News & Events Stories Tanya tells us about her experience with alopecia My alopecia journey started very suddenly in November 2019. I will never forget the day I felt a patch at the back of my scalp whilst I was at work, and the panic and worry that followed. I went home that night and washed my hair to find it coming out in handfuls, I didn’t know what was happening to me. The more I washed it, the more it was falling out and there was nothing I could do to make it stop. It was such a confusing and stressful time for me as I’ve always had thick, long and healthy hair, so why was this happening? My small patch grew quickly, and another appeared, I was losing all the back of my hair. It took a long time for the doctors to confirm why I was experiencing hair loss, so I started to research online and discovered I could have alopecia. I went to a private dermatologist who confirmed Alopecia Areata but they told me not to worry as it may come back on its own. Every time I washed my hair it was stressful and emotional; my once thick hair was now very thin and I could see my scalp through it. I couldn’t even recognize myself in the mirror anymore and covered up by wearing hats daily. Eventually, I got an appointment on the NHS and they confirmed that my alopecia had taken an 'Ophiasis' pattern. The doctor then told me this was a tricky pattern of alopecia to treat. I was not a candidate for steroid injections but she gave me oral steroids to try instead and told me not to hold much hope for it growing back and to start looking into wigs. She also suggested I look online for support groups, and that’s when I found Alopecia UK. I joined their Facebook group and read through everyone’s stories which helped me understand the condition much more. It also helped to talk to people who were going through a similar journey. I decided not to give up hope and started to change my lifestyle around. I decided to start on the AIP diet, took supplements and tried to reduce any stress in my life. I was incredibly lucky to have a sympathetic hairdresser who worked with me to help me cover my bald patches with new hair styles, however, eventually I couldn’t hide it anymore, so I shaved my head, and that’s when I felt I had taken control. Four months after my diagnosis I started to see regrowth. It’s continued to grow but it’s not as thick as it used to be. I count every day with my hair as a blessing now as I know my alopecia can get aggressive again and I could lose it all over again. I tried to change my mind set and tried to think of the positives alopecia has brought for me. I’ve made some good supportive friends via Alopecia UK, which I would never have met if I didn’t have alopecia. I also realised even if I didn’t have any hair, it doesn’t change the person I am. I live a much healthier lifestyle now in the hope that it helps control my alopecia.