Alopecia in children

MariposaTraicioneraMarch 22, 2006

DS developed alopecia about 6 months ago. It started with a dime sized bald patch and has increased to about six or seven small ones all over his head. He wears his hair short so it's very visible. We've gone to the dermatologist several times and steroid shots are not working. The doctor doesn't have an answer for why this is happening, but I was wondering if stress could be a factor. DS lost a family member he was close to last summer and the alopecia showed up about 2-3 months later. Does anyone have experience with alopecia in a young teen?

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My friend developed hers at sixteen when a friend died. She has a small patch and it never grew back. I have seen people where it did grow back. I'd see another specialist, if possible.

    Bookmark   March 22, 2006 at 11:33PM
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I don't know about kids but a friend of mine developed this in her late twenties or early thirties. All indications were that it was stress induced. It finally grew back - not sure how long it took.

    Bookmark   March 22, 2006 at 11:57PM
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Thank you both for your responses. I'm really thinking this has a lot to do with stress because of the onset after our loss last year. We're going to ask for a second opinion. I'm hoping the bald patches will grow up since it's so obvious, and he's just a teen :-(

    Bookmark   March 23, 2006 at 12:05PM
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Mariposa, 6 weeks after my MIL (whom I was very close to) died, I started losing my hair. My previously luxuriantly thick hair thinned out, especially in front, by at least 1/3. The dermatologist and family practice doctor both said a traumatic stress event was causing it, basically post traumatic stress disorder. The hair eventually grew back, though I personally feel it is not as thick as it used to be.

I do believe heavy duty stress, especially the loss of a loved one, can cause this. It did for me. I took prenatal vitamins to help stimulate the growth of new hair, and it seemed to help. Look into vitamins (talk to your doctor)and see if they can recommend something for your DS.
Good luck.

    Bookmark   March 23, 2006 at 1:32PM
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Donna, thank you. My DS and I were just chatting about some of the responses here and he's feeling a bit better knowing that it 'might' grow back, and also that stress played a part. I think he had done a search and saw something on the net about autoimmune diseases so that scared him. We'll get some good vitamins and talk to our regular doctor.

Sorry to hear about your loss.

    Bookmark   March 23, 2006 at 2:44PM
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Our DD started losing her hair in patches a few months ago. I panicked. Her ped was convinced she was pulling her hair, but we watched her closely for weeks, as did her teacher, and she wasn't pulling it. I'm convinced it's stress related. She has lost a couple more clumps, but the other areas are growing in. She's the type of person who internalizes stress so much. She doesn't sleep well and her excema(sp) gets worse when she's stressed. We're working on it.

    Bookmark   March 24, 2006 at 8:37AM
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marisa.. I posted stress as a factor when you were going through this awhile back. After being a licensed hair designer/colourist for almost 30 years, I've seen alopecia areata occur in numerous clients. In the cases that I've seen, it always happened after a trauma or stress to the individual in some way. Being curious, I've
questioned clients that proclaimed NO stress was in their lives. I perceived total different conclusions, and they are all hypotheses.

I had a couple of clients I believe were wrongly diagnosed for alopecia because the area was not 'slick' like my other clients. I noticed one lady in particular getting stressed when I was running late one day. She said absolutely nothing, but started reaching for her scalp. She unconsciously went for this patch in her crown
that had almost completely lost every hair. Not being able to grasp the hair, she moved her hand under her hair behind her ear as she sat in the waiting room. To the unobservant, it looked as though she was just fingering a small section of hair about the size of a nickel, then twirled it around and around her fingers. She was
PULLING her hair out little by little. Within a few haircuts, that area, too, was almost 'bald.' I asked her if she had gone to the doctor and he said, "Alopecia areata." I told her what I observed. She denied it, then caught herself one day when someone else pointed it out. She eventually went on Prozac and believe it or not,
she stopped pulling her hair out.

Other cases of stress: A man denied stress in his life. His beard starting having slick, balding patches. He shaved his beard, then the it "moved" to his head. He swore no stress. I was really surprised because he was literally "Joe Cool". As it turned out, he was cheating on his wife and had gotten caught. His wife
confided to me. So, I stood firm in my mind my previous conclusion: for whatever reason, his body 'unconsciously' responded to the stress he consciously denied, in my opinion.

Another lady lost her her husband and three of her four children in an automobile accident. Her rich, medium brown hair turned WHITE OVERNIGHT. All pigment gone. Stress was the culprit.

College students, children of divorce, students under pressure have exhibited alopecia areata.

I personally had a child stay with us over a 30 day Christmas break, from an orphanage in Korea, that had alopecia and eczema. After one month with us, her symptoms were improved dramatically. Once returned to the facility, her symptoms returned.

I could go on and on. Obviously, I am not a doctor. However, it does not take a degree to connect the dots here. We do not understand, nor do physicians, how our mind and body work hand and hand for health and disease. As the mind, will, and emotions merge, I believe the soul can be wounded and manifest in some way (like
alopecia) that we would never have perceived in the natural realm. How can science "prove" stress causes alopecia? By hypothesizing...just like they "diagnose" stress as a factor for high blood pressure and heart disease. There is a direct evidence and the outside factors or environmental changes that have been present in other

I would do everything I could to try to find out all about what's going on in your child's life. Is there a bully at school? Is someone approaching your child inappropriately and they fear telling you? Is there too much pressure to perform academically or performing some talent? Has there been a marriage, divorce, death, etc? Has the child done something that they have remorse for, shame over, or fear something (real or perceived) that you may not have privileged knowledge about? (i.e., Have they stolen something? Cheated on an exam? Are they antagonizing/terrorizing someone themselves?, etceteras...)
My two cents. Hope you get to the bottom of this soon.

May I gently suggest, that there is no cream to grow the hair back, why go for another opinion? I am gently suggesting you strongly consider finding a sensitive, compassionate female psychologist (possibly one at the county health department) to see if they might have someone that might be able to talk to your daughter one on
one to try to get her to open up.

I am sincerely avoiding housework to offer some questions to ask and suggestions to help you find some solution to help your daughter. Please, don't just quickly dismiss my suggestions. I'm persuaded to believe there is something going on that you may not be aware that exists that is causing this stress. An FP doctor may
not be the right professional to be seeking for solutions.

    Bookmark   March 24, 2006 at 9:44AM
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I just reread your situation. I thought this was your daughter, but realize it is your son. I'm sorry. I would still seek out help from a female psyhcologist. My son, at age 5/6, was molested by a babysitter. I'm sorry, but the men involved initially talking to my son were duds. (The "professionals" thought a man would be easier to talk to a boy. Boy were they wrong.) So, DUDS.

I don't want to get into our situation. Just know that I was in SHOCK, DISBELIEF, and Mortified when this came out from neighborhood children that knocked on my door one afternoon with my crying son. Thinkng that he had hurt himself playing, I almost didn't hear what the children were saying. The other kids, a whole pack of them, playing baseball in our culdesac made my son come tell me what he told them. Apparently, the offender had passed them in a car. The children said, "I can't stand that awful kid." My son said, "He's not only awful. He does awful things." He proceeded to tell these other kids some of the things this 16 year old that had baby sat for me did to my son. ....

My son could NOT talk to me. AT ALL. He had been threatened with his life if he ever told anyone about what happened. And that I would be disgusted with him and not love him if he ever told anyone about what he "did." Brainwashing works on children FAST.

I sought help immediately. Eventually, a woman psychologist was much more effective getting the whole truth out.

Please, for your son's sake, seek a safe haven where he can talk. Your situation may be minor, but seriously stressful, you just never know.

PS>..My son's stress manifested with his behavior in school and anger. He's now 25 and fine.

    Bookmark   March 24, 2006 at 9:59AM
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