Living with alopecia: Support for KC women suffering from sudden hair loss

OVERLAND PARK, Kan. – In a life full of curve balls, going bald is a top fear among men. But, the stigma for bald women is even worse.

It’s a reality for about 6.6 million Americans living with a disorder called alopecia.

If you don’t know what alopecia is, you’re not alone. Alopecia is an autoimmune disorder where the body attacks its hair follicles, causing hair to fall out, sometimes in round circular patches.

Three types of alopecia:

  • Alopecia areata: Sudden hair loss that starts with one or more circular bald patches that may overlap.
  • Alopecia totalis: A more advanced form of alopecia areata which results in total loss of all hair on the scalp.
  • Alopecia Universalis: Alopecia universalis is the most advanced form of alopecia areata which results in total loss of all hair on the body, including eyelashes and eyebrows.There are more types of alopecia that can be seen here.Lisa Torrey first started to lose her hair when she was 18. Back then, she tried to hide it from those closest to her.

    “Mostly socially I guess. Just trying to hide at home,” explained Torrey.

    Torrey’s condition progressed from alopecia areata to totalis. Eventually all the hair on her head, face and body fell out.

    “I have no eyebrows or eyelashes. No hair at all,” said Torrey.

    Torrey said when she was a teenager the “unknowns” made it a very scary situation.

    “You almost feel like you’re going to die because you don’t know. It just gets worse and worse every day,” said Torrey. “Our hair is tied to our identity so closely and when we lose our hair as women we feel ashamed.”

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