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Children's Health

Hair Loss for My 2 Years Toddler

07/28/2010

Question:

Hello,

I have a 2 yrs daughter. Recently i noticed lot of hair loss from front. I am very worried. I use to make 1 ponytail for her in back, now started making 2 sideways. She doesnt like to tie her hair n rub/pull them n take out the band. Also she doesnt put any clips and puts her hair in mouth if they are open. Plz help.

Thanks.

Answer:

That certainly is a distressing situation for both of you!

There are three fairly common causes of hair loss in a young child.

Perhaps the most common, and also benign, is hair twisting, pulling, or twirling that many young children do around nap and bedtimes. Children simply stop doing it as they move into the older preschool years and it requires no intervention.

Next is telogen effluvium - or hair loss following a significant period or stress or illness, surgery or high fever. Hair will regrow but may take months to do so.

Trichotillomania is a condition in which a child is very anxious and pulls out their own hair to relieve feelings of stress and tension, most commonly over a situation such as parental discord, bullying at school, or stress over homework. This is more common among school age and adolescent children and usually treated with brief psychological therapies as well as efforts to address the cause of the distress.

A fourth common problem is alopecia areata. This may be the most likely problem since you did not mention your daughter being a child who constantly fiddles with her hair, or that she had a recent significant illness. This disorder is a sudden loss of hair in the growth phase, often occurring in circular or oval patches. It is believed to be caused by an immune or autoimmune reaction and may resolve as quickly as it appeared. Unfortunately, there is no predictable pattern of recovery. It can spread or wax and wane. It is a good idea for the doctor to check for the presence of any autoimmune disorders causing hair loss such as thyroid disease. Treating the underlying problem, if there is one, usually aids hair regrowth. Alopecia areata in children under 10 years of age usually involves the application of one or more topical medications such as minoxidil of hydrocortisone.

It is a good idea to have your child seen by her doctor for evaluation and treatment. I hope that she will be among the children with a swift resolution of the problem.

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Response by:

Mary M Gottesman, PhD, RN, CPNP, FAAN Mary M Gottesman, PhD, RN, CPNP, FAAN
Professor of Clinical Nursing
College of Nursing
The Ohio State University