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Journal of Advanced Medical Research

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Reader Comments

Mum-of-three opens up about losing all her hair in a matter of weeks

by Niamh Reinoso (2020-02-27)


A mother-of-three has revealed how she went bald in a matter of weeks. 

Jo Tucker, 39, of Bath, Somerset, first noticed a bit of hair loss on the side of her head in December 2017 but thought little of it, assuming she was simply run down following the birth of her youngest daughter. 

Within weeks, though, it had got so bad that entire clumps of hair were coming away when she brushed or washed it, leading to a diagnosis of alopecia universalis - an autoimmune condition which sees the body mistakenly attacking hair follicles, making them fall out.

Now, a year on, Jo, a buyer for a retail company, has overcome her feelings of shame and devastation, and embraces her hairlessness, but says she still has to try hard to keep how distressing the journey has been from her children.

Mother of three Jo, with daughter Ivy, had blonde wavy hair before she lost it in a matter of weeks

While she wears a wig out in public, Jo tries to 'get it out there' at home, so that there 'isn't an elephant in the room' 

She revealed:'I have tried hard not to let my children see me distraught over this. I want to teach them that they are strong regardless of physical appearance.'  

The mother of three also told how she wears wigs when she leaves the house to avoid being 'stared at'.  

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Share She said: 'I try to just get it out there from the first instance, so it isn't an elephant in the room, but I do still wear wigs when I leave the house. My girls are very used to seeing me bald, but when I'm in public, I just don't want to be stared at.

'People often assume my hair loss is because I'm sick, or having chemotherapy treatment, so I don't want to have to deal with my girls overhearing something worrying that isn't true.'

Jo's hair fell out in large clumps, of 'furballs' and she was diagnosed with alopecia universalis. At first, she tried to avoid brushing, styling or washing her hair so as to preserve it. 

She is also doing her best to help fellow sufferers, saying: 'In those awful early days, the last thing you want to hear is somebody telling you it'll all be okay.

'You almost have to go through a mourning process for your hair first.

'But really trying to see the positives does help. Alopecia hasn't stopped me from doing anything. In fact, it's probably given me even more opportunities.

'Hair loss is a taboo, especially for women. Once, I felt ashamed, but now I know hair isn't everything, I embrace what stimulate hair growth's happened to me.'

Jo has three daughters, Matilda, 10, Elsie, six, and Ivy, two, with her businessman husband Joe, also 39

She revealed that she had had some bald patches after having her second daughter, but it grew back (pictured here with husband Joe) 

Jo, who has three daughters, Matilda, 10, Elsie, six, and Ivy, two, with her businessman husband Joe, also 39, told how she first noticed she was shedding more hair than usual in around December 2017.

It coincided with her recent return to work after having Ivy, so she assumed it was just her body reacting to being run down - but soon she noticed an actual bald patch.

'I'd had some bald patches once before, after having Elsie. I had tests to show I was low on iron, and was given tablets, but it all grew back fine, so I figured the same thing would happen again,' she said.

'But this time was different. My hair loss soon escalated to the point where entire clumps were coming away with ease, like fur balls. It wouldn't even hurt, which was all the more scary.

Jo, pictured on her wedding day before her hair loss with husband Joe, who has been 'very supportive' over her alopecia 

The bald patch appeared, and continued to grow for two weeks, until all of Jo's hair had completely fallen out and she was left bald 

'I'd dread washing and styling my hair as that would make it fall out more.'

As more and more of her hair fell out, Jo initially tried to disguise what was happening with hats and hair wraps.

With Christmas 2017 fast approaching, keen to get some answers before her doctors' surgery closed for the festivities, she saw her GP who said she probably had alopecia, and gave her a blood test.

'I had heard of alopecia before, but back then, was naive to the unpredictable nature of it. I thought it'd be as simple as my hair falling out, then growing back,' she said.

'When the doctor mentioned it, I just kept thinking, 'I can't be bald. That kind of thing just doesn't happen.'