Trichotillomania is hair loss caused by compulsive pulling and/or twisting of the hair until it breaks off. The hair may be lost in round patches or diffusely across the scalp. The effect is an uneven appearance. Other hairy areas may be plucked, such as the eyebrows, eyelashes, or body hair.
These symptoms are usually seen in children:
– constant tugging, pulling, or twisting of hair
– increasing sense of tension is present before the hair pulling
– sense of relief, pleasure, or gratification is reported after the hair pulling
– hair pulling leads to an uneven appearance
– bare patches or diffuse loss of hair
– hair regrowth in the bare spots that feels like stubble
– some individuals may develop a bowel obstruction if they eat the hair they pull out
– other self-injury behaviors may be present
– people suffering from this disorder often deny pulling out their hair
A biopsy may be done to rule out other causes, such as a scalp infection, to explain the hair loss.