Hair loss after sepsis

(39 Posts)
cabana1 Mon 30-Apr-18 00:12:58

Has anyone experienced this? I had kidney failure caused by severe sepsis in December, and for the past month my hair has been falling out in handfuls. I now have to tie my hair back, but my ponytail is barely there. My doctor says it's due to the massive trauma my body suffered, and it will grow back, but the shedding doesn't seem to be slowing down. I've been using Nioxin shampoo and taking silica vitamins for a couple of months now, but I'm not seeing any benefit yet 😢. It's really getting me down.

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Shewhositsbythesea Tue 01-May-18 08:39:32

My son was very ill and underwent major surgery last summer and started losing his hair about 3 months after surgery. Understandably, he too was very upset about this. It has now grown back and is totally normal but it took about 7 months to totally resolve. I looked into this at the time and found this article which helped him and I understand why this was happening -

Hope that helps

DuchyDuke Tue 01-May-18 08:45:21

It can take up to a year to get back to normal. Ensure you have been tested for deficiencies

IHateToCashew Tue 01-May-18 08:47:11

I think your GP is probably right, but have you have blood tests to confirm its not an issue with iron or your thyroid (or anything else that may be related to hair loss). I think it's worth ruling those out, just in case.

Is the hair growing back? Even if it is really short?

Mooey89 Tue 01-May-18 08:47:26

Yes, I had sepsis three years ago.
My hair fell out too. My doctor said the same, your hair falls out in cycles anyway but also as a response to trauma.
Mine is totally back to normal now.

flowers for you, it’s really hard. I was quite psychologically scarred after, which is apparently normal for sepsis, so if you’d like to talk, just PM me.

oxcat1 Tue 01-May-18 10:19:34

And me! I had no idea that it could happen, and by the time my hair started to fall out, I had actually been readmitted for something else. I remember weeping alone in my side room all alone because it seemed too trivial to bother the doctors and yet I was really upset and scared. Fortunately a doctor happened to pop in to ask me something ans saw what was going on...

I bought some cotton hats off eBay as I had no idea how much hair - or how little - would come out. I was scared of ending up bald and unable to leave the house. In fact it never really became that noticeable to anyone other than myself and DH, and is now back to normal.

I also had lots of skin peeling on my fingers - like bad sunburn. Did that happen to anyone else?

cabana1 Tue 01-May-18 21:21:51

Thanks for all your replies. Shewhositsbythesea - that link was very informative, thank you. It’s good to understand exactly what is happening and why. My doctor didn’t really give me much information.

I have been tested for deficiencies and everything seems to be back to normal now. I’m hoping the vitamins will make a difference.

Mooey89 glad to hear your hair is back to normal, it’s good to hear from someone who’s been through it. It is very hard psychologically, I think I’m struggling more now than I was immediately after I had sepsis.

Oxcat1 I was the same; I didn’t know this could happen so it was quite a shock when the shedding started. I cry every time I wash my hair. It wasn’t particularly thick before, so now it’s incredibly thin. I think I’ll have to get it cut into a short bob 😞. A few weeks after I got home from hospital my skin flaked off my entire body. Exactly like with sunburn. It was horrible.

How long did the shedding last for you both?

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cabana1 Tue 01-May-18 21:25:54

IHateToCashew no, no sign of it growing back yet.

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PortiaCastis Tue 01-May-18 21:27:15

I had sepsis 18 months ago and yes had hair loss + lost toe but found this site invaluable for help

I hope your hair grows soon, mine has and is much thicker..

BitchyHen Tue 01-May-18 21:40:33

Yes I lost quite a lot of hair, maybe half? About 3 or 4 months after sepsis. My hair all grew back in during the next few months and was back to normal within a year.

I too lost an entire layer of skin off my whole body. The dermatologist said the body was just working on keeping vital functions going so skin and hair, being less important, wasn't maintained.

The other thing that happened was a few months later when my friend cut my hair, there was a line of white hair, like a ring around each hair strand where it has grown but had no colour. So we think that must have happened when I was really ill, then as I recovered the colour starter to be produced again. I wonder if this is the origin of stories about hair turning white from shock?

Do watch out for emotional symptoms too OP. Have a look at some of the stuff on post sepsis syndrome. I hated being ill, and it took me over six months to be well enough to return to work, and I probably should have taken longer. It felt as if all my resilience had gone and small issues became major setbacks. It took about a year to eighteen months for me to feel completely well, so give yourself plenty of time.

cabana1 Tue 01-May-18 23:06:57

Thanks for the link PortiaCastis, I’ll check it out. Sorry about your toe, but glad your hair came back thicker; hopefully mine will too.

BitchyHen I think I must’ve lost about half my hair too. I hope I see some regrowth soon. I’ve heard about hair losing pigment; it just shows how much sepsis affects the entire body. Regarding emotional symptoms, I too find small issues much harder to deal with than I did previously. Some days I just feel overwhelmed by routine things. I feel I should be back to normal by now, and most days I’m ok, but every now and then the realisation of what happened (& what could’ve happened) just hits me like a sledgehammer.

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mittensofsteel Tue 01-May-18 23:15:33

You poor thing. Biotin and vitamin b6 are supposed to be good for hair growth.. might be worth googling.

cabana1 Tue 01-May-18 23:25:51

Thanks; the vitamins I’m taking contain biotin, but I’ll read up on b6 too. Selenium is also supposed to be good, maybe get that as well.

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Littleredboat Tue 01-May-18 23:35:03

No experience but I just wanted to say you’ve all been through so much. I’m so sorry.

PerspicaciaTick Tue 01-May-18 23:37:33

Mine grew back OK after a year or so...but curly instead of straight.
I'm glad you are recovering, tis a horrible experience.

PortiaCastis Tue 01-May-18 23:51:09

I found that John Freida core restore shampoo was very effective in giving my hair a bit more volume, bit expensive but worth a try

LivLemler Wed 02-May-18 08:12:10

I lost about a third of my hair after a bad bout of food poisoning (obviously nowhere near as serious as sepsis!). I read that hair has three phases of growth and when we have a big physical or emotional shock, the hair in one of those phases can be triggered to fall out. Just a warning - I found the regrowth incredibly frustrating as the hairs were short and flyaway - I had a halo of frizz above my ponytail for ages. But it did grow out and was normal once it had some length and weight to it. Just a warning!

I had previously had mild hair loss when a relative was ill and I thought this was just going to be something that happened whenever I had a big life event. But it's more than ten years later now and it hasn't happened since the food poisoning, including when said relative died.

cabana1 Wed 02-May-18 08:41:31

Thanks for all the tips. It's good to hear from people who have experienced this, it gives me a bit of hope that my hair will grow back. I wouldn't be surprised if it comes back flyaway at first, as it is pretty fine. It's going to take a while to get to a decent length either way.

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SunnySkiesSleepsintheMorning Wed 02-May-18 19:43:07

I lost loads of hair after sepsis. I spent a few months mainly lying down which I think didn’t help. It is beginning to grow back almost a year later. I didn’t do much except wait. I know it’s probably frustrating to hear but time is a great healer. I think using a wide toothed comb helped, as my hair got delicate. I also tried to wash my hair less.

Take care. flowers

cabana1 Wed 02-May-18 20:44:26

Thanks for your reply SunnySkiesSleepsintheMorning. I too spent about 2 months in bed, so perhaps that doesn’t help. I’ve only been washing my hair once a week as it’s so upsetting to see how much hair comes out. My hairdresser is coming tomorrow as I think I need to have it chopped again, so hopefully it’ll look less like rats tails. I hope your hair returns to normal soon too 💐

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Wildernesstips Wed 02-May-18 21:16:27

I lost a lot of hair about six months after having sepsis. I had it cut short which made it seem less noticeable. It is fine now (4 years on), but wrt the emotional side - I was completely stoic and determined to carry on regardless and was back at work after 3 months despite having been on life support. When I look back, I really regret not taking longer to acclimatise back to 'normal' life and I think my emotional/mental health probably took a toll because of it.

Hope you feel better soon.

cabana1 Fri 04-May-18 14:47:01

Thanks Wildernesstips, I've had a similar attitude but it's starting to take its toll now. Maybe I need to stop expecting too much of myself. I had my hair cut short yesterday and it's really upset me, but hopefully I'll start to see some regrowth soon. Hope you're feeling much better.

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gobbin Fri 04-May-18 17:25:56

It’s known as telogen effluvium. The hair goes into shock and stops growing, then gets dumped about 2-3 months afterwards. Quite normal and it will return.

lovemylover Sat 05-May-18 19:09:39

I have some hair loss recently, nd dont really know why except had a very stressful year, also lost weight
I read only today that sudden weight loss can cause loss of or thinning hair,and to up proteins as much as possible

Nia28 Fri 12-Apr-19 11:52:06

Hi. I recently(4weeks ago) developed sepsis during labour and am now losing my hair badly. My hair is usualy thick but now is really thin and fear at the rate it is falling out I will be bald within a week😢😩Any ideas how I can stop this or what I could do to help it? X

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