Hair Loss from Meningitis

My sister has been post-meningitis for 4 months now. She's improved so much over the last few months (with the STM loss and fatigue), but we've discovered another alarming potential after effect.

Is it possible to lose your hair after having the infection? If so, will it grow back the way it was before?

Her hair was beautiful and thick, but now it seems the amount of hair has reduced by half over the last two weeks.

We're going to the doctors to see if there's an underlying problem, but as you can imagine she's very upset, and I'm upset for her!

5 Replies

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  • I don't think it is a direct symptom or after effect of meningitis but when she has been through would have been highly stressful for her. Hair loss can be caused by stress.

  • Hi, can I ask, what form of meningitis did your sister have? I've recently experienced something similar although not as badly as your sisters experience.

    Allison x

  • She had bacterial meningitis. We don't know the name of the strain, but the doctor said she caught one of the rarer ones.

  • I too started losing my hair around about a month in to recovery, I put this down to the stress on my body and some operations. I was very concerned at the time as it thinned down quite considerably. However probably a month later it grew back thicker and wavier than it was before. Even my hairdresser noticed how thick it had become.

    Hope this puts you and your sister more at ease.

  • Yes -- agree with all the others. I'd say, please don't panic (like I did) it is a short term post trauma side effect. No dr's told me about this in advance, but about 2 months post the illness, I more and more hair coming out as I washed it each day in the shower.

    My friend is a hairdresser and said this is common with people who have suffered a major illness. Instead of your body diverting energy to produce hair (and healthy nails -- mine became super weak), it diverts that energy it would channel to these 'non-essentials' to healing your body. So -- while upsetting, it's really your body trying to look after itself.

    She recommended 'nioxin' shampoo / conditioners -- which I buy over Amazon. These were formulated specially for people with all sorts of hair thinning challenges and I really noticed it helping.

    Please be reassured from everyone's responses, this phase will pass and only lasts a few months max. Good luck with the recovery xx

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