Symptom Checker: Symptoms & Signs Index
Medical Author: William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR
There are many types of alopecia (baldness or hair loss), each with a different cause. Alopecia may be localized to the front and top of the head, as in common male pattern baldness. It may be patchy, as in a condition called alopecia areata. Or it can involve the entire head, as in alopecia capitis totalis (also called alopecia totalis), and it can involve hair loss of the entire body, such as in alopecia universalis. Alopecia can be caused by medications, such as from chemotherapy for cancer. It can also be a result of an underlying disease, such as with an underactive thyroid gland (hypothyroidism) and systemic lupus erythematosus. Alopecia may have no symptoms other than the loss of hair, or it can be associated with itching and/or rash of the scalp.
The word alopecia comes from the Greek alopex for "fox." Foxes are less furry when afflicted with a skin disease (the "mange") that causes them to lose their hair. When a fancier word for "baldness" was sought, the mangy fox supplied it -- "alopecia" or, if you wish, "fox-mange" -- not a very positive image to associate with baldness!
Health concern on your mind? Visit the Symptom Checker.
Fauci, Anthony S., et al. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine. 17th ed. United States: McGraw-Hill Professional, 2008.
Main Article on Hair Loss
Causes of Hair Loss
In This ArticleAlopecia Areata Article
- Alopecia areata facts
- What is alopecia areata?
- What causes alopecia areata?
- What are the different patterns of alopecia areata?
- Who is affected by alopecia areata?
- How is alopecia areata diagnosed?
- What is the treatment for alopecia areata?
In This ArticleBone Cancer Article
- What is bone cancer? What is metastatic bone cancer?
- Who is at risk for bone cancer?
- What causes bone cancer?
- What are bone cancer symptoms and signs?
- What are the different types of bone cancer?
- What kinds of bone cancer occur in children?
- What tests are used to diagnose bone cancer?
- What is the treatment for bone cancer?
- How is bone cancer pain managed?
- What is the prognosis for bone cancer?
- Can bone cancer be prevented?
In This ArticleChild Abuse Article
- Child abuse facts
- What is child abuse?
- What are the different types of child abuse?
- What are risk factors for child abuse?
- What are symptoms and signs of child abuse?
- How do physicians diagnose child abuse?
- What is the treatment for child abuse?
- What are the complications and prognosis of child abuse?
- Is it possible to prevent child abuse?
- What should people do if they suspect that a child is being abused?
- Where can people find more information about child abuse?
In This ArticleLichen Planus Article
- Lichen planus facts
- What is lichen planus?
- What causes lichen planus?
- How is the rash of lichen planus different from that of most other common rashes?
- What are lichen planus symptoms and signs?
- What does lichen planus look like?
- How is lichen planus diagnosed?
- Are there home remedies for lichen planus?
- What is the treatment for lichen planus?
- What is the long-term prognosis of lichen planus?
In This ArticleLupus Article
- Systemic lupus erythematosus facts
- What is systemic lupus erythematosus? What are the types of lupus?
- What causes systemic lupus erythematosus? What are risk factors for lupus? Is lupus hereditary?
- What is drug-induced lupus?
- What are lupus symptoms and signs?
- How is systemic lupus erythematosus diagnosed?
- What is the treatment for systemic lupus?
- How can a lupus patient help prevent disease activity (flares)?
- How can systemic lupus erythematosus affect pregnancy or the newborn?
- What is the prognosis of lupus? What does the future hold for people with systemic lupus?
- Where can one get more information about systemic lupus erythematosus?
In This ArticlePeripheral Vascular Disease Article
- Peripheral vascular disease facts
- What is peripheral vascular disease?
- What is atherosclerosis?
- How does atherosclerosis cause disease?
- What are potential complications of peripheral artery disease?
- What are the other causes of peripheral vascular diseases?
- Who is at risk for peripheral artery disease?
- What are the symptoms and signs of peripheral artery disease?
- How is peripheral artery disease diagnosed?
- What are the treatments for peripheral artery disease?
- Lifestyle changes
- Supervised exercise
In This ArticlePolycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) Article
- Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) facts
- What is polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS)?
- What are the symptoms of polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS)?
- What causes polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS)?
- How is PCOS diagnosed?
- What conditions or complications can be associated with PCOS?
- What treatments are available for PCOS?
In This ArticleScalp Psoriasis Article
- What is scalp psoriasis?
- What is the cause of scalp psoriasis?
- What are scalp psoriasis symptoms and signs?
- How is scalp psoriasis diagnosed?
- What are topical treatments and home remedies for scalp psoriasis?
- What are office treatments for scalp psoriasis?
- What are systemic treatments for psoriasis?
- What is the prognosis of psoriasis? Is there a cure for psoriasis?
- Are there support groups for individuals with psoriasis?
In This ArticleSteroid Abuse Article
- Anabolic steroid abuse facts
- What are anabolic steroids?
- Why do people abuse anabolic steroids?
- How do people abuse anabolic steroids?
- Are anabolic steroids addictive?
- What are the psychological and physical side effects of anabolic steroid abuse?
- How are anabolic steroid abuse and addiction diagnosed?
- What is the treatment for anabolic steroid abuse and addiction?
- Can anabolic steroid abuse and addiction be prevented?
- Where can I get more information on anabolic steroid abuse?
In This ArticleThyroid Cancer Article
- Thyroid cancer facts*
- What is the thyroid?
- What is cancer?
- What are the different types of thyroid cancer?
- Thyroid cancer symptoms*
- How is thyroid cancer diagnosed?
- How is staging determined for thyroid cancer?
- What is the treatment for thyroid cancer?
- Thyroid hormone treatment
- Radioactive iodine therapy
- External radiation therapy
- Second opinion
- Follow-up care
- Sources of support
- Taking part in cancer research
Other Causes of Hair Loss
Examples of Medications for Hair Loss
Symptoms & Signs A-Z List
Find out what women really need.