Alopecia Universalis

· 3 min read
Alopecia Universalis

Alopecia Universalis is a genetic hair loss disease that causes the follicles to drastically slow production. The resulting condition causes the hair follicles to grow no hair for months or even years. While the condition generally affects the scalp, it can affect any hair-bearing site, including the beard. Some people experience patchy loss, while others have complete body baldness. Despite the lack of hair production, the hair follicles remain alive and ready to start producing hair again when given the correct signal.

Symptoms

Alopecia Universalis is a serious skin condition with numerous associated medical conditions, most of them autoimmune, atopic allergy-related, or psychological. Affected individuals are more likely to develop alopecia Universalis than patients without these conditions. The genetic markers that trigger the development of each condition are similar. Individuals with atopic allergies and asthma are at higher risk of developing alopecia Universalis.

While there is currently no cure for alopecia Universalis, treatment can help slow its progression. Medical professionals will first need to diagnose the disorder and perform a physical examination of the scalp. If possible, a dermatologist will also take a small skin sample for biopsy. Blood tests may also be ordered to rule out any underlying medical conditions. Treatment options for alopecia Universalis will depend on the severity of the disorder and the patient's age and general health.

Causes

Although alopecia Universalis's causes remain a mystery, the condition can be triggered by various factors. Some researchers think the disease is inherited, and many of its symptoms are caused by a mutated gene, usually found in men. The human "hairless" gene, HR, is the homologous gene for hairless mice. A small study found that some people with AU also suffer from thyroid diseases, and people with vitiligo can also develop AU.

Some treatments for alopecia Universalis involve applying topical medication designed to stimulate hair follicles. One of these medications, Ruxolitinib, has been shown to help treat bone marrow disorders. One woman who developed alopecia Universalis had her eyebrows re-grow significantly after applying the medication to the balding areas. While other treatments may require several sessions, PRP is highly effective when combined with other therapies.

Treatment options

There are several treatment options for alopecia Universalis. Patients with this condition may take medication to suppress their immune system and stimulate hair regrowth. However, some people do not see significant hair regrowth after treatment. The chances of regrowth are unpredictable. The treatments available for alopecia Universalis include immunosuppressive agents, oral and topical corticosteroids, and phototherapy.

The National Alopecia Areata Foundation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to finding a cure for alopecia Universalis, reports that the disease is inherited and runs in families. People with the disease are more likely to have multiple copies of the same gene than those without. The condition also appears to run in families but is more likely to be triggered by prolonged stress. Studies have shown that prolonged stress can affect an individual's mental health. Additionally, stress can lower the immune system and trigger hair loss.

Support groups

As a sufferer of alopecia, you may be interested in a support group for alopecia Universalis. Many sufferers find the support they need in one another. Many people feel that talking about their condition will only make them worse. Some people may be ashamed to talk about alopecia. Those who are suffering from alopecia areata may also want to seek help from a support group.

While support groups are not a cure for alopecia, they can help people cope with the symptoms. Often, a group can help people deal with the emotional toll of alopecia. Hearing other sufferers' stories, people with alopecia learn how to handle their condition, what their doctors have tried, and what works for them. The National Alopecia Areata Foundation sponsors support groups worldwide.