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Alopecia Areata in Women is Real – Don’t Suffer in Silence

Alopecia areata sufferer Julia Crittendon has written a book in hope it will offer encouragement to other female Alopecia Areata sufferers, after she found no literary or any support other than her family when she was diagnosed seven years ago.

Her recent self published book, “Metamorphosis: Inspirational Stories of Women Living with Alopecia”, charts the experiences of 22 women as the dealt with hair loss and what it’s like to be a bald woman.

Bald is beautifulAutoimmune hair loss

Hair loss is not a male-restricted domain, it can affect up to 40 per cent of women and alopecia areata specifically, can affect as many as one person in a thousand at some time in their life and spares no regard for age or gender.

It is a condition of hair loss which falls into the category of autoimmune diseases, which means for one reason or another, the body’s own immune system mistakenly attacks the hair follicles. The result is rapid and patchy hair loss, usually starting with one or more small, round, smooth bald patches on the scalp which can, in extreme cases, progress to alopecia totalis (total scalp hair loss) or alopecia universalis (complete body hair loss).

Alopecia areata is an autoimmune condition which, with monitored treatment, can see results. However there is no prognosis to determine its success.

If hair loss is still in the patchy stages there is better chance of regrowth,” trichologist Leonora Doclis said. “Very often it grows back spontaneously by itself but if it hasn’t after six months it might be worth considering treatment.”

Psychological impacts

Despite the statistics, baldness in women remains a very hush-hush issue but the impact cannot be written off as mere vanity.

For all sufferers the condition can be a shocking and traumatic experience,”says Leonora.

A study on the psychosocial impact of alopecia areata found that the condition causes dramatic and devastating emotions in patients, which can negatively affect their self-esteem, body image and self-confidence.

Sometimes doing something about it might be enough to make you feel better,” Leonora explains. “But it is discretionary and sometimes people need further help when general family support isn’t enough. In these cases I would recommend counseling.

The psychological impact can be heightened in women because of social pressures on them to be attractive.

People are still hiding from it,” Julia from Mansfield, Ohio said. “These women are standing up to what was meant to destroy and depress them and are turning it into positive, productive energy so that the next woman who loses her ‘crown and glory’ won’t fall victim to what society deems as ‘normal’.”

Wig‘Take me as I am’

The women who contributed to the book described it as a therapeutic journey. Jenn Pendergrast from Florida who was diagnosed in 2006 said she has finally accepted that she is totally bald.

“It was actually the first time I put my story into words and I cried the entire time I was writing,” she said. “It felt awesome to put all that had happened into words for others to read.

Netherlands resident Tamara Cramer Bornemann, who also contributed to the book, was diagnosed with alopecia areata when she was five years-old. “I only wore a wig once, when I was about seven years-old, and I didn’t feel too good about it,” she said. “So from that moment I went through life without a wig. The teenage years were pretty difficult because I wanted to be normal. In my 20s I felt in bloom and enjoyed life.”

Julia said it took her five years before she went bald in public. At one point she tried wearing a $3,000 wig but these days she shaves her head. She recalls telling herself before her first outing, “This is me, take me as I am.”

(Images courtesy of arianne… at flickr)

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Alopecia Areata Condition and Treatment Information   |   Alopecia Areata – Cleared up in Most Cases    |   My daughter has alopecia areata – what can be done?


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3 Comments

13th July, 2010 at 11:40 pm

Siana Marshall

its peaceful to know im not the only person going through this. i was diagnosed with alopecia areata when i was just 2 years old. luckily, my hair grew back, but recently its started falling out again, but only this time, it hurts. see when i was younger i didn't know what was going on, but now, its tearing me apart. i don't feel feminine anymore. i've been prescribed a wig to wear, but that just makes me feel even worse, its not me, its not Siana! i know my family love me and sympathise, but i don't want sympathy, i want support. i feel as if im doing this alone. i feel the need to just shave the rest of my hair off!! get it over with, theres only a little more left to go, might aswell finish the job. i has beaten me, i give up. i just don't know what to do, or how to feel. im not ME anymore!

10th April, 2013 at 3:42 am

Michael

I dont suppose Ive read something like this just before. So nice to find somebody with some original thoughts on this topic. realy thank you for starting this up. this web-site is something that is needed on the internet,

15th April, 2013 at 11:04 pm

Dee

I must agree with Siana...yes it is good to know I'm not the only person going through this!!! I have looked on the internet for this kind of group, but it's my first time seeing someone speak out on this. I am also an alopecia suffer, I did the wig for awhile, but it gave me bad headaches, so then I just deceided to cut and shave my head, eventhough I have gotten lots of compliments on my new look, some days I miss not having hair very very much. I just wanted to say to Siana, "you are you, and you will always be you, so please try your best to embrace it, and love yourself in the process!"

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