Common causes of hair loss in children

Common causes of hair loss in children

Common causes of hair loss in children

Hair loss in children is a common observation. There are several causes and most of them are easily treatable. Among the commonest know causes include:

Fungal infection (TINEA CAPITIS)

Fungal skin and scalp infections account for the majority causes of hair loss. The prevalence is about 90% of causes presenting to the doctor. The fungus has no known natural reservoir and persists for long periods on fomites, such as hairbrushes, combs, furniture, stuffed toys, and clothing. The highest incidence of this kind of infection is during school opening season when there is over crowding and contact with the infected persons. Most patients are between 1 and 10 years of age, but infection may occur at any age.

The infection survives in environments such as tight braiding, or the use of pomades.

How fungal infection presents:

The classic presentation is of one or more round to oval patches of partial to complete hair loss and with varying degrees of redness at the infection site. There may be repeated episodes of itchiness and scratching. The scratching may lead to secondary bacterial infection since there is introduction of bacteria to the injured area.

How is Tinea Diagnosed?

The bets diagnosis is clinical. The doctor examines and notices a clear pattern of presentation to the scalp. Some of the lesions may be noted on other sites such as the skin on the armpit, neck, fingers and interdigital spaces. A lab test with KOH staining also helps diagnose the fungi. The fungi are collected with a toothbrush on a culture plate or on a moistened culturette swab.

Treating fungal scalp infections

Treatment may be difficult in some patients due to various factors such as, repeated infections, poor drug compliance, incorrect diagnosis or resistance to treatment. Successful treatment requires a combination therapy with oral griseofulvin tablets and antifungal creams. Some antifungal shampoos are also available for use such as ketoconazole (candid –TV) shampoo. Griseofulvin is the agent of choice that is best taken with fatty food to promote absorption. The treatment may last 4 to 6 weeks or even up to 12 weeks depending on the response to treatment and severity.

Other types of shampoos in use include selenium sulfide 2.5%. This is done twice weekly

Partial hair loss (ALOPECIA AREATA)

Alopecia areata is a condition that is characterized by the sudden onset of asymptomatic round, bald patches located on any hair-bearing part of the body. The presentation is common on the head. There are no hair follicles and the patients have a scaly reddish crusting on the scalp. There may be pus formation too. Most patients recover well and have hair growing back in 1 to 2 years.

How alopecia areata is treated?

The main aim of treatment is to reduce the inflammation and infections. Treatments available include the use of topical steroids, topical minoxidil, tar preparations, and anthralin. Some healthcare providers may also use ultraviolet light to treat. The medications with minoxidil are used to promote hair growth and give good results.

TELOGEN EFFLUVIUM

This is a form of hair loss that is characterized by diffuse alopecia that is usually not clinically obvious to anyone but the patient and parent. The causes may be due to physiologic and pathologic stresses such as recent infections, high fever, severe influenza, surgery, and drugs. The hair follicles normally regress to the resting, or telogen, state of hair cycle. Telogen effluvium usually occurs 3 to 5 months after the stressor and is self-limited. The patients need not worry about it but may use minoxidil in cases of severe hair loss.

TRICHOTILLOMANIA

Trichotillomania is a type of hair loss that is caused by the compulsion to pull out one’s own hair. This applies traction to the hair leading to hair loss. The patients may present with areas of incomplete hair loss. Some of the hairs appear short and broken. Amazingly other areas involved include the eyebrows and eyelashes. This condition may be due to a psychiatric illness and treating it may help resolve the compulsion.

TRACTION ALOPECIA

Traction alopecia is hair loss that comes after forms of hairstyles that apply tension for long periods of time. Some patients also do like to pull on their hairs and this can cause hair loss (see Trichotillomania). The patients normally have noninflammatory linear areas of hair loss at the margins of the hairline, part line, or scattered regions, depending on hair styling or mode of traction used. The best treatment is avoidance of the causes of traction or styling products or styles that result in traction.

Men: 4 Things You Must Check With Your Doctor

Men: 4 Things You Must Check With Your Doctor

Men: 4 Things You Must Check With Your Doctor

Lifestyle is changing fast as well as the diets we have on a daily basis. These have a direct bearing on our health except for the genetic messages that we transfer to our offspring in the years to come.

We may not have much influence in the genetics but our own health matters a lot and how we manage it. A simple visit to a doctor may reveal a lot about you, especially if you have any family history of genetically related conditions. In this day and age, doctors are now recommending frequent health checks, just to keep everything in order.
Picture this, have you ever run down your car all year round, with no trip to the mechanic for fuel filter check, or tire check or change in the engine oil. We spend so much ‘pimping our rides” than we spend on our health. Well just as much as we spend on the rides; let’s take time to pimp our bodies, for once. Periodic health checks in the following body systems are recommended.

The Eye check up

  • The healthcare provider will check for any vision problems such as far or nearsightedness.
  • Eye muscle disorders tend to be common and need to be looked into too.

It is important to note that any history of conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure, hyperthyroidism or a family history of glaucoma plays an important role in the way you think about your eyes. Can you drive at night with no headlights on? That’s what it means. See you nearest ophthalmologist.

Read moreMen: 4 Things You Must Check With Your Doctor

Diabetes: Are you scared of it?

Diabetes: Are you scared of it?

Diabetes: Are you scared of it?

What exactly is diabetes? What types do we know and what can we do about it –this is what this article is all about

WHAT IS DIABETES?

Diabetes is essentially all about blood sugar control.
Normally our blood sugar levels are all within a certain range between 3.5 mmol/L and 8 mmol/L depending on whether we are fasting or have just eaten. We have a delicate balance of blood sugar, controlled by a number of different hormones, the most important of which is Insulin.

We speak about Diabetes when the blood sugar goes above the normal reference ranges on a continuous basis.
What happens when the blood sugar is higher then normal?
It tends to stick to certain proteins in the body and leads to the symptoms & signs of diabetes, and eventually to complications if not managed adequately.

Read moreDiabetes: Are you scared of it?

Good sugar control means better quality of life for many years!

Good sugar control means better quality of life for many years!

Good sugar control means better quality of life for many years!

Good sugar control

Good sugar control means better quality of life for many years! Insulin is a vital hormone that helps to keep our sugars within normal range. As we get older we tend to produce less insulin as our pancreas and in particular our Beta cells (found in the pancreas) produce less insulin

.In a person with a gene for diabetes, this process is accelerated, Beta cell fatigue comes faster and results are much less insulin production over time.

In addition we also get insulin resistance, that is, we require more amounts of insulin to get the same results; this is especially true in people who are overweight and do not exercise enough. Just exercising and loosing weight would make this resistance to insulin become less, thus allowing our Beta cells to function for longer!

Although glucose is a fuel used by our cells to produce energy, an excess of it in the body leads to the various complications of diabetes. In addition a high sugar level predisposes us to more infections, increased healing time from ordinary infections, to feeling tired and lethargic and passing urine more often, all common symptoms of diabetes!

So remember, Good sugar control means better quality of life for many years!

Top 15 foods to take during menopause

Top 15 foods to take during menopause

Tofu

It is important to note that most plant foods have no cholesterol compared to animal foods. On the other hand, most animal foods have other important benefits too including high protein content. It has been proven that eating more tofu has helped some perimenopausal women.

The foods help protect the heart and arteries by making the fats in our blood less damaging and plaque less likely to form.  Studies show that tofu may alleviate many of the side effects (including hot flashes) associated with Female Menopause.

Practical Tofu Tips

Be sure to check the expiration date on the package before you buy it.
Always open the package only when you are absolutely sure you are going to use it.
Always cover any unused tofu with water, cover the container with plastic wrap, and then refrigerate it. Remember to change the water every day until you use it up.

Tofu can also be frozen. But note that when you thaw it out, it will crumble into pieces. This is a quality you might want if you are using tofu in certain recipes, such as chili.

Bee Foods

Royal jelly (RJ) from honeybees (Apis mellifera) is traditionally thought to improve the symptoms associated with menopause.  In studies to prove this, the reporter gene expression assays suggested that 0.1-1mg/ml of royal jelly activated estrogen receptors, leading to enhanced transcription of a reporter gene through an estrogen-responsive element.

Black Cohosh

This herb has been studies and found that it may alleviate many of the side effects of female Menopause due to the 27-Deoxyacteine content of Black Cohosh mimicking the actions of the hormone Estriol. Extracts of the rhizome of black cohosh (Actaea racemosa L., formerly called Cimicifuga racemosa Nutt.) were evaluated for potential mechanisms of action in the alleviation of menopausal hot flashes. There was a significant reduction in the hot flushes, depression and vaginal atrophy commonly experienced by females during Menopause.

Chaste Berry (Vitex)

This herb has been reported to alleviate the symptoms of hot flushes commonly associated with female Menopause.  The extracts of two essential oils derived separately from leaf and the fruit were used and found to have an effect in symptomatic relief of menopausal symptoms.

Dong Quai

This herb may facilitate the transition through female Menopause. It has been shown to alleviate many of the symptoms of female Menopause. The herb has been used for the treatment of symptoms such as hot flashes, skin flushing, perspiration and chills.  Its mechanism of action is presently unknown.  A study found the benefit of using 4.5 grams of dong quai root per day for 24 weeks to be useful for the women with menopausal symptoms.  In China, dong quai is never used alone but in combination with other Chinese herbs.

False Unicorn

Studies have shown that false unicorn may be useful for the treatment of symptoms such as hot flushes, reduced vaginal mucous causing painful coitus and poor pelvic tone in females during menopause.

Hops

Phytoestrogens are a particular group of chemicals in the general phytochemical family. They are plant chemicals that are very similar in structure to estrogen and act like weak estrogens in our bodies. They act by either blocking or enhancing estrogen action in our bodies. Heyerick, A., et al did a study on the hops extract enriched in 8-prenylnaringenin (8-PN, the phytoestrogen in hops, Humulus lupulus L.) on relief of menopausal discomforts. The results prove that daily intake of a hop extract, standardized on 8-PN as a potent phytoestrogen exerted favorable effects on vasomotor symptoms in women during menopause. The hop-derived prenylated flavonoids may provide another attractive addition to the alternative treatments or herbal treatments available for relief of hot flushes and other menopausal symptoms.

Kava (Also known as kava kava)

A dose of 300 mg of Kava standardized to contain 30% Kava Lactones per day has been shown to alleviate the anxiety and depression associated with menopause. There is a significant improvement in mood in menopausal women.

Korean Ginseng

This herb has been show to particularly improve the fatigue, insomnia and depression, seen in postmenopausal women by RG seemed to be brought about in part by effects of RG on stress-related hormones. The study was done in women taking about 6grams of the processed product.

Kudzu

Also know as the Pueraria mirifica, Kudzu has been found to contain phytoestrogens. It has been shown to alleviate the symptoms of menopause also due to the isoflavonoid content in it. The isoflavanoids such as daidzein and genistein are know to prevent bone loss induced by estrogen deficiency in menopause.

Red clover

The red Clover may also help to prevent the increased rigidity (decreased elasticity) of blood vessels that occurs as a result of declining estrogens production during and after menopause. A study showed that treatment with 80 mg isoflavones (Promensil contained in the rd clover) per day resulted in a significant reduction in hot flushes. There was a significant decrease in the episodes of hot flushes of 44% of women during the study demonstrating the effectiveness of Promensil. The ingredients in promesil (flavonoids) include the genistein, daidzein, formononetin and biochanin isoflavones. So if you are at risk of heart disease, this is one of the best herbs to consider.

Tribulus terrestris

Tribulus terrestris has been widely studies for its effectiveness in eliminating female menopause-related symptoms such as apathy, depression, hot flashes, insomnia, and loss of sexual desire. It is good to consider such a preparations during menopause.

Soya beans

The Soybean is a vegetable from the Legume (Leguminosae) family. It contains isoflavanoids such as daidzein, genistein, and glycetein. In a group of menopausal women with an average of fourteen hot flashes per week, a study comparing the effectiveness of soy bean vs. that of wheat flour; the ones receiving soy flour experienced a 40% reduction in hot flashes. There are other proven benefits of soy such as reduction in cholesterol levels, prevention of uterine, endometrial, breast and prostate cancers. The side effects of soy include flatulence, indigestion and increased risk of hypothyroidism. It should be avoided in patients undergoing radiotherapy due to the genistein content that protects cancer cells from radiation

Flax Seeds

These seeds are high in phytoestrogens that may help to minimize the symptoms of menopause. The seeds also contain lignans. Many women who consume the lignan-rich flaxseed oil products have reported a reduction in symptoms such as breast tenderness, bloating, hot flashes, sweating, and vaginal dryness. Flaxseed is also a good source of soluble fiber (the type of fiber that blends with water to form a gel-like mixture in the intestines), which may help lower cholesterol.

Sesame seeds

Sesame seeds have been found to have a sex hormonal enhancement effect in postmenopausal women. In a study, when the sesame seeds, were given at a dose of 50 g/d for 5 weeks, there were significant decreases in blood dihidroepiandrosterone ( DHEAS), Total cholesterol, LDL-Cholesterol concentrations, the ratio of LDL-Cholesterol to HDL-Cholesterol levels. There was a noted decrease in serum DHEAS level after sesame ingestion.

References

References: Trickey, R. Women, Hormones & the Menstrual Cycle.  Allen & Unwin, St Leonards, NSW, Australia. 1998:142

Ref: Mishima, S., et al.  Royal jelly has estrogenic effects in vitro and in vivo. Journal of Ethnopharmacology 2005

Ref: Liske, E., et al.  Physiological investigation of a unique extract of black cohosh (Cimicifugae 163 racemosae rhizoma):  a 6-month study demonstrates no systemic estrogenic effect.  Journal of Women’s Health and Gender-Based Medicine 11(2):163-174, 2002.

Ref: Chopin Lucks, B. Vitex agnus castus essential oil and menopausal balance: a research update.  Complementary Therapies in Nursing and Midwifery

Ref: Kupfersztain, C., et al.  The immediate effect of natural plant extract, Angelica sinensis and Matricaria chamomilla (Climex) for the treatment of hot flushes during menopause. A preliminary report Clin Exp Obstet Gynecol.  30(4):203-206, 2003.

Ref: Heyerick, A., et al.  A first prospective, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study on the use of a standardized hop extract to alleviate menopausal discomforts. Maturitas.  2005.

Ref: Bone, K. Tribulus for sexual dysfunction in men and women. The Townsend Letter for Doctors and Patients, December 2004.

Ref: Cooney RV, Custer LJ, Okinaka L, Franke AA. Effects of dietary sesame seeds on plasma tocopherol levels. Nutr Cancer. 2001; 39:66–71