What is Ringworm ?
Ringworm or alopecia areata with its medical name is a disease characterized by the sudden loss of a person's hair or other hairs such as eyebrows, eyelashes, beard in a short time. When it occurs on the scalp, it manifests itself with round or oval shaped bald areas that are easily visible from the outside. After a while, hair grows back in balding areas or new lesions develop. Ringworm mainly occurs in young people. Between 70 and 80 of every 100 people affected by the disease are under the age of 40. It is more common in men than women.
What causes ringworm (Alopecia areata) ?
The exact cause of ringworm disease is not known. However, it is thought to be caused by autoimmune causes. Autoimmune diseases occur when the body recognizes its own cells and tissues as foreign. As a result, the immune system attacks the person's own cells. In ringworm, immune cells attack hair follicles, stopping hair growth and causing hair loss.
Studies have shown that ringworm is also related to genetic factors. The risk of developing this condition in the child of a parent with ringworm is approximately 3 to 6 times higher than the normal population. Again, some diseases can be seen together with ringworm and this supports the effect of genetic factors. Some of these diseases are:
What are the risk factors for ringworm (Alopecia areata) ?
-Age, in most patients the disease begins under the age of 40.
-Gender, men tend to get ringworm more than women.
What are the symptoms of ringworm (Alopecia areata) ?
Ringworm symptoms are characteristic and present with one or more smooth, oval and hairless areas on the scalp. The skin in the affected area is healthy and there is no inflammation in the skin.
Hair loss usually starts on the scalp. However, all kinds of scalp, including eyelashes, eyebrows, armpits, beard and pubic hair, can be affected by ringworm and changes in the nail structure may occur. The clinical presentation is variable and differs from person to person. The course of the disease is unpredictable and sometimes chronically recurrent.
Spontaneous recovery, stabilization, or worsening of course may occur during illness. When hair regrows in the bald area, it is usually first unpigmented, that is, white.
How is alopecia areata diagnosed ?
Since the symptoms of ringworm are quite typical, the diagnosis is mostly made by the patient and their relatives before going to the doctor. However, in some cases, ringworm and hair fungus can be involved. For a correct diagnosis, it is necessary to consult a dermatologist. Your doctor first questions your symptoms and looks at your degree of hair loss. He tries to confirm the diagnosis by examining several hair samples under the microscope. If necessary, a piece is taken for definitive diagnosis and examination in pathology is performed.
How is ringworm (Alopecia areata) treated ?
Ringworm treatment is planned by a dermatologist. The aim of treatment is to stop the progression of the disease and to reduce the severity of the symptoms. In some mild and early-stage cases, the hair grows back on its own without the need for any treatment.
In the advanced stages or in the presence of serious symptoms, steroid group drugs are used in the treatment. Steroids are primarily administered in cream form. In the next stages, it can be applied to the scalp with an injector depending on the situation. Applications around the eyes require attention as they can be risky for eye health. Apart from the steroid group, alopecia areata can also be treated with drugs and a different method called immunotherapy.
If you are suffering from ringworm-like hair loss, it is important to consult a dermatologist to be examined and treated, in order to prevent the disease from progressing.