Hair loss after meningitis: I am four months... - Meningitis Now

Meningitis Now
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Hair loss after meningitis


I am four months post bacterial meningitis and I am now finding that my hair is falling out at a rapid rate. Is this post illness stress or could it be the results of the high doses of medication I received or just one of those things. I am back at work but struggling with stress, exhaustion, memory loss and lack of concentration I feel that I am literally falling apart. Any suggestions would be very gratefully received.

14 Replies

I am so sorry that you are struggling. I too know that same feeling. Not sure what is causing your hair loss but suspect it is a combination of everything you are going through. Please try to slow down & take care of yourself. Talking to someone about your situation & feelings does help. I hope you have a support system, if not, please talk to your doctor. Life does improve so slow down, take care of yourself & be patient!

So sorry that you're having a tough time of it. Your hair falling out is a natural response to the massive shock your body went through with the Meningitis. While you were ill, your body prioritised where the blood and nutrients were to go, the Heart, Kidneys, Liver, Lungs etc. Now things are returning to normal (ish), the neglected parts are starting to recover. Your hair is falling out, thinning, as it was neglected. You'll find that your nails and skin aren't at their best either. This isn't going to last forever and you'll find your hair starts growing properly again soon. It took me about 9 months for things to start to get back on track, so don't worry, your hair will recover. Good luck with your ongoing recovery.

Hi yes I had the same problem with my hair but it has seemed to have slowed down now I am 7 months post punacoccal menegitas and I am struggle being back in work. I also struggle to drink any alcohol as it gives me a head ache. I just forcast on the positive side I am still here to enjoy my life and my grandchildren. So all I can say is take it easy and take one day at a time you will get better

Hope I can reassure you a bit re the hair loss. I was very ill with bacterial meningitis in February. I live on my own and was so lucky that a concerned neighbour (who hadn't seen me for two days and couldn't get any answer re phone/doorbell) called my son who came straightaway, called paramedics and I was taken to hospital (I don't remember much about it). I was in hospital for two weeks and, at one point, lost all of my hearing (terrifying!). Very fortunately some of it has returned. I had some hearing loss previously and I now struggle with it a bit more but have more powerful hearing aids and manage quite well. The hospital (including audiology services) was wonderful. Now, the hair loss bit! About four months later my hair started coming out in handfuls - clogging the shower drain. I kept telling myself that the important bit was that I was still here, had otherwise made a pretty good recovery etc etc. But it still felt awful. (I am 67 and my hair had previously been one of the few parts of me that had aged relatively well!) In total I would say I lost well over half my hair. Was told that probably due to shock of severe illness rather than directly linked to the meningitis itself and was assured it was likely to grow back but i wasn't completely convinced. However, it really, really has! It's just as thick as before, still not too grey (same as before). But it is now very curly rather than more or less straight, as before. It's also very shiny and healthy looking. My hairdresser says that some people pay money for curls and I got mine for nothing - well, sort of! Do hope you have similar luck with your own hair - with or without curls! Hope too that you continue to make a good recovery. It takes time and needs a bit of patience. A horrible illness (not that there are any good kinds) but we are lucky to be survivors and to hopefully be able to work our way to a full recovery. All best wishes for your future.

I felt with the exact same thing. I also had vision issues. Over half of my hair fell out. I'm 6 month into recovery and my hair is finally growing. My hair is still so thin, my vision has corrected and I am alive. So just be patient sweets it will get better. Any day past the hospital and infectious control appts is progress.

I am 3 months out from having Group B Spinal Meningitis and Sepsis. Spent a week on life support in a coma and 2 in the hospital, then another month at home with home health care and an IV. It is good to read this conversation about hair loss because mine is coming out in masses as well. I had very thick hair, thank goodness, and now I have about half of what I had before. If this keeps up at this pace I'll need to be getting a wig in a month. My doctor said the same thing that Liz-D said below. He said that anyone who survives what we have gone through had a hard blow to our organs and it is natural to lose hair because of that shock. He says it will come back as I get better and stronger. I sure hope that's the case. After a week on life support and 2 months with home health care and a pic line to deal with, I'm really grateful to be alive. So, I try to make jokes with the hair loss so that I'm not embarrassed about it because I really am very fortunate to be here today. I feel like I shouldn't complain about hair loss when God brought me through such a difficult time. Sometimes it's hard though. It's so good to hear from others who are dealing with the same thing.

Hi, unhappy seeing u in this condition however dont be in tension my wife was in same condition she had hair fall, but that was because of MRI with contrast therefore MRI leads to temporary hair fall and this illness also lead to heir fall in somewhat range, she is now good is taking medecine since last 5th months, she had very bad symptoms at all, keep taking pills you will be great again as you were before.

With respect

Hi, I’m so sorry about your hair loss.

I know it is frightening!

I am 8 months post VM and 3 weeks ago my hair started falling out.

It is very upsetting to me and scares me a lot.

I am so glad I read this post and see there are others who have gone through this.

I hope my hair starts growing again, I will need a wig if it keeps up at this pace.

When does the horror of this illness end?

Hugs to all of you. Xoxo


My tale is similar to that of Anne-P's. I was hospitalized June 2, 2019, and diagnosed with viral meningitis. During my hospital stay I had a high fever and developed sepsis, which resulted in kidney failure and liver failure. I was in ICU for 2 1/2 weeks, most of which I do not remember. After that I was released to go home. My husband did not feel I was well enough to go home and he refused to sign for my release, so I signed the form myself. I was in no condition to be asked to sign for my own release and I remember none of this. I did not improve at home and have little memory of it. My husband took me back to the hospital a few days later and I was readmitted for another week and a half. This time I was released to a medical care facility for rehab. I finally went back home on July 12 with home health care. My recovery was very long. I still had headaches, nausea and vomiting. I had no energy and had trouble balancing and walking. My vision was impaired. My short-term memory was affected and I had difficulty "thinking." Some memories have come back sporadically over time. Then at the end of August, just as I felt my strength was finally returning, I started losing my hair. By the end of October, 3/4 of my hair was gone. By January 2020 I felt confident my hair was regrowing. It took me a while to realize my once slightly wavy hair was coming in, in curly ringlets. I had worried about it coming in gray, but not this! I had it cut and styled in May and am still coming to terms with it. It looks like I have an "old lady perm" in front, but it is very short and layered in back like a pixie. I am conflicted as to whether I should grow it out or keep it very short. I guess I'll figure it out. But in spite of all I have been through, I am incredibly blessed to be alive and well today with just a slight lingering balance problem and a little blurred vision. Best wishes to all!

I am sorry you are going through this, I went through the same a few months ago after a bacterial meningitis in September. And yes, hair loss was one of the many things post meningitis, it is from the trauma in general. My neurologist told me is normal and not forever, but I had to do something to help, my hair is thin, long and curly and it started to create dreadlocks. Before turning into a rastafari I decided to find a natural remedy. I do a hair mask with coconut and castor oil, sometimes I add himalayan salt to add exfoliation. I massage my scalp with this mix and leave it overnight. I wash it in the morning and my curls are back to normal. Eventually the hair loss stopped completely, just the normal bit of hair we all lose per day. I hope it helps.

Hello. I had meningitis 18 months ago, then 8 months ago had CSF leak, so had to have VP brain shunt fitted, and repair operation. I'm recovering very well, but am noticing hair loss at front. Does anyone have tips as to what to use or do, to help this?

Hi, I had bacterial meningitis and sepsis around 4 years ago. I was in hospital for around 3 weeks.

It took me a while to get back to my new normal. Probably the first year was the hardest. I made sure I rested, had nutritious foods like fish (good for the brain) etc.

Hair loss was the first thing I noticed and still to this day I struggle with the skin on my scalp. My hair still falls out. My hair dresser recommended coconut oil and advocado mask. Apply and leave over night. Wash off the next morning. Try this Method once a week.

I’m currently using a scalp cream and once this has finished I will be trying the coconut and advocado method.

I will be interested to hear if anyone else has had similar issues with their scalp.

To those who have recently returned from hospital. Wishing you all the best with your recovery.

Yessss I started losing hair 3 months post bacterial meningitis. It us called telogen effluvium and you cant do anything to stop it. The follicles shut down to redirect healing to vital organs - the magic of yr body to save your life. When shedding cycle starts 3-4 months later then you start losing hair. It was very distressing for me but it stopped shedding after 4 months. I lost about half my hair. Its growing back now. Meningitis is a serious infection and my recovery has taken some time. Still have to take it easy and still get headaches but things are improving. Grateful to be alive.

Lots of rest. I know the frustration... the recovery is slow! I have mollarets meningitis and have had it five times- recovery took six months to a year to get back to feeling normal. Eat well, rest, sleep, hydrate. Let the frustration go... promise it will improve. Xxxx much love x

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