Despite the fact that H pylori infection has been implicated as a possible causative factor in several skin diseases, I haven’t been able to find a great deal of information linking the infection to alopecia areata.
Alopecia areata is caused by an autoimmune reaction against hair follicles, which leads to the hair falling out.
T-cell lymphocytes cluster around affected follicles, causing inflammation and subsequent hair loss.
According to Wikipedia, an unknown environmental trigger such as emotional stress or a pathogen is thought to combine with hereditary factors to cause the condition.
Because H pylori is a major human pathogen, it is possible that infection may lead to the autoimmune reaction that causes alopecia areata.
There are several mechanisms by which infections are believed to trigger autoimmunity. These include cross reactivity and molecular mimicry, both of which are described elsewhere on this site.
Unfortunately, as mentioned above, I haven’t found much research suggesting that H pylori is a culprit. Just because the research hasn’t been done yet does not, however, preclude H pylori from having an involvement.
The single study I did find reported that the incidence of H pylori in 68 alopecia areata patients was higher than in controls. This only provides a weak association and certainly does not prove a cause and effect relationship.
But we must also remember that so many other infections have the ability to cause or contribute to autoimmune conditions, including parasites, fungal overgrowth and chronic viral infections.
In addition to the ‘bugs’, environmental triggers – especially toxins – may also trigger autoimmunity in its many forms.
If you are struggling with any form of skin condition or autoimmune disease, you must consider all the possible environmental triggers, nutritional imbalances and stressors that are imposing themselves either in or on your body.
Don’t guess. Assess and address. Maybe you’d like some help in this process?
H Pylori & Alopecia Research
Tosti et al. Helicobacter pylori and skin diseases. Gastroenterol Int 1997; 10: 37-9.