Hair loss, etc. and the stress of GBS

July 1, 2009 at 11:52 am

When I got these GBS symptoms in November 2007 following my flu shot, I noticed that as the months wore on, my fingernails showed deep dents in them (which I’d never seen before this), and the ridges were more obvious than ever before. When washing my hair, the tub would have lots of hair in it, the hairbrush would have lots of hair in it, much more than ever before, except for that one time years ago when I got a bad perm and some of my hair was falling out.

Yes, I do think this GBS causes hair loss and the dents and ridges on the fingernails. I have been diagnosed with low thyroid problems for 35 years, and have always been on thyroid medication for it. I have been on no medication for the GBS symptoms except for lots of Acetamenophen for the pain and headaches. So the hair loss & dents and ridges in my fingernails can’t be blamed on new medications in my case.

This terrible illness is very stressful to the mind and body. The muscles of the body are severely impacted and weakened. Naturally, the body’s first line of defense is to try to strengthen itself, particularly at the spine which is the most important support system of the body. Here’s my theory: I believe the body redirects proteins away from the hair and fingernails, (teeth and skin too), and sends them to the spine to try to repair itself, (much like a pregnant woman’s system will send the necessary nourishment to nourish the baby, even at its own cost–weakened teeth, bones and hair). This pre-programmed line of action & defense leaves the hair and fingernails, (etc.) more vulnerable and depleted, resulting in deformities in the nails (ridges and dents), and weakness in the hair follicles and hair-shaft (breakage and/or hair-loss).

All you have to do is pull out one of your hairs and take a look at it under a little magnifying glass.
You’ll see the strong areas and the weak areas, and even some spots that look irregular or deformed. The hair and nails tell what’s been happening to the body; it is just like a daily log.

Now to strengthen the hair, I have found that my GBS symptoms lessen when I have been eating ground beef, eggs, and whole grain cereals (which are all high in protein). The new growth in my nails shows smoother and stronger at those times. So obviously, diet is very important. Stress is also another factor which should be controlled as much as possible. Struggling to control your muscles and make them work again is certainly very stressful; my face is covered in sweat and I’m gasping for breath after any exertion. Mental stress is harder to control, but if possible, try breathing exercises, mental coping strategies and good common sense in your daily living habits. Most importantly, I find that it helps me to rest often, rather that pushing myself beyond my limits. Then the body will not be put through more stress than it can handle, and its negative reactions to too much stress will be minimized.