MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Post COVID-19, people have been experiencing long-term effects – one of those being hair loss.
Mindi Birkenholz experienced a terrible case of COVID, quarantined for months after returning from a cruise.
READ MORE: South Florida family knows firsthand effects of nationwide baby formula shortage
She says she was pulling out chunks of her hair in her hands, unaware if it would ever come back.
“I didn’t care, I’d go through anything that would bring back my hair,” said Birkenholz.
A traumatic COVID experience turned worse for Birkenholz. The moment she thought she was on the brink of recovery she realized she was losing her hair.
“I was very weak, very tired, and I continued to rest for another month and in those two months my hair was coming out in clumps,” said Birkenholz.
Dr. Aron Nusbaum is a dermatologist at the Miami Hair Institute.
“The hair shedding that you would see after a COVID infection would be the same type of hair loss that you would see after any type of severe illness, emotional stress, hormonal imbalances, post-partum, due to certain medications, or a vitamin and mineral deficiency,” said Dr. Nusbaum. “So COVID related hair loss is simply another form of what we call T.E.”
Birkenholz was losing clumps of hair in the shower.
“Before, maybe a few hairs would come out or it wouldn’t even be noticeable. It would go down the drain this was literally sitting there on the bottom of my shower,” said Birkenholz.
Her whole life, she had a ton of hair. And it was long, down to her lower back.
“I thought I was going to go get a wig. Like, I told my husband I’m going to buy a wig, and then I said I was going to do a hair transplant,” said Birkenholz.
READ MORE: Psychologist shares how to talk to your child about Texas school shooting
That’s when she saw Dr. Nusbaum and he treated her with a platelet-rich plasma or PRP injection. Hair transplant was not needed for her case since it was not permanent.
“We have over 90% of patients that do PRP at the very least will notice a decrease rate of shedding. If someone is having temporary hair shedding and it’s treated with PRP, they may not have to repeat it. But when you’re having permanent forms of hair loss, not like what is seen in COVID, they will have to upkeep the treatments for it to be effective,” said Dr. Nusbaum.
Normally, you shed 50 to 100 hairs a day, which sounds like a lot but nothing to be concerned about.
Birkenholz says she was shedding double that, daily.
“I brought a little Ziplock bag of all my hair and I said this isn’t normal shedding and he said no it’s not,” said Birkenholz.
It’s been months since her PRP treatment, and she will be back for another one later in the summer.
She says most of her hair in the spots she was concerned about has come back but she still has a long road to go.
“I can start to feel more density right by my scalp, so I think the things are working. I look at myself and I say nobody knows what I went through nobody knows that my hair was thinning out or I was losing it so I’m going to be grateful that I’ve gotten back to this point but it’s still not where it was,” said Birkenholz.
Dr. Nusbaum said this is the same hair loss you can get from a bad sickness, postpartum, or a stressful emotional situation.
The thing to keep in mind is that it is temporary and will come back with time, and not every patient that has cover will experience hair loss.
MORE NEWS: New FBI report finds active shooter attacks on the rise
But if you do, it’s best to reach out to your doctor before undergoing any forms of treatment.