28 Jul Postpartum Hair Loss
Women are often described as blooming during pregnancy, not least because their hair can look thicker and more lustrous. So it can be quite distressing after the happy arrival of your baby when you start to see signs of hair loss. This article about postpartum hair loss helps to put your mind at rest and explains what causes it and what you should expect.
First though, remember that hair loss is actually something that happens to us every day, often without us even noticing. According to the NHS1 we can lose between 50 and 100 hairs over a 24 hour period, so if you do happen to spot any loose hairs it’s probably just part of our normal and healthy daily hair loss. If it is more than that, then yes, it could be postpartum hair loss.
What is postpartum hair loss?
Postpartum hair loss is a condition in women who have recently given birth. According to the NHS2 it is common for women to lose more hair than usual up to three months after they’ve given birth. We should say here that it isn’t so much hair loss, but excessive hair shedding, and the good news is that it’s usually temporary.3
What causes Postpartum hair loss?
Hair shedding is a normal part of the hair growth cycle that has three phases: anagen, catagen and telogen. As part of this cycle we naturally lose hair, and hormones play a big part. The first phase of the hair growth cycle, the anagen phase, is where hair actively grows, and it is prolonged by the hormone, oestrogen. 4 Bear in mind that all hairs are at different stages of the cycle.
During pregnancy oestrogen levels increase dramatically, meaning your hair remains in the anagen phase for longer and is therefore less likely to shed. This is why so many women notice changes to their hair. Unfortunately, whilst some expectant mothers are proud of their fuller, thicker locks, others do suffer the opposite. 5
So what happens? After you have had your baby there is a significant drop in the levels of oestrogen in your body. The anagen phase is halted in its tracks and the telogen phase kicks in. This is the resting phase and when you are most likely to see greater shedding known as postpartum telogen effluvium.6 However, your hair loss might also be more noticeable because you hadn’t been shedding as much during your pregnancy, hence your thicker head of hair.
How long does postpartum hair loss last?
For most women this excessive hair shedding is temporary and should last for just a few months, but for others it can lead to more prolonged hair loss.7
Managing postpartum hair loss
You might wonder if there is anything you can do to prevent postpartum hair loss.
Hair regrowth products such as minoxidil (known as Regaine) are not recommended for use in pregnancy or whilst breastfeeding.8 What you can do though is generally take more care of your hair. Don’t over style which can cause more hair to fall out, use a volumizing shampoo, eat well and supplement your diet with vitamins. Always discuss the use of vitamins postpartum with your midwife or doctor.9
What if my hair loss isn’t because of my pregnancy?
Some hair loss problems in pregnancy and afterwards can be associated with other problems such as an overactive thyroid.10 You should therefore see your doctor if you are concerned about your hair loss. Once it has been ascertained there is no other underlying health condition, if you are still worried, you can seek expert advice from a specialist hair loss consultant, trichologist or advisor about how and why you might be losing your hair.
In addition to this, you could take the Fagron TrichoTest™, as this scientifically validated test analyses both your different gene variations and your lifestyle to then accurately determine which treatment would work best for you.
To find out more about this or to book a test click here.