Scottish mother remains with bald patches after losing 80% of her hair due to ‘Covid trauma’

A Scottish mother has told how she lost 80% of her hair after contracting Covid.

Martha Bradford tested positive for the virus in July and spent three days in the hospital after her symptoms worsened.

The 43-year-old started noticing large clumps of hair falling out in the shower – and a few weeks later she had lost 80% of her hair.

Martha’s condition is caused by telogen effluvium, an extreme body reaction that occurs under high levels of stress.

Martha told the Record: “I just noticed that there was more hair sticking out than usual in the shower. I’ve always had a lot of thick, curly hair and it came out a lot when I washed it, but it was different.

“There was so much more.”

The mother of four was sent to Crosshouse Hospital in July after starting to struggle with her breathing while battling Covid.

After three days she was sent home to Kilwinning, Ayrshire, but a few days later she began to notice huge tufts of hair falling out.

In August, Martha had large bald patches on her head and her scalp was tender and sore.

Her spiraling condition made her anxious and withdrawn as she chose to wear scarves and stopped going out to see friends.

Martha, a freelance worker, said her hair was once her pride and joy, but now goes to great lengths to hide it.

The mother of four became well enough to be sent home to Kilwinning, Ayrshire, but a few weeks later she began to notice huge tufts of hair falling out.

She said: “Losing my hair was heartbreaking. It undermined my confidence. My hair was my thing. That’s what made me confident, so losing it was a big thing for me.

“I’m on a lot of video calls for work and I would wear a scarf on those.

“If someone came to the door, I would wrap a towel around my head as if I had just washed it or would say I was undergoing conditioning treatment.

“Anything so that people can’t see my hair and how it all fell out.”

Martha, who has since been diagnosed with a long Covid after repeatedly suffering from lung infections, went to see specialists at Trichology Scotland in Glasgow.

The team used the technology to scan her scalp and test her hair follicles, revealing that she had lost 80% of her once thick, curly hair.

Trichologist Wil Fleeson told Martha that her temporary hair loss was due to telogen effluvium.

Martha said: “My GP first said it could be a side effect of Covid, then after various tests Will from Trichology Scotland confirmed it was telogen effluvium – a traumatic response to Covid.

“This is apparently quite common after childbirth or serious illness, but it seemed to me to be particularly serious.

Wil, who founded Trichology Scotland, says more and more clients are coming to his clinic with hair loss conditions after contracting Covid.

He said: “We have never seen so many people walk through doors with these trauma-triggered hair loss conditions as we have in the past 18 months.

“Sometimes hair loss doesn’t happen until two or three months after a patient has experienced a traumatic or stressful event.

Martha was then referred to Hair Solved in Glasgow who was able to style her hair using £ 1,700 mesh hair extensions.

“In Martha’s case, she suffered from acute telogen effluvium, which meant her hair began to fall out particularly quickly, which rarely happens, but the emotional impact can be devastating.”

Martha was referred to Hair Solved in Glasgow who was able to style her hair using £ 1,700 mesh hair extensions.

She said: “They were expensive, but the difference they made to how I feel is honestly priceless.”

Martha has been told that her hair should grow back between 12 and 18 months.

She added: “I know I am one of the lucky ones. A lot of people have lost their lives due to Covid, but I only lost my hair and I am grateful for that.

“I’m already seeing signs of my hair returning so it’s promising. I just hope that sharing my story will raise awareness and help anyone who might be going through this.”

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