Stress of miscarriage leaves woman with alopecia, anaemia, and seizures

When Nadine Griffiths, suffered a miscarriage, the pregnancy loss wasn’t the only thing she had to deal with.

As well as going through this already traumatic experience, the stress of the whole thing ended up having a number of side effects for the 29-year-old.

Nadine says her hair suddenly started falling out after she had a miscarriage in August 2012, which was also accompanied by seizures and and iron deficiency.

She says losing her hair has left her embarrassed and that she’s constantly asked by people if she has cancer.

The mum-of-two, of Abercynon, South Wales, said: ‘It’s been horrendous because for me I’ve always had long hair.

‘It’s taken my femininity away from me. I feel guilty feeling hard done by as I know there are people out there with cancer who’ve had chemotherapy and lost their hair.

‘It’s completely changed my life. I went from fun and easy going to uptight, emotional, nervy and anxious about everything.’

The pregnancy was only discovered by Nadine after she went to the hospital for pain and bleeding.

‘I was at home and started bleeding. I was in a lot of pain and didn’t know what was going on,’ Nadine explains.

‘I went to the hospital and did a pregnancy test. They told me I was pregnant and I was quite surprised.

‘To start with I was quite pleased at the news. 48 hours later the medics told me that I had actually miscarried. It was horrendous.’

The trauma and stress affected Nadine dramatically. She became anaemic and began having seizures as a result of what she was going through.

From there, her hair began falling out.

‘The hair loss was over a two week period starting with just a small patch at first… Six weeks later most of it was gone.

‘I remember coming home from work and my clothes were just absolutely covered in my malting hair, it was horrible.’

When a friend jokingly put a sticker on Nadine’s head, she was left mortified when it was taken off and took clumps of her hair with it.

The condition has come and gone since she was diagnosed in 2013, with it currently leaving Nadine with bald patches.

It’s been hard for her to explain to her six and four-year-old sons about what’s going on, and they both ask her where her hair’s gone, with Nadine saying, ‘the boys ask me what’s wrong and why I’ve lost my hair but it’s just so hard to explain it all to them.’

A wig has been a saving grace for Nadine, and she wears one every day to feel like her old self and boost her confidence.

‘The lowest point has been when I was getting into the shower one morning. As the water was hitting my head clumps of hair were just falling out,’ she says.

‘By the end of May I was struggling to cover up the patches and was pretty much completely bald. I went out in public with no hair or with headscarves.

‘I’ve been wearing a wig since August. Although it’s not ideal it makes me feel like people aren’t staring at me anymore. It makes me feel feminine again and gives me that bit of confidence I need to go out and face the world.’

Nadine is currently raising money on GoFundMe to pay for the cost of a new wig. You can donate here.

What is alopecia?

Alopecia itself simply refers to hair loss, which can be caused by a variety of factors (including age and chemotherapy).

However, Nadine’s specific form of alopecia would be called alopecia areata. This is defined by Alopecia UK:

‘Alopecia areata (AA) is understood to be an autoimmune condition. The immune system which normally protects the body from foreign invaders, such as viruses and bacteria, mistakenly attacks the hair follicles. This is what leads to hair loss.’

‘Alopecia areata is not catching and no connection has been made with food or vitamin deficiencies. Stress occasionally appears to be a trigger for alopecia areata, but it is possible that this link may be coincidental as many of those affected have no significant stress.’

Currently there is no cure for alopecia areata.

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