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What is Trichotillomania?

Trichotillomania is an impulsive behavioral disorder hair loss caused when hair is repeatedly twisted and/or pulled out from the scalp, eyebrows or eyelashes and affects more women than men. There is no known cause for this disorder.

Symptoms may start in childhood and appear as patches of hair missing from the back or sides of the head. The hair may be uneven and can also include body hair.

 Symptoms of Trichotillomania include:

  • pulling and twisting the hair repeatedly
  • stubbly hair growth in bald areas
  • sense of relief after the hair is pulled

Some other contributing factors include stress, pain, anxiety, sadness or depression and low self esteem.

Many people may not know that they are pulling their hair out, and could also develop stomach pain due to inadvertently eating the hair. Clumps of hair found in the stomach are known as a beezor and often needs to be surgically removed to avoid the hair attaching to internal organs.

Trichotillomania ranges from mild to severe. From just plucking out eyelashes to ripping out clumps of hair, this behavior cannot be easily stopped. Some who suffer from this disorder may also display other self injurious behavior and may deny pulling the hair.

Treatments include behavioral therapy and sometimes medication-which may help reduce the symptoms. Others choose more naturopathic remedies such as meditation.

Styling the hair depends on the degree of severity one may have. For some, very short, cropped styles can prevent someone from grabbing sections of the hair and pulling it. For others, very long hair can cover large patches of missing hair to maintain dignity.

Trichotillomania can be an embarrassing condition to have, but with help, you can learn to find a style for your hair that best suits you to promote a positive self image.