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Dermatology. 2002;205(4):374-7.

Hair pain (trichodynia): frequency and relationship to hair loss and patient gender.

Author information

1
Department of Dermatology, University Hospital of Zurich, Switzerland.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Patients complaining of hair loss frequently claim that their hair has become painful.

OBJECTIVE AND METHODS:

The aim of the study was to evaluate the frequency of this phenomenon and its relationship to hair loss. Patients seeking advice for hair loss either spontaneously reported or were questioned about painful sensations of the scalp. Hair loss activity was quantified by a hair pull, daily count and wash test. Telogen percentage was obtained by a hair pluck. The scalp surface was examined by dermatoscopy.

RESULTS:

Of 403 examined patients, 20% of women and 9% of men reported hair pain, irrespective of the cause and activity of hair loss. A minority presented scalp telangiectasia. This strongly correlated with hair pain.

CONCLUSIONS:

Hair pain (trichodynia) affects a significant proportion of patients complaining of hair loss and may increase the anxiety. The symptom neither allows discrimination of the cause nor correlates with the activity of hair loss. A higher prevalence of female patients might be connected to gender-related differences in pain perception in relation to anxiety. The role of vasoactive neuropeptides in the interaction between the central nervous system and skin reactivity is discussed. In the absence of any correlation with quantitative parameters of hair loss or specific morphologic changes of the scalp, management remains empiric and tailored to the individual.

PMID:
12444334
DOI:
10.1159/000066437
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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