What is Werewolf Syndrome? Hypertrichosis : All you need to know

The nation was shocked when a teenage boy from Madhya Pradesh with the rare medical condition known as werewolf syndrome came forward and spoke about his experiences with peer bullying. The prevalence of this condition is pretty rare as there are only about 50 cases of this kind of hypertrichosis have ever been documented, according to JAMA Dermatology. It's the 21st century and now it's high time for us to educate ourselves on things that are rare or uncommon, rather than using it as an excuse to spread havoc. Here is a full guide on the Werewolf Syndrome, officially known as Hypertrichosis.
What is Werewolf Syndrome? Hypertrichosis : All you need to know
What is Werewolf Syndrome? Hypertrichosis : All you need to know

The nation was shocked when a teenage boy from Madhya Pradesh with the rare medical condition known as "werewolf syndrome" came forward and spoke about his experiences with peer bullying. 

The 17-year-old boy Lalit who was born with this peculiar skin condition, popularly as the werewolf syndrome has made headlines. 

The symptoms of this syndrome were seen when the boy was only six years old and was going through changes nobody else was.

Due to the fact this illness is so uncommon, the person going through it often becomes a subject of horror and mockery. 

The prevalence of this condition is pretty rare as there are only about 50 cases of this kind of hypertrichosis have ever been documented, according to JAMA Dermatology

It's the 21st century and now it's high time for us to educate ourselves on things that are rare or uncommon, rather than using it as an excuse to spread havoc. 

Here is a full guide on the "Werewolf Syndrome", officially known as Hypertrichosis.

What is Werewolf syndrome or Hypertrichosis? 

  • The skin condition Hypertrichosis, also known as werewolf syndrome, is characterized by excessive hair growth all over a person’s body.
  • Both women and men can be affected by it, though it’s extremely rare. 
  • The unusual hair growth may cover the face and no
  • It can also occur in small clusters or passages.
  • The symptoms of Hypertrichosis can be seen at the time of birth or develop over time.

 

What are the Types of hypertrichosis or the Werewolf Syndrome?

There are various types of hypertrichosis:

  • The first one is Congenital hypertrichosis lanuginosa: It can be seen first as normal lanugo. The fine hair seen on a baby, at birth. Ideally this hair should disappear during the subsequent weeks but instead the soft fine hair continues to grow in various places on the baby’s body.
  • The second case is Congenital hypertrichosis terminalis: In this condition the abnormal hair growth starts at birth and goes on throughout a person’s life. The Hair which grows on the person's body is usually long and thick. The hair can cover the person's face as well.
  • The third condition would be Nevoid hypertrichosis: Here, the unusual and Excessive hair growth appears in a defined area. In a few cases, more than one patch of hair can be seen too.
  • The fourth case is Hirsutism: This form of hypertrichosis can only be caused in women and It results in dark, thick hair growing in places women normally don’t have hair, for example their face, chest, and back.
  • The fifth condition is Acquired hypertrichosis: which is different from congenital hypertrichosis which starts at the person's birth. 

In the acquired form, the disease tends to develop later in life. It affects the person  in ways  of hair other than lanugo: vellus or terminal hair. In this condition, Excessive hair growth can bring out small patches or all hair-growing areas of a person’s body.

Symptoms of hypertrichosis or the Werewolf Syndrome:

As mentioned formerly, hypertrichosis can arise at the time of birth or can develop later in life.

Hypertrichosis usually generates one of three types of hair:

  • Vellus
  • Lanugo
  • Terminal
  • Problems with Gums or teeth can also be seen as a symptom of hypertrichosis, it is when Some of your  teeth may be missing, or your gums may be enlarged.

Causes of the Werewolf Syndrome

The causes of hypertrichosis aren’t well comprehended at the moment, though it's observed that this condition tends to run in families.

  • The condition of Congenital hypertrichosis may be a result of the reactivation of genes that induce hair growth.
  • According to the research the genes that used to cause extensive hair growth in early man have shut down with time during the course of evolution. 
  • There's a hypothesis that somehow the  hair-growth genes “turn on” while a baby is still in the womb.

Acquired hypertrichosis causes :

  • porphyria cutanea tarda, it is a condition where your skin is extremely sensitive to light
  • malnutrition
  • Diets
  •  eating disorder like anorexia nervosa
  • cancer
  •  Drugs like the hair-growth drug minoxidil, and cyclosporine (Sandimmune)

Hypertrichosis causes:

  • lichen simplex, it is a chronic skin condition that can cause itchiness and reiterated scratching of a patch of skin
  • temporary use of a plaster cast
  • increased vascularity, which is a bodybuilding technique to develop prominent blood vessels near the surface of the skin

Treatment of hypertrichosis or the Werewolf Syndrome:

The werewolf Syndrome or Hypertrichosis has no cure, and nothing can be done to prevent disease since it's by birth. The chances to get acquired hypertrichosis can be reduced by resisting certain medications, such as minoxidil.

Treating hypertrichosis does involve a variety of  short-term methods like: 

  • shaving
  • chemical epilation
  • waxing
  • plucking
  • hair bleaching

The methods mentioned above are interim treatments and can run the risk of causing painful or uncomfortable skin irritation. 

They can't be done on each and every part.

Some Long-term treatments include electrolysis and laser surgery. 

Through Electrolysis the individual hair follicles can be destroyed with minor electrical charges. 

While laser surgery implicates the application of a special laser light over several hairs at one time.

The Hair loss with these treatments can be permanent and might have to invest in a few sessions to complete the job.

After knowing all of this the one thing we can do to help these people is to be kind to them. The person going through this is already facing so much. So let's educate ourselves and provide each individual with a healthy social environment.

 

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