Friday, February 18, 2011

Telogen Effluvia

I managed to survive the dentist yesterday, but it's going to be the first of many trips and I'll need about six hundred dollars worth of repairs. See, that's what happens when you skip your cleanings and check-ups. Learn from my stupidity and go to the dentist twice a year. I had an embarrassing number of cavities and I'll live.

Turns out that cavities aren't my only problem. I'm currently suffering from a condition known as Telogen Effluvia. Sounds serious doesn't it? Well, it isn't. It's just annoying and it's nothing more than a fancy word for all your hair falling out after pregnancy. I knew it happened, but I had no idea it was this dramatic.

Coincidentally, I learned the name of the condition from watching the Today Show. They had a woman on a few weeks ago who was an expert on female hair loss and she was talking about pregnancy hormones and their effect on hair and she used the term.

My hair is falling out everywhere. When I was pregnant I grew a lion's mane of hair and it stopped falling out. I've always been an epic drain clogger, but it just stopped until about a month ago when all that hair that I had grown decided to shed. I feel like a tree in the fall all of a sudden. Actually, this is probably how my cat feels. She's always shedding. When I brush her, I get at least a kitten's worth of fur on the comb.

With all the hair I'm losing I should find a use for it. I could make all sorts of weaves and extensions out of it. Hell, I could stuff a mattress with it all. I should make Baby Lawns a little wig since she has no hair at all yet. Hey, there's an idea - baby wigs. I bet they'd be a hit on Toddlers and Tiaras just like those fake adult teeth they make those kids pop into their mouths.

I vacuum every day just to keep up with it all and it never ceases to amaze me just how much there is all over the floor by the next day. There are coils of it on my tiles, gobs of it in my tub. Strands and webs of my hair are laced through every room in my house and every thing I own.

Top Ten Places I Have Found My Hair

1. In a cake I made my grandmother.
2. In my cat's poop. How is my cat swallowing my hair?
3. Outside in my neighbor's bougainvillea vine.
4. In my dust bunnies under the bed.
5. Used as a bookmark in The New Yorker Scientology article.
6. Swinging from the ceiling fan.
7. In Baby Lawn's mouth (not amusing at all)
8. Being carried across the floor by a troop of ants. What were they going to do with it, I wonder?
9. Floating in a bottle of wine.
10. And worst of all - wrapped around the baby's finger in a nasty little tourniquet that was pretty hard to remove.

I've pretty much found my hair everywhere except on my head. When will it end? Is it going to go back to normal or will I have thin hair forever?

And you know what the worst part of it is? None of the grey hairs are falling out. Nope, those suckers are in there tight. You never lose the hair you want. Any man can tell you that. How many men have you seen who are bald on top but still have to wax their backs? I mean, I'd be fine if my leg hair decided to fall out. That would save me a lot of time in the shower. But no.

I guess I'm just going to have to keep brushing, washing every day and vacuuming for the time being. Don't worry. Since the hair wrapped itself around the baby's finger, I've developed a new OCD obsession and check her fingers and toes constantly to make sure it doesn't happen again.

The worst part of the falling hair so far happened at 3am the other night when I got up to nurse my non-sleeping child. In the dark I stepped on a knot of my own hair and in my tired haze I thought it was a giant, wooly spider. I nearly had a heart attack. I broke out into a cold sweat and had palpitations before I realized what it was.

By another coincidence I just read a fabulous piece of short non-fiction in this month's Brevity, which deals with fallen hair and all the things our bodies expel. I could relate. Maybe I'll make a hair patty and start wearing a big, Mennonite bun.


JoeinVegas said...

Sorry about the teeth - and the hair. Just keep brushing (both)

Anonymous said...

Oh, honey, that is just so common - after both my children were born, it was nuts w the hair thing. Total drain clog, I was shedding like a dog. Sweaters, coats were the worst. To say nothing of the shower drain and pillow. It stops after about 10 - 12 mos, no worries. Later, it seems rather hilarious.

catherine said...

It will grow back. I lost a crap load after my daughter was born, and I was having a panic attack thinking I was going to be like those women who are all bald on top like a man, and have to do massive combovers. After a few months, I noticed that it was coming in curly. When my hair was in a ponytail, all these hairs,(especially the white ones) were waving in the breeze saying hi! I had a perpetual bad hair day for about 6 months and then my hair was way thicker than it ever was, with the ability to twist into ringlets if i let it air dry. Sweet!

-P said...

Amalah, who has boys, cautions new moms with telogen effluvia about the hairs finding their ways into diapers, where they wrap around baby penises and cause a similar tourniquet effect to the one you mentioned. ICK.

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