I’m a 30-year-old woman suffering from severe hair loss. I now have bald patches. I don’t have a medical condition. Please advice.

The appearance of multiple hairless patches on your scalp most likely suggests that you are suffering from alopecia areata (AA). The term alopecia is used to indicate excessive or total hair loss and can have many clinical presentations as well as different causes. AA is believed to be caused by an autoimmune reaction, where the sufferer’s own immune system starts attacking his/her hair follicles, leading to partial follicular damage, suppressing normal hair growth.

An individual’s genetic pre-disposition is the second strongest causative factor in AA.

The incidence of AA is higher in individuals carrying an atopic gene, which expresses itself by making these people highly vulnerable for allergic rhinitis, bronchial asthma and atopic dermatitis.

Before beginning treatment, it is important that a proper examination be done. Consult an experienced dermatologist.

Treating hairless patches with intralesional injections together with topical 5 per cent Minoxidil applications has been found to be beneficial. These injections usually need to be repeated for 2-3 sessions to achieve the desired results.

Severe psychological stress is considered to be an important factor in causing and aggravating alopecias. Therefore, an effective stress-management plan is also needed to be incorporated into the treatment strategy. You might require laboratory screening as well, to rule out any other underlying autoimmune diseases or disorders.