It is not possible to talk about a certain factor about why ringworm occurs. It is a disease related to the immune system. It occurs mostly in genetically predisposed people. It belongs to a group of diseases called “autoimmune diseases”, in which people’s own cells are perceived as foreign by the immune system and attacked.
In ringworm, the body’s immune cells attack the hair follicles and the surrounding area, accumulate and interfere with the function of the hair root, leading to hair loss.
It is not known exactly what activates these cells, but it is known that stress attacks trigger ringworm. Ringworm can occur in genetically susceptible individuals following stress attacks. Other autoimmune diseases can also be seen, especially in recurrent ringworm disease. It is known that ringworm is more common in people with thyroid disease.
Who gets the most ringworm?
Although ringworm can be seen at any age, it is more common in children and young men. It is more common in those who have one or more of the other autoimmune diseases (Type 1 Diabetes mellitus, Hashimoto thyroiditis, etc.).
What are the symptoms of ringworm?
- Ringworm disease is most common in the scalp.
- However, it can affect all body hair. Generally, round or ellipsoid shaped, smooth edges, completely hairless patch-like areas are seen.
- Pain, itching-like complaints are not felt in this area.
- Nail disorders may be seen simultaneously in some patients.
The course of the disease cannot be predicted. Everyone can watch it differently. Hair growth can be seen in the spilled area within a few months. However, in some special areas, very old or frequently recurring lesions, hair growth may be much more difficult and late. Rarely, in the form called “Alopecia Universalis“, all hairs in the body are affected and may be lost permanently.
How is it diagnosed?
Ringworm disease can be diagnosed only by examination. From time to time, hair examination, scalp examination with a device called dermoscopy, and, if necessary, a biopsy of the scalp may be required. Especially in recurrent cases, accompanying diseases, measuring the levels of vitamins affecting the hair, etc. blood tests can be done for these purposes.
How is ringworm treated?
Ringworm treatment is performed by dermatology physicians and varies according to the prevalence, duration, and location of the disease. Spontaneous recovery can be seen especially in less common lesions. However, since the visibility of the disease affects the patients, various treatments can be arranged to prevent and accelerate the spread of the disease.
Generally, first-line treatment is worshiped with medication. The use of creams that contain cortisone or irritate the skin can respond well over a long period of time. Since the use of creams aimed at creating irritation in the treatment of ringworm can sometimes cause anxiety, patients are warned about this issue.
In more resistant lesions, cortisone injections can be made under the skin. Vitamin pills that support hair follicles can be given orally. In common and resistant patients, ultraviolet therapy called phototherapy and some systemic drugs that affect the immune system can also be used.