Getting one’s hair braided is an age-old childhood pastime. It turns out, though, that in rare cases getting your hair done can lead to a rare condition called hair-grooming syncope. The condition typically affects children between the ages of five and sixteen and is triggered by someone getting their hair brushed, braided, curled, trimmed or blow-dried.
Children triggered by hairstyling can lose consciousness or convulse as a result. Additionally, they can experience migraines, abdominal pain or blurred vision. The condition is caused by nerve stimulation on the scalp caused by gently tugging on the hair.
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Dr. Alison Tothy, an associate professor of pediatrics at the University of Chicago Medicine, shared with Today: “We think it is either from pain, pulling on the scalp or scalp stimulation, or fear — and the body feels like it is going to pass out and they do.”
Mom’s Post on Hair-Grooming Syncope Goes Viral
Alicia Brown, a mom of three from Tennessee, recently shared her experience with hair-grooming syncope after witnessing her sister have a seizure after she was curling her hair. Alicia appeared on Good Morning America to share her story and raise awareness for the little-known condition.
“She was unresponsive and not moving. I was screaming for my husband to come into the bathroom, and he was taking her pulse, trying to say her name. It was probably the scariest thing I’ve ever seen,” she shared.
Fortunately, Gracie soon recovered and was later diagnosed with hair-grooming syncope.
The hair-grooming syncope condition is very rare, affecting only a handful of people each year. Still, it’s something to keep in mind the next time you go to braid your little girl’s hair.
When I’m not hanging out with my three-year-old and husband in Brooklyn, I’m busy writing stories for Mamas Uncut and managing PR + Marketing for Magnolia Bakery, based in New York City. On weekends, you can usually find me at a local park or playground pushing my daughter on the swings, “researching” the best almond croissants in Park Slope or launching into impromptu family dance parties at home, the sidewalk or, every once in awhile, a restaurant bathroom. I’m still trying to master the whole parenting thing, but I have learned that copious amounts of coffee, humor and humility are involved on a daily basis.
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