Hair thinning/loss and bad condition fingernails after GBS?

    • Anonymous
      May 23, 2009 at 5:10 am

      I came down with what they are sure is an Acute version of GBS in November 2007

      whole story here: [url][/url]

      I have noticed since January this year (1 year into recovery in Jan, 15 months in now) that there was hair on my pillow when I wake up in the morning, about 20 or so, and it is coming out more easy when I wash/brush it etc.

      I looked things up on the internet about hair loss/thinning and one thing that causes it is the ‘auto immune system’, which attacks the hair follicles. This shocked me as I thought I could have the Chronic version of GBS and I’m still being attacked by my own immune system?

      Also, my fingernails are still in not so good condition, they are a tad thinner than usual with some wrinkle lines in them; is this to do with GBS and will they go back to normal as I make more recovery?

      Could this be the case?

    • Anonymous
      May 23, 2009 at 7:04 pm

      You didn’t mention if you were taking any meds. I had TROUBLE with Azathioprine (Brand name Imuran). I lost a ton of hair. When I switched to Cellcept, it stopped.

      Look up any other meds you may be taking. Lord knows, they all have side effects.


    • Anonymous
      May 23, 2009 at 10:59 pm

      Hi, Beethoven. Probably the most common cause of hair loss and nail changes is stress. Typically the hair is lost more about 2-3 months after an illness or significant stress in ones life. I have heard that ridges from the bottom of the nail to the top of the nail are related to illness or a diet that has not been adequate. Interestingly, people get ridges across the nails because of severe stress or illness. A lot of the kids with cancer that I take care of have light colored lines that run across their nails at the time of diagnosis and the start of chemotherapy. These lines slowly grow out. I tell them that they are like the stress lines from winter in trees.

      Autoimmune attack of hair is most frequently in patches not all over. A person can have autoimmune attack on the thyroid gland and this can cause diffuse hair loss–all over the head– and the hair will be coarser. Often people also have dry skin, weight gain, fatigue, a swollen neck at the thyroid, etc if there is a deficiency in thyroid hormone because of autoimmune attack.

      WithHope for a cure of these diseases.

    • Anonymous
      May 24, 2009 at 3:08 pm

      I’m not on any medication.

      Stress makes sense. My ex girlfriend made my life a living hell and she gave me a ton of stress. She left in December 5 months ago. I was with her from about a month before I got ill. Although she left me 5 months ago, it has only been the last 2 months that I’ve felt normal again and am over her and all the mental torture and stress she put me though. She did not help in my recovery, she positively hindered it.

      Now that I’m over her and moving on, will my hair continue to thin/fall out like it is, or will it stabilize and start to thicken/grow back.

      Thanks for your kind and ‘straight’ advice.

      Things like this do worry me and I get very upset and depressed over it; the whole GBS thing that is.

    • Anonymous
      May 24, 2009 at 9:17 pm

      I think to be on the safe side that you get your thyroid checked out just to make sure GBS didn’t cause a problem there. Which is quite possible. But stress can cause problems too. The nail thinning is what has me reason to believe the thyroid might be acting up. It would pay to be safe than sorry by getting that checked out.
      Sorry to hear about your girlfriend and the problems you had. That can trigger problems with your health too. But there will be other women in your life and the right one will come along and be much better!
      I think one of the hardest things to do in life is trying to find our soul mate! Gosh is that a job! Not to mention the times you think you found them to end up getting heart broken which I have seen a few times in life! My husband and I will be going on 20 years soon. And we seem to be doing well together! If I were to lose him I would not want to start over again with the dating scene! For I don’t think I will find another one like him! Hugs
      Linda H

    • Anonymous
      May 25, 2009 at 6:38 am

      Thank you Linda for your support and words of encouragement.

      What is the thyroid exactly and what does it affect?

    • Anonymous
      May 25, 2009 at 7:27 am

      The thyroid gland is a gland in the lower part of your neck. A person can’t live without a thyroid because it carries certain hormones in the body that are very vital. But it can be surgically removed and meds are then given to replace that missing hormone. Alot of things can happen to a thyroid. The thyroid can become overactive or underactive and then some people can get thyroid cancer. Depending on what the thyroid is doing meaning hyper or hypo. A Hyperactive thyroid can cause weight loss, hair thinning, brittle nails, nervousness, lack of sleep. It can make your body feel like its going haywire. Hypo you can gain weight and have simular symptoms. Some people can get thyroiditis. Inflammation of the gland. And that can cause problems. It can cause depression, anxiety attacks. All kinds of things. If the levels get too low in hormone a person can go into a thyroid storm and that can cause death if not treated in time. Just like a seroius diabetic! If they don’t get the proper insulin they can go into a coma because they can’t produce insulin they have to watch their sugar levels several times a day. The thyroid almost works in the same way. Sometimes trauma to the body can cause a thyroid gland to stop functioning properly. The longer it goes untreated the more damage it can do! Trust me! It stinks! LOL!I landed myself a thyroid problem last year right after I had surgery on my spine and that sucker was giving me a fit! I thought I was going to climb the walls going insane. It was the strangest feelling andI thought I was going to die! They found a multi nodular thyroid goider and one of them was hot! Meaning it was cancer. My thyroid got removed and I now take Synthroid and am doing much better. My nails are back to normal, my hair has thickened back and I feel alot better. I see an Endrocrinologist ever 3 months for it now to get the levels checked with the Synthroid. Making sure the hormone stays in the normal limits.
      But you do have two symptoms here! I noticed hair thinning and brittle nails though before my surgery but thought it was Lupus causing it. A simple lab test will show if the thyroid is acting up. But it would pay to get this checked out. Good luck!
      Linda H

    • Anonymous
      May 25, 2009 at 8:50 am

      Hi Linda

      I’ve since looked up Thyroid and read about it. I don’t think this is me. When I went to see my Neurologist the other week, he had a bunch of blood-tests done to check out my health on the whole to check generally; I suspect Thyroid might be on that list. I’ll get those blood tests back within the week so hopefully I’ll know more then.

      If Thyroid was not on Doctors list; I’ll get it checked.

      Thank you kindly Linda.

      I take great inspiration from your positive energies and attitude.


    • Anonymous
      June 3, 2009 at 10:33 pm


      I suffered a fairly serious case of GBS in Sep ’07. A few months after leaving the hospital in Jan ’08 I experienced a period of hair loss like you describe. However, I question that it was the GBS that caused it–more likely something associated with other changes brought about by the illness such as medication, diet, inactivity, or such. It did clear up after a few months but now my hair seems somewhat thinner. This could also be that I am older.

      I made the unfortunate mistake of complaining to two doctors about the hair loss only to have it dawn on me that both were bald. I knew I was not going to get any sympathy there.

    • Anonymous
      June 4, 2009 at 1:42 pm

      Hi Beethoven,

      I had GBS many years ago and I too lost hair. It continues to come out quite a bit about once a year, but it does grow back! I get these little tufts on the top of my head where you can see it regrowing! As to the nails, I too have thin nails and they have the lines/ridging. It didn’t go away for me. I have regular checkups and blood work and there are no issues with my thyroid.

      I do think WithHope is really onto the culprit. STRESS!!! For a long time, I lived with the constant worry of GBS coming back and I still worry about it. When the residuals are raging their ugly head, I stress and worry. Add in that life throws us many challenges as a whole anyway, lots can happen.

      I am sorry that you have to go through the loss of a relationship. In some ways, it sounds as if it was not a healthy relationship anyway, so I hope you are able to find that special someone who will appreciate you for the guy you are! 🙂 Regardless, there is an element of grief you go through as you mourn the death of the relationship. Hang in there!

      Best always….

    • Anonymous
      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.

    • Anonymous
      July 4, 2009 at 4:48 pm

      Within the first 6 months after I got home, I started to panic when my hair started falling out by the handfuls. (I was already upset that I had to get it cut in the hospital). My family tried to shame me for being upset over something so trivial but it really bothered me. i even asked my neurologist at the next appt. He said it was just the stress on my body… I thought it was ironic when he said my body had more to worry about the last few months than my hair and nails. But he was right, my hair come back thicker and my nails stronger than ever….

    • Anonymous
      August 4, 2009 at 6:54 am

      Interesting thread! For the first year after GBS, my hair and fingernails were in TERRIBLE shape. My hair and nails were brittle and breaking, and my hair was falling out like you described as well. Eventually the whole thing stabilized and got mostly back to normal, though my nails do still break a lot easier than they ever did before GBS. I just think that GBS screws up so much in your body that this is just one of the potential wacky side effects. I have no idea what was responsible for it, but I will say that I felt like all of my organ systems were just… OFF for quite some time. Like nothing was working quite right. This was just another part of it.

    • Anonymous
      August 10, 2009 at 4:00 pm

      Hi, Nigel,
      Our body gives us many signals and we do not pay attention. You didn’t say if the ridges on your nails were vertical or horizontal. Vertical ones appear when one is in poor health,poor nutrient absorption, and/or iron deficiency, or kidney disease. Horizontal lines occur as a result of severe stress – could be from an infection or psychological stress. If you have white spots – like clouds, that is a zinc deficiency. There are around thirtysome things to look for on the nails.
      I do reflexology on the hands and feet. When I had GBS, the pads of my hands below the thumbs were aching. That showed inflammation. I let my body tell me what is lacking and then supplement it. And you can also use it to massage and get rid of sore throats and headaches. I do not take any pain medication. I prefer to find the problem and fix it without pharmaceuticals.
      As for the hair thinning, I’ll bet it was the stress. But B vitamins would help get it back – especially biotin and a complex. And you might not be absorbing your protein.
      I sent you a private message ..if you look at the top right corner on your screen. I do not like to take up too much space here.
      A Mozart afficianado….

    • Anonymous
      August 17, 2009 at 3:07 pm

      Ridges in nails can be due to a vitamin deficiency. Have you had a physical lately or brought this up with your neurologist?

      Also, I wouldn’t assume your neurologist is checking your thyroid. Mine doesn’t.

    • Anonymous
      March 1, 2010 at 10:07 pm

      I also had thinning of the hair and hair loss my hair did stop growing. My nails are very thin and weak. My nails break off in chunks. I have had my thyroid checked and have problems with my thyroid. It is checked a few times a year. I do believe some of the problems with my nails is do to medication. As it stands, I cannot grow my nails. they are very thin , weak and always very short. My hair has begun to thicken and grow once again.

    • Anonymous
      April 14, 2010 at 5:59 am

      Thanks you everyone for your replays. This is a terrible illness and my thoughts and love go out to all of you.

      I got GBS acute ‘one off’ form in late November 2007. I recovered quite fast; 4 months later I was playing squash and badminton and going to the gym again.

      However, a year later, this is when my hear started falling out and my fingernails got thin with dents and ridges.

      Where would this suddenly happen a year after the event?

      Also, a year later my bowels movement started to go funny; kind of diarrhoea -like, but this only continued for about 2 months and it was just after my ex girlfriend left so I was a bit heartbroken at the time.

    • Anonymous
      April 15, 2010 at 5:20 pm

      had hair loss with hair on pillow, all over everything and in brush, etc. family thought i was nuts and said it wasnt my worst problem. no, it wasnt my worst problem, but it was terrible to me. body assaulted with horrifc case of gbs PLUS hair loss??give me a break. dr said it wasnt a big deal and bald is beautiful. i couldnt wait to get away from this genius so went to dermatologist. she tested thyroid to make sure it was ok. she said that the auto immune disease will cause the hair loss as well as problems with nails, which she showed me but i wasnt aware of at the time. says hair will come back but will take about a year. i feel a little relieved that at least the hair will be ok even though i still am dragging a dead leg arouund for the meantime. not to mention the half the time not working hand. but someone should tell us this stuff. it would be nice if we had some sense of what is happening to us after surviving a nice bout of a paralytic disease.

    • Anonymous
      April 17, 2010 at 10:44 am

      This is true Sadie. I suspect hair won’t start thickening up and nails becoming stronger until our bodies have ‘fully’ repaired. My left hand is still only 65% recovered and looks bonier than ever. I’m expecting mine to take another year. I’m two years into recovery right now.

      Just over the past few days I’ve noticed my thumbs aching like hell, right where they meet the hand. That padded fleshy bit just aches for some reason.

    • Anonymous
      April 17, 2010 at 2:20 pm

      That fleshy area on your palm is where your THYROID GLAND pressure point is located. It also is the area where inflammation shows up. Our bodies show us what is wrong, but we do not listen. I strongly suggest that you do your basal temperature in the morning. I got my thyroid temp up the last few days which means my thyroid is finally working the way it should and my hair loss stopped. Plus, the area that you described also used to ache. Now it is gone. You should rub this area for 20 minutes at a time. This will stimulate your thyroid. At the peak of my GBS this area was hurting like crazy. I did a lot of reflexology then and I think if slowed down the progression of the GBS. It’s kinda like a do-it-yourself acupuncture..they call it acupressure. When I work with friends over the phone, I ask them to tell me which parts on their feet and hands hurt….many times this tells me what organ is not working in their body. I also ask them which foods they Crave.

      I think we can speed up our recovery….not wait for it to happen….kind of like a sick plant, plant food helps! So with our body…give it what it needs and let it do the recovery.

    • Anonymous
      April 17, 2010 at 3:14 pm

      Carolyn. Can you explain (in layman’s terms) exactly how I tame my basal temp in the morning? Don’t know what ‘basal’ is?

      Thanks kindly.

    • Anonymous
      April 17, 2010 at 3:17 pm

      Hair loss is something that is a BIG DEAL in our society. Otherwise Hair Club for Men and other organizations like it wouldn’t exist – nor would Rogaine keep flying off the shelf. Fingernails are a multi-million dollar industry, too. We have nail salons on every corner, and even little girls get their nails “done” for special events. Some of you might have read my “Prom Night” post. As I got ready for Prom I realized my fingernails looked awful. Well, I already knew that because I spend every day with a nail trimmer, cutting off torn nails and torn cuticles. I pulled out my box of nail stuff, and evaluated the press and stick nails I had in there. My hands don’t work well enough yet to make the fake nails work, and although hubby is a saint I just couldn’t ask him to glue on fingernails. So, I forgot the fingernails and decided to keep my hands in my lap. I did get my thinning hair to look fuller with a LOT of hairspray. I was a little worried about the curling iron – didn’t want to burn off what is left. But it was okay. People said I looked beautiful. So, I guess the bottom line is this – society does have ways to cope and sort of hide these awful side effects – and maybe during special moments we should treat ourselves to extra pampering. We’ve been through a lot and deserve it. Temporary though it may be I believe we need to do those special things for ourselves – and the rest of the time wear really cute sun hats, or ball caps. The neuros may be right that this is only a “vainity” issue, but it is real and we should recognize it. So, remember, this too should pass and until then – fake it! 🙂

    • Anonymous
      April 17, 2010 at 9:46 pm

      Dr. Broda Barnes came up with this method of taking the basal temperature -it’s the temperature of your body when you first wake up. Have a thermometer next to your bed and shake the thermometer down to 95 degrees. Reach over and put it under your arm pit. Then rest wih your eyes closed for the next 10-15 minutes. Do this for a few days to make sure you have the correct temperature. Once you get the hang of it, you can probably cut down the amount of time you wait. I used a digital thermometer and checked with the old-fashioned kind to make sure they were the same…then I switched to a digital thermometer for about 6 minutes. If your temperature is below 97.8 your thyroid is underactive. A friend had a temp of 94.6….and hair loss. She has brought up her temp to 96.6 and less hair is falling out. Today I just reached 98.2 so I know my thyroid is working. You can determine how poorly your thyroid is working by how low your temperature is.

      If it turns out that it is not your thyroid, then my guess would be that you are not absorbing your protein. I would suggest that when you eat protein, you do not have a sugar or starch at the same meal – no potatoes, bread, rice, pasta, dessert….they stop the stomach acids from breaking down the protein. Also, do not drink liquids at the meal you eat a protein…it dilutes your stomach acids. So if you eat protein, it won’t get digested or absorbed.

      Getting healthy can be easy…but it took me close to 40 years of studying hundreds of books to find out all of this. Wish doctors would have the same passion for health that I do. A former student is in constant pain, lost her job and not one of her doctors asked her what she is eating! She is overloading on huge amounts of sugar…But they are putting her on major meds that are making her sicker….and telling her to get used to it.

    • Anonymous
      May 1, 2010 at 6:06 am

      My thyroid gland is fine, Doctors did this test thoroughly with all FREE’s also.
      I’ve also since been tested for every blood’s going as well as other nerve disorders etc. I have been given a clean bill of health after they checked for everything.

      So, am I right to assume that I’m still recovering from acute GBS? I’m 2 years 4 months into recovery, surely I should be there by now? But the fact that my nails are bad and my hair is still falling out would suggest I’m still recovering.

      Sympathy to you all and loads of love,


    • Anonymous
      May 1, 2010 at 7:44 pm

      Since your thyroid is working, perhaps you are not getting/absorbing enough protein. Hair and nails are dependent on protein/amno acids. I do not think that waiting for the GBS recovery will fix it. You need to give your body what it needs to make hair and nails. Suppose you had a favorite plant that you forgot about for 6 months….you would make sure it had the right water, light, and plant food. You wouldn’t let it get better on its own. That would take forever. As I said in the last email, if it is not your thyroid, it is your lack of protein…or eating it incorrectly. If you decide to take this course of action, send me an email listing what you eat at each meal. PErhaps it might be something simple that you could tweak….Your body went through trauma, it will heal faster if you become proactive. A B-complex is good for hair, nails, and nerves!!