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hair loss after septic shock

I got sepsis, and then went into septic shock in April, and was in the ICU and almost died. Three months after that I've started to experience MAJOR hair loss. It started about 2 weeks ago, and I would say that I have already lost 40% of my hair. I'm terrified. Did this happen to anyone else? And if so, did you lose all your hair? When does the hair loss stop? How long did it take for it to grow back? The last couple of days my scalp feels itchy and I read somewhere that this can occur just before a major shedding!! I'm freaking out... a major shedding and I might have no hair left. Please help!

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I heard it explain in a few ways - each makes sense to me. Taking the sort of ‘put-down-an-elephant’ style of antibiotics necessary to overcome what we have suffered from may cause hair loss, others have stated that it is the body response to being in that much stress when critically ill - a sort of stress related alopecia. The other that I was told is that when we are that ill, the body decides which essential organs it is going to service. Hair & nails are not included. Nutrients stop & the hair follicle dies and is not renewed - hence it appears to fall out sometime after ICU. In fact it would have died anyway & under normal circumstances, would have been renewed. Now that you are up and running again, normal service will resume. Hair loss is normally TEMPORARY & COMMON amongst ICU patients. I lost a great deal but it is back to normal now.

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I lost a lot of hair too about 3 months after going into 2 Comas and having Sepsis, pneumonia, Mrsa and organ failure. At one point I was losing so much hair I honestly thought I’d lose it all, luckily it was only temporary. After a few weeks it stopped falling out and started growing back.

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I had sepsis in late November and had major hair loss in January plus my feet peeled and nails broke. Pleased to say it has all grown back and I didn't lose much more than half. I had a shorter version of my hair style and the regrowth acted like stilts so it looked thicker than it was! My hairdresser cut it so a bald spot was covered. It is nothing in the grand scheme of things...We are lucky to have survived at all let alone intact!! It is shocking as no one worns you I think. Good luck with it and your recovery. Eat well. I took zinc tablets. Health Span hair and nail treatment tablets. Not sure they worked but all back to normal now. xx

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Hi Sheila, I had Sepsis, I was in hospital for 3 months where everyone admired my long, thick blonde hair. The nurses even used to style & braid it for me to cheer me up. I was horrified after coming home that each day I began loosing handfuls of hair. Very quickly I’d lost 30-40% of my hair. I stopped putting it in a pony tail. My hairdresser advised minimal washing Id feel comfortable with & a silk pillow case. However I believe it was coming out regardless so ended up having it cut quite short & within a couple of months I had the ‘fuzz’ of new hair all over my head! Further surgery caused less significant loss but now nearly 2 years later it’s back to normal, albeit much darker than my previous natural colour & with many more grey hairs!

I’d also add despite fighting for my life and 17 operations losing my hair bizarrely was one of the things that hit me hardest, so I really appreciate how you are feeling & how frustrating it is xxx

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May I ask around what age you were when you lost hair from sepsis or other illness? Since I'm approaching 50, I feel a lot less optimistic about it growing back than if I was 30 years younger.

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I was 52, I am now 54 - full head of hair

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Hi Jennjoom my partner also had severe hair loss after being in i.c.u.Like yourself she was traumatised by this. However all her hair grew back healthier and thicker than before. It took a couple of month's.She is 65 so do not worry it will regrow. Good luck with your recovery x

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i'm 49 and it's growing back really thick and wavy. i hope it's not going to be so curly wurly but glad it's growing!

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I was 42, now 44

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I Had some hair loss after 32 days in ICU but you may notice deep ridges in the nails which is I was told similar to hair so it can happen but I have got some of it back but I am at the age (63 male) I would expect some now anyway?

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I had the same with my hair it was very distressing at the time, however, the hair grew back at first very wavy but soon grew back to it's original thickness. So don't worry.

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I was in an induced coma for twelve days, waking up Dec 3. In Feb I went to a hairdresser I hadn’t seen in a few years and she told me my hair was thinning and I seemed to have a bald spot, but I didn’t see it and thought it was something that had happened gradually over the many years since I saw her. In March I started noticing my hair thinning myself, but it was odd because I wasn’t seeing extra hair on pillows or in the shower. By May I couldn’t take it any more, because not only did I see a lot of scalp but when I looked in the mirror I could see through the hair that was in back of my neck. And I had gone from using a four or five 8nch long Barrette to hold my hair to a baby barrette, which it escaped from.

At that point I was pretty hysterical about my hair ( despite not normally being terribly vain), so I bought a “topper”. It felt so good to just feel hair on my neck again. Fortunately, very soon after I got the topper the hair started coming in again. There is only a small amount of hair visible, and I am sure that I see it much more than anyone else. Today 8 was ou5 all day with my natural hair in a barrette, and although it was a baby barrette it was still an improvement, because

It was full enough that I didn’t need to adjust it at all.

So within less than five months, not only did the hair loss stop, but it started filling back in.

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I have a short bob so my hair has taken about 4 months to regrow. I do think we should be warned about the possibility as it is a bit if a shock when it happens. You hair will recover. Be patient. xx

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i feel that they should tell people that have been septic, it was something i wasn't prepared for. my hair is in a short bob now :)

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I was in a coma last fall and had sepsis with multi organ failure. When I came home about a month later I noticed my hair falling out. I then realized about a week later I had three major areas where I had no hair on my head. Basically three bald spots. It took a couple months for my hair to start to grow in and when it did it was really fine. It grew in very slowly. Now, almost a year later it is thick and back to normal. I had freaked out too but on the inside. I was just really glad I was alive. I had even asked a couple DRs what caused it and I swear yet again no one was listening to me. They actually asked if I was the one pulling my own hair out! I had just said this had never happened to me before and all of a sudden realized my hair was gone when running my fingers through my hair. When your body recovers from this awful shock then you will have your hair grow back. My skin had also really suffered. Just give it time. I think it was from being so sick and laying in one position for weeks that caused inflammation in my scalp thus causing my hair to fall out. I remember when I woke up from my coma that I had the worst headache. Idk if it was like that for you but looking back on things it makes sense now. Use good quality shampoos and conditioners. Wash your hair every day to stimulate your follicles. Eat well, get lots of water and take a multi vitamin if you are allowed. Good luck!

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I had Sepsis from both pneumonia and strep throat when I was 26 in 2009, I am now 36. I was in an induced coma for the majority of my hospitalization, I was there for over a month. I had renal/kidney failure and every other possible complication. I was gravely ill and my family was advised at one point to come say goodbye as the doctors did not think I would make it past 24hrs. I was on life support and the machines were breathing for me. I too feel as though they should have prepared me for the loss of hair I experienced as I was shocked and worried as my hair was everywhere all over the place falling out and shedding. I lost 60% of my hair, it did however grow back even thicker and more beautiful than ever. It’s still absolutely amazing to this day. I believe I was told the same as a previous commenter that the body stops supplying everything but major organs when it goes into a state of acute failure. Our bodies have gone through severe shock and near death maybe even clinical death at which the hair does die, we are certainly lucky to be alive. Your hair should have grown back by now I just thought I would share my experience for future reference. Thankful we are all still here to tell about it.

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I had a ruptured appendix and developed sepsis last year march 2018 and was in an induced coma / hospital for two months. a month after i got home my hair started falling out all over the place at first some then tons of bald spots all over and in back especially - it's grown back now and it's really thick and wavy, don't worry it will grow back. i had really long thick hair i was traumatized. my scalp wouldn't lather up with shampoo at first it was like this wax all over my scalp feeling. and every single hair on my head hurt. don't worry it will grow! :)

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reading all these posts really has made me feel like i am not alone. all the same experiences, thanks to everyone for sharing :)

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It will get better soon ☺️

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