Pulling or twisting hair a self- comforting habit
toddler seems to be losing her hair? What is causing it? She has a large patch of missing hair on the top of her head. It’s not a spot she sleeps on so that can’t be a reason. Should I be concerned? Bianca, Douglas
are many causes of patchy hair loss ( alopecia). The word, Trichotillomania is used for hair loss due to a child twisting, pulling or plucking out his/ her hair, eyebrows or eyelashes. Trichotillomania does not cause permanent hair loss, harm to the hair follicles nor does it cause brain damage.
When the pulling, twisting or plucking stops, the child’s hair will grow back normally.
Trichotillomania is quite common in children and the behaviour responds well to treatment.
Hair pulling in babies is usually a self-comforting habit. It often goes along with thumb sucking.
The baby reclines with thumb or fingers in the mouth and twists his/ her own or his mother’s hair with the other hand. The child finds this relaxing and usually engages in the behaviour before falling asleep or when he/ she is distressed. child pulls at his hair, he soon will learn how to get your attention with this behaviour. Hair pulling is used by your child as an effective addition to kicking and screaming during a tantrum.
Younger children usually twist hair and the older ones pluck at their hair.
It is best to visit your doctor for a general review of your child and to discuss their diet and any family history of hair loss.
Alopecia areata may present in susceptible children of any age, and occasionally progresses to the more severe forms where all body hair is lost.
Alopecia areata is considered an inherited autoimmune Email your questions t o aboutababy@ t ownsvillebulletin . com. au. Donna Gandini is a general and neonatal paediatrician and breast-feeding adviser. Contact her at 4778 4581, at Health and Wellbeing North Ward or at the Fairfield Waters Medical Centre. condition, when certain white blood cells begin reacting against the pigment ( hair colour) cells within the hair shaft.
That’s why initial hair regrowth in alopecia areata is nearly always white or unpigmented hair – these are spared by the autoimmune process.
This disorder is more often seen in dark-haired and Asian people affecting males and females equally.