I've been quiet for a bit because I've been in a bit of a funk - solely related to my hair. When I announced that I was pregnant again I mentioned that one of my concerns was that the hormonal changes and elevated stress associated with the hyperemesis gravidarum I get when pregnant would have an adverse effect on my hair...again... and four months after my pregnance my fears were confirmed as a large patch appeared overnight at the back of my head... well it hasn't stopped there.
Two smaller patches have appeared just above the nape of my neck, the number of locks 'lost' (detached) or 'weakened' (hanging by one or two strands of hair) has risen from 9 to almost 20. The lost ones are preceded by an intense itching or burning sensation - as predicted by my dermatologist. This loss is caused by Alopecia Areata.
I find the weakened ones when retightening or separating after washing, you feel a large lump or bump near the base of the existing loc, and at the root (beneath this strange bump) only 2 or 3 strands of hair still attached to the scalp. This 'excessive shedding' is caused by post-partum Telogen Effluvium (same as last year after I had my son).
While the prognosis for TE is good ie the most likely outcome is regrowth, the same cannot be said for Alopecia Areata (see below) - so I am fighting a battle on two fronts.
At this point - with the ongoing shedding and spreading alopecia areata I am seriously considering shaving my head- I'm talking lower than G.I Jane because my alopecia areas are pure skin and won't blend in otherwise. I'm just so tired of the itching and burning and uncertainty like - is it over now? Or is there still more to come?
For the most part, I've tried to remain upbeat and positive about it and even encourage other women (online and otherwise) facing their own hairloss issues (pregnancy related or otherwise) but recently the 'situation' has started to really get me down. HRH has been incredibly supportive - he is of the opinion that if it grew back once - it can do so again - but my mind takes it a step further: "if it happened before... will it happen again?" I mean seriously, - am I now sentenced to a life time of hair loss and regrowth?
I don't know, only time will tell - but I really just needed to get that off my chest.
I guess I can get back to blogging about other stuff now :)
I think one of the most frustrating things about this is that there isn't much (if anything) that I can do about it. If I had worn more hair in tight styles - I could stop and it would grow back, if it were the result of some sort of drug abuse - again, I could quit and it would eventually grow back but knowing that it is my own body mistakenly attacking my hair follicles and there is not a darned skippy thing I can do about it is pretty depressing. (The condition is thought to be an autoimmune disorder in which the body attacks its own hair follicles and suppresses or stops hair growth. )
Facts about Telogen Effluvium
This article explains it so much better than I can - essentially your hair (or large sections of it) all decide to 'go to sleep' ie stop growing and fall out at the same time... kinda like they're all having a flash forward.
Facts about Alopecia Areata (AA)
AA is NOT the same as traction alopecia and is also known as 'spot baldness'. It is NOT caused by excessive tension (tight hairstyles, weaves, buns, braids etc). The causes of an attack of AA are unknown, however prevailing thought is that the condition is a manifestation of autoimmunity (Autoimmune diseases arise from an overactive immune response of the body against substances and tissues normally present in the body. In other words, the body actually attacks its own cells. The immune system mistakes some part of the body as a pathogen and attacks it)
The most common type of alopecia areata involves hair loss in one or more round spots on the scalp.
- Hair may also be lost more diffusely over the whole scalp, in which case the condition is called diffuse alopecia areata.
- Alopecia areata monolocularis describes baldness in only one spot. It may occur anywhere on the head.
- Alopecia areata multilocularis refers to multiple areas of hair loss.
Signs & Symptoms
- First symptoms are small, soft, bald patches which can take just about any shape but are most usually round.
- There may be different skin areas with hair loss and regrowth in the same body at the same time.
- It may also go into remission for a time, or permanently.
- The area of hair loss may tingle or be very slightly painful.
There is NO CURE for alopecia areata and no universally successful treatment for it either.
UK Sufferers can log on to http://www.alopeciaonline.org.uk/ for support and advice.