Sudden hair loss in right side of head

Patient

Q: I am losing hair on the right side of my head.. it started maybe about 5 weeks ago and i noticed my hair has be getting smaller in a little patch near my temple but for the last 5 weeks it began spreading. there is a noticeable bald spot where it started but the rest of my right side is losing hair (my entire right side has less than an inch of hair) is this a serious issue?? i want to know if its just my losing hair or if its more dangerous than that. thank you

-female, 19 years old.

Doctor

A:   Hello,
Welcome to Ask the Doctor.
From your description it sounds like a disease called Alopecia areata. It is a condition where your body's immunity turns against your hair and hair falls in well defined patches. The severity can vary. Some will get only one or two patches. In others it can rapidly spread. Alopecia areata is seen more commonly in patients with hypothyroidism. So it is better to get your thyroid profile done. I hope that you don't have a habit of pulling your hair and plucking it off. I ask this because trichotillomania is another condition which can have patches of hair loss and it is due to plucking of hair.
It is better that you consult a dermatologist soon for this patchy hair loss. Alopecia areata is usually diagnosed clinically. A dermatologist with a trichoscope can see changes specific to alopecia areata on the computer screen. The treatment of choice is an injection of steroid into the patch done by a dermatologist. There are topical applications like minoxidil, topical steroids etc which will work and your dermatologist will take a call on the treatment modality.
Hope this helped,
Take care and wish you good health.

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