as short as 15 days, or can limit itself to one small persistent patch throughout a person's life
- It has phases of remission and relapse even when the individual is on medication. In rare instances, it can relapse 20 years after the first episode
- In certain cases, hair loss is more extensive
- It may sometimes progress to total loss of hair on the head (alopecia areata totalis), or complete loss of hair all over the body (alopecia areata universalis).
Diagnosing alopecia areata is probably one of the easiest things to do, especially for a doctor, since the appearance of a bald patch is so typical. In addition, a close examination of the scalp, by the doctor, will reveal a smooth bald patch. One of the characteristic findings of alopecia areata is the 'exclamation point.' This atypical appearance can be found in areas of hair loss. On close examination with a hand lens, the hair areas may be seen as short, or broken, which look somewhat narrow, especially closer to the scalp - like the exclamation point.
The 'hair pull test' is sometimes conducted at the margin of hair loss. If the hair gets easily pulled out from the margins, it is suggestive that the hair loss is active and further hair loss is likely. However, for a definitive diagnosis to be established, lab investigations, video microscopy and digital imaging, aside from hair biopsy test, may be needed.
Most people shed 50-100 strands of hair a day. With over 1,00,000 hairs on the scalp, this shouldn't cause any perceptible change in one's appearance. Also, a gradual thinning of hair is a normal part of aging. However, when hair loss leads to bald patches, or the rate of shedding exceeds the rate of hair re-growth, it is a cause for concern - because, it may lead to a state where new hair is thinner than the hair shed, or lost in patches.
Once this happens, it is imperative for one to consult a professional homeopathic doctor, trained in trichology, promptly. Trichology is the scientific study of hair and scalp.
Homeopathy has a good clinical record in the treatment of alopecia areata. One of the key reasons why it works effectively is that it targets and corrects the altered immune function of the individual and brings it back to normalcy, over a period of time. Thus, the results are long-lasting, and not superficial.
Homeopathic treatment can help to prevent relapses of hair loss and impart good health in general. The best part about homeopathic treatment is that it is non-habit-forming and without side-effects.
Most important: homeopathy does not treat alopecia areata on the surface, or from the outside, alone. It aims to treat the 'root cause' of the problem, taking into account the person's unique nature, their individual symptoms and characteristics, temperament, personality etc.
For example, hair loss in a sales manager, who is domineering, loves sugary stuff, has an extremely poor appetite, because eating ever so little makes them awfully full at the pit of the stomach, can be effectively treated with homeopathy, especially in hair loss after prolonged emotional grief.
The duration of homeopathic treatment may vary from one individual to the other; also, treatment outcomes depend on a host of variables. Long-standing alopecia areata, with widespread hair loss, progresses slowly. In the presence of other systemic illness, such as diabetes and high blood pressure, or hypertension, and hair loss, it takes a longer time for one to respond to treatment. On the other hand, if alopecia areata is of recent origin, with a limited spread, the healing response is often quick, and sometimes dramatic.
The bottom line, of course, is: the earlier professional homeopathic treatment is instituted, the better is the outcome.
A Case In Point
Twenty-nine-year-old Wilson, a computer professional, presented with alopecia areata, or hair loss in patches on the scalp, which had troubled him for over three years. He reported that he was awfully depressed, because no treatment seemed to work for him. Worse still, he said, his 'patchy' hair loss was accompanied by severe itching of the scalp, along with dandruff.
We prescribed him appropriate homeopathic remedy based on his overall symptoms. After six months of homeopathic treatment, and regular follow-up, there was a slow, but steady progress in his scalp condition. After a year's time, the 'patches' were agog with new, healthy hair. Wilson was greatly relieved. In his words, am now feeling on top of the world.
- Increase your intake of proteins (soy, oily fish, eggs, chicken), beans and legumes
- Add whole grains, fruits, dark green vegetables, such as spinach, fenugreek, broccoli, cabbage and raw unprocessed nuts to your regular diet
- Include pumpkin seeds and flaxseeds - they nourish your hair from its roots
- Keep yourself well-hydrated; drink 2-3 litre of water daily
- Avoid or reduce your intake of tea, coffee and alcohol
- Avoid smoking, better still, give up smoking. Alcohol and smoking are bad for your hair health; they also lead to hair loss
- Reduce your physical and emotional stress levels, with relaxation techniques, such as yoga and meditation.