Can Fungal Infections Lead to Hair Loss?

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Hair loss is a pervasive problem worldwide, irrespective of gender and age. Hair loss, baldness, pattern baldness, and itchy scalp can occur at any age or time. A few diseases and conditions are also responsible for extensive hair loss. Fungal infection is any of them. Fungal infections can happen due to unhygienic scalp, humid weather, extensive sweating, and dandruff, which causes patchy hair loss. However, It can be controlled or regulated if the infection is treated initially.

Before deep diving into the topic, we would explain what fungal infection is and how it causes hair loss.

What is Fungal infection?

Fungal infections are generally caused due to ringworm. The proliferation of ringworm is too fast. So if it is not treated early, it can get easily out of control. It is more common in children, mostly school-going children rather an adults. However, it can affect men and women equally.

Mushrooms, Molds, and yeast are prevalent types of fungi that you can have. Fungi prefer to grow in a damp environment. Humid weather also stimulates fungi growth. Mainly humid weather and lack of air circulation generally cause fungi growth. However, fungal infection is preventable and reversible with the proper non-humid environment; the person who maintains adequate hygiene and washes their hair regularly because they clear the excess oil, sweat, and dirt and keep the scalp clean and healthy.

What causes fungal infections?

1. Tinea Capititis or Ring warm:

Ringworm is parasitic in nature. Therefore, the associated infection can penetrate in the hair shafts, weaken them and stimulates hair loss and make our scalp patchy with regional hair loss.

Tinea Capitis is colloquially popular as a fungal infection rather than ringworm infection when it takes place on the head and scalp. Ringworms easily transfer from person to person through physical contact. Children are susceptible to ringworm-associated fungal infections because they tend to come in close contact while playing or seating at school.

The most common ringworm that causes the infection is “ Microsporum audouinii”.It is a mould that consists of large family members throughout the globe.

The US and Latin America are really working hard to prevent “Microsporum audouinii”  causing bacteria. Other common names of bacteria are trichophyton tonsurans and trichophyton violaceum. They cause immense infection in the middle east.

As stated earlier, we said that any fungal infection must be treated as early as possible.

Let’s see what the basic treatment of Capititis is:

  • For children, doctors usually prescribe oral anti-fungal suspension as  ” Griseofulvin”; it must be consumed for six to eight weeks. But it should not be used for adult men because it damages sperm after consumption and highly impacts women’s reproductive system (menstrual cycle) for months after treatment.
  • Instead of Griseofulvin, doctors use “Terbinafine” for adults. It can successfully reverse the infection within three to four weeks.
  • Itraconazole and fluconazole are also prescribed when the symptom is less severe.
  • The doctor also prescribes anti-fungal shampoos in conjunction with the above treatment. These shampoos are not for daily use; instead, they must be used twice a week.

2. Folliculitis

Folliculitis is basically inflammation of hair follicles. It looks similar to acne, with little ring-like inflammation embedded around the hair follicle. In the primary stage of folliculitis, the hair strands or fibres can still be present, but if it is untreated in the primary stage, it progresses very fast; therefore, hair fibres come out from the follicles. When this fungal infection gets severe, inflammation causes permanent damage to hair follicles and leaves only bald patches.

People who use oils, grease, and gels can also have folliculitis, but that will be non-infectious and doesn’t cause intensive hair loss. Hot tub folliculitis is also one kind of infectious folliculitis caused by “Staphylococcus aureus”, which basically proliferates on chlorinated water.

Folliculitis is treated through antibiotics such as Mycitracin,  Bacitracin, and Neomycin. These medicines generally treat mild to moderate levels of folliculitis. If symptoms get severe, doctors prescribe oral antibiotics such as Erythromycins.

3. Piedra or Trichomycosis Nodularis

It is the infection of hair fibres. The scientific name of Piedra is “ Trichomycosis Nodularis”. The visible symptom of Piedra infection is the growth of hard nodules on the hair fibres. The nodules are basically the assimilation of hyphae and the fruiting body of fungus, also known as “ Ascostroma” that releases the fungal spores and encourages them to proliferate.

You can get two types of Piedra; Black Piedra ( It has a black nodule around the hair strand) & white Piedra ( It has a white nodule around the hair strand). “ Piedraia hortae” causes Black Piedra, and ” “Trichosporon Beigeii” causes white Piedra. These kinds of Piedra are primarily found in Europe and the Southern part of the United States.

Piedra infection can affect all hair-grown areas, such as the scalp, body, and genital parts, but fortunately, the infection is completely benign. When the infection gets severe, the fungi completely dismantle the hair fibre and make them easy to come off. Piedra causes patchy, diffused hair loss.

For treatment, doctors provide Anti-fungal medicines such as Ketoconazole and Terbinafine; doctors also recommend shaving off the affected areas.

The doctor may prescribe hair transplantation if you have irreversible patchy baldness due to a fungal infection. As it is an aesthetic cosmetic procedure, it must be done by the best hair transplant surgeon in India.

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