What are the signs of alopecia?


Written by tapGP Clinical Team

21 August 2023

Alopecia, otherwise known as pattern baldness, is the most common cause of baldness. It’s also genetic, so if there’s a history of baldness in your family, then chances are you’ll end up with at least some hair loss yourself.

What’s important to keep in mind, however, is that not all hair loss is caused by genetics. Stress, for example, can result in sudden hair loss or patchy hair loss, but your hair will usually start to regrow after you remove yourself from the stressful situation. Other causes of hair loss can include thyroid disease or can be a result of when your immune system attacks your body. With so many causes of hair loss, how can you be sure it’s just genetic? If you’re worried, then go and contact us. You can book an online appointment, and we can help you understand your hair loss and work together to get down to the bottom of the cause.

What Are The Types Of Alopecia?

Alopecia can occur in different forms, and the most common types of alopecia include:

Androgenetic Alopecia

This is the most common and famous type of alopecia and is hereditary. Though common in men, it affects all sexes. It’s characterised by hair thinning and baldness, usually in a predictable pattern.

Alopecia Totalis

Alopecia totalis is a chronic condition of complete hair loss of the scalp, which affects a small percentage of patients with alopecia areata. Treatment outcomes are best when this disease is recognized and treated early in its course.

Alopecia Areata

This type of alopecia occurs when the immune system attacks parts of the body, including your hair follicles, by mistake. The symptoms of alopecia areata include patchy hair loss on the scalp, face, and body. It can occur suddenly and progress rapidly, leading to complete baldness.

Alopecia Universalis

Alopecia universalis (AU) is a condition characterized by the complete loss of hair on the scalp and body. It is an advanced form of alopecia areata, a condition that causes round patches of hair loss.

What are the Signs of Alopecia?

The signs and symptoms of alopecia depend on the type and severity of the condition. Here are some of the most common signs of alopecia:

Hair Thinning

Hair thinning is one of the most common signs of alopecia. It can occur gradually or suddenly and affects both men and women. Hair thinning can occur on any part of the scalp or can be a bald spot.

Bald Patches

Bald patches are another common sign of alopecia, especially for those who develop Alopecia Areata. This type of alopecia causes sudden hair loss in circular or oval-shaped patches on the scalp, beard, or eyebrows. The bald patches may be itchy, painful, or tender, and they can appear suddenly and grow in size over time.

Increase in Hair Shedding

An increase in hair shedding is another common symptom of alopecia. Individuals with alopecia may notice an excessive amount of hair falling out during brushing, combing, or washing their hair. They may also find hair on their pillow, clothing, or floor.

Scalp Changes

Alopecia can also cause changes to the scalp. These changes can include redness, inflammation, or scaling of the scalp, which can be due to fungal or bacterial infections. In addition, the scalp may become itchy, painful, or tender.

When To Speak to a Doctor

If you think you have been suffering from any of these symptoms, it is always a good idea to bring this up with your general practitioner. They will be able to carry out a full medical history and examination to determine the cause of your symptoms.

Treatment options are available for those with Alopecia. Please check your symptoms and visit your doctor if you are experiencing any of these symptoms.

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