It may be rare but it can happen. 32-year old Lisa C of Norwich expected to go through a few changes during pregnancy, but hair loss was not one of them. If anything she looked forward to her hair looking more lustrous as it often does when expecting in response to all the hormones swashing around. It is only after birth that most women experience some temporary thinning for up to a year as their body readjusts its cycles, including its hair growth and shedding cycle.
Lisa first noticed signs of thinning shortly after she found out she was pregnant, but tried not to panic assuming it must be a symptom. But it didn’t stop at thin, it carried on falling until three months later the crown area and front were largely bald. She consulted her GP who referred her to a dermatologist who diagnosed alopecia areta – a type of hair loss that causes bald patches on the scalp. Steroid injections might stimulate growth again, but Lisa was warned that this could harm the baby and it was best to wait until it was born.
After Lisa’s daughter Leah was born Lisa hoped that her hair might start growing back again. Instead, much to her horror, it just got even worse until she was almost completely bald. Doctors broke the
news that there was nothing they could do to make her hair grow back.
‘I just wanted to lock myself away and hide forever. But I had a daughter to take care of. I had to be strong for her’ she said.
Lisa experimented with wigs but couldn’t find any she thought looked realistic enough to switched to baseball caps.
‘I became a recluse and stopped going out with friends. Then Leah’s father and I separated and I felt even more alone.’
When Leah was 3 Lisa tried the hair loss treatment Regaine and noticed her hair was slowly getting thicker on top, albeit grey. Leah was horrified as she was only in her twenties.
“I became obsessed with finding the grey hairs and getting rid of them. I’d sit with a compact mirror and tweezers for hours, inspecting my head,” she says. “It became a compulsion.”
So from alopecia areta, Lisa also developed stress-induced Trichotillomania. Eventually Lisa was referred for Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), which helped her mind, but not her hair. Then one day Lisa saw an item on TV about natural hair systems. She made enquiries, decided to go for it and has never looked back.