alopecia in pregnancyA former burlesque dancer has recently revealed her struggle with alopecia in pregnancy. Megan Phillips from New Zealand, discovered she had the hair loss condition whilst she was pregnant and is now hoping to raise awareness and share how she managed to deal with the devastating news.

Alopecia in pregnancy – Megan’s story

It was around 30 weeks into her pregnancy that Megan noticed her hair was starting to become a lot thinner. Typically, during pregnancy the hair becomes much thicker and healthier looking due to increased estrogen levels. A couple of weeks later small bald patches started to appear.

At 37 weeks pregnant, Megan was finally diagnosed with alopecia. The news was devastating and she felt like she had lost a large part of her identity. Initially doctors were unsure whether the hair loss would be permanent, but dermatologists later confirmed it was.

She managed to overcome her struggle by embracing wigs. She’s also learnt to love herself in the here and now and never to take anything for granted. So, what causes alopecia in pregnancy?

How pregnancy affects the hair

It’s no secret that pregnancy does have certain effects on the hair. However, it does not cause alopecia. Instead, the hair becomes fuller, thicker and healthier as the estrogen levels halt the shedding phase.

After giving birth, the hair cycle begins to return to normal, resulting in postpartum hair loss. Hair thinning and small bald patches can occur two-five months after giving birth and it’s a temporary condition which naturally rectifies itself.

In Megan’s case it was probably just a coincidence that she was pregnant at the time of the onset of the hair loss. Alopecia areata typically causes the sufferer to lose all of their hair and it affects approximately 15 out of every 10,000 people in the UK. It is an autoimmune disease and the cause isn’t yet known.

There also isn’t currently a cure for alopecia areata, but there have been exciting developments made recently involving JAK Inhibitors. Overall, if you’re experiencing alopecia in pregnancy it isn’t normal and it’s important to visit your GP to determine the cause of the problem.