Hair Loss and me

When I was young hair loss was only something that happened to older men. I never thought it would be something I would ever have to deal with but I was wrong. In my early twenties I was diagnosed with PCOS (Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome), which is something I have had to learn to live with. One of the side effects is hair loss from the scalp and unwanted hair growth (hirsutism) on the face, chest, back, stomach, thumbs, or toes caused by high androgen hormone levels. Luckily I was diagnosed early and got treatment (the pill Dianette), which my body responded too quite well. I had electrolysis hair removal for some of the unwanted hair that had appeared and the painful acne cleared up but this is all dependent on remaining on the treatment. So when it came to trying for a baby this became a problem. I stopped my medication following my GPs advice and we tried to conceive knowing that infertility issues are also a symptom of PCOS. Hormones can be a cruel taskmaster when they are out of sync. Every week that passed the symptoms grew, everyday a new pimple appeared each one taking a week to heal and for every 5 normal pimples I got a large painful blind pimple which takes even longer to go. Just when you think it can’t get any worst you get pimples on pimples and you start seeing a few darker hairs appearing on your face. Looking in the mirror becomes tortuous. I started to avoid mirrors and going out not wanting anyone to see me. I got so depressed because on top of all the hormone issues, you have to deal with the lows of each month discovering you are not pregnant and you have to carry on for another month. I couldn’t even tell when I was ovulating as every month that passed my cycle was getting further apart. After a few months I noticed my hair was thinning. I can’t explain the despair I felt when I would brush my hair and the hairbrush was full of hair or everywhere you look around the house you see your hair.... it's everywhere. And then you have the doctor tell you not to stress this is normal. I felt like I was turning into a monster, a fat, bearded bald, crater faced, bad tempered depressed monster.... and I'm supposed to not get stressed about it! It was a very hard time. Eventually after 9 months of trying our GP suggested testing my husband as well. The test came back with him also having a problem. The NHS did not cover the fertility treatment we would need. So emotionally exhausted after a lot of tears and anguish we decided that we needed a break and I went back onto the pill, my skin cleared, some more electrolysis, I cut my hair and it started to grow back but not as thick as it had been. A few weeks later I had some terrible news from a friend, she had been diagnosed with breast cancer and she would loose all her hair! Its one of the worst things you can hear from a loved one. What can you say or do. Its such a scary prospect, I knew how terrible I felt just having my hair thinning let alone loosing it all and facing down a very scary illness. She showed me some terrible cheap headscarves she bought online to which I promptly told her she was not allowed to wear. I used my fashion background to design her a few headscarves and soft hats, which she could wear and feel fashionable, comfortable and not stick out. That’s how I started working in headwear.   

Posted by Gina Ritchie
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