A bride-to-be has revealed her horror after she started to go bald, just before herwedding day.
Hairdresser Ellie Baker, 35, was devastated when she lost her own locks and had to walk down the aisle in specially designed extensions after suffering alopecia.
She had been busy planning the ceremony when her hair began to fall out.
Ellie said she was terrified of being a bald bride and "freaked out" when she discovered great clumps of her hair starting to fall out when she got out the shower.
And she feels the stress of facing her big day without her natural hair could have made her condition worse.
She said: "Losing my hair before my wedding was every bride's worst nightmare."
"One day I came out the shower and there was a tiny circular bald patch on the back of my head."
"Doctors told me not to worry but within weeks the whole house was covered in my hair."
"After a while I started to develop large bald patches."
"I was very worried, I didn't want to be a bald hairdresser, but I especially didn't want to be a bald bride."
Ellie, a mother-of-three from Plymouth, Devon, managed to use special hair extensions to get through the big day and turned heads for all the right reasons.
And since tying the knot, she has set up a support group for other sufferers of the condition.
She got engaged to Daniel Baker, 33, on Christmas Day 2011 and started planning the ceremony that took place in May 2013.
She said: "A few months before the wedding, my fiance Daniel noticed a small patch of hair missing from the back of my head and I went to the doctor."
"On my second visit, I was referred to a oncologist."
"I had alopecia areta and was losing my hair in large amounts."
"I found what I had shocking, especially whilst trying to plan my wedding, and dreaded any more of my hair falling out before my big day."
"It got progressively worse."
"As soon as soon as it happened I started looking into what I can do to cover up for big day."
"I was dreading the moment I walked down the aisle with bald patches."
"That did cause a lot of stress and could have made the condition worse."
"Stress can make it worse but before it started falling out I was not stressed at all."
"I did not even do any of the wedding planning."
"We picked the venue and the colours and my mother-in-law then did the rest."
"I was really excited - certainly not stressed."
"It is a very unpredictable thing and there was no real cause to it."
"At the moment I have a full head of hair - but next week I could wake up and it could be all gone again."
"It is a very cruel thing."
Steroid treatments were only partially successful, and Ellie enlisted the help of best friend Chelsea Woodrow, who attached the extensions around her bald areas.
Ellie later contacted Alopecia UK, whose nearest support group was in Bristol.
They encouraged her to set up a local group in Plymouth, which she did last November.