Post Partum Hair Shedding
You may have thought wow pregnancy has finally given me the hair of my wildest dreams, but once you have your baby -Poof your hair seems to be falling out more than it probably ever has. You might have not exactly known what is happening or even how to deal with it, leaving you really freaked out.
Losing hair after birth is a common phenomenon called Telogen Effluvium. Most women go through it one to three months after pregnancy. It can be very alarming going through this phase especially after welcoming your little angel, but just like any other changes during and after pregnancy, it is temporary. Luckily this condition isn’t so serious to either be permanent or leave you bold, its unlikely that your hair will go from extra thick and shiny to barely there.
What’s happening to my hair
Naturally hair has a life cycle where each hair strand grows then rests for 2 or 3 months before being pushed out by new hair growth. Everyone sheds about 100 hairs daily. When you are pregnant this cycle changes, the hair stays longer in the growing phase of its cycle, which results in less hair falling out throughout your pregnancy. This is caused by an increase in the hormone estrogen and your hair may look fuller and lustrous than usual. When the estrogen levels return to
normal after birth, your hair goes from the growth phase to the resting phase, which then falls out more than usual.
Remember you haven’t been shedding for several months, that hair actually needs to come out. The access shedding may even keep your hair looking almost exactly how it looked before you got pregnant. You go from shedding about 100 hairs a day to almost no shedding throughout pregnancy then after delivery you’ll shed about 300 hairs a day for about 3 to 4 months after the birth of your baby.
What causes hair to shed during pregnancy
Some women may shed less during pregnancy, but that’s not the case for every women. Hair loss that is connected to pregnancy usually occurs after delivery, if your hair is shedding during pregnancy it means your estrogen levels have decreased. This can be due to:
Hormonal stress on the body
The balance of hormones shift dramatically to support your growing baby. Stopping oral contraceptives, experiencing a miscarriage, an abortion, stress or shock can lead to hair shedding during pregnancy putting your hair’s life cycle to a resting phase. Instead of losing the average 100 hairs a day you may lose 300 hairs a day during pregnancy.
Health issues related to pregnancy
Health issues may surface during pregnancy, especially with an ongoing imbalance in hormones or essential vitamins. The shedding can be quite dramatic.
Hyperthyroidism: Is an increase in thyroid hormones and Hypothyroidism: is a decrease in thyroid hormones. Severe and prolonged hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism can cause loss of hair. The loss is diffuse and involves the entire scalp rather than discrete areas. The hair appears uniformly sparse just like alopecia areata. Regrowth is usual with successful treatment of the thyroid disorder, though it will take several months. It is unusual for mild sub clinical hyperthyroidism or hypothyroidism, or short-lived thyroid problems to cause hair loss.
Thyroid imbalances may be difficult to spot during pregnancy, hair loss is one of the symptom, along with muscle cramps, constipation, and exhaustion, if you might be having these symptoms during pregnancy, see your doctor about it.
Some forms of hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism come on abruptly during and pregnancy are diagnosed early, while others may have been present for months or years before diagnosis. Hair loss due to thyroid disease becomes apparent several months after the onset of thyroid disease. This is due to the long hair cycle.
A few women may also experience thyroid issues called postpartum thyroiditis after baby is born. In all cases, thyroid issues are typically diagnosed with a blood test.
Iron deficiency occurs when you don’t have enough red blood cells to get oxygen to different tissues in the body. It can cause hair loss along with other symptoms, like fatigue, irregular heartbeat, shortness of breath, and headache. Pregnant women are at high risk of developing iron deficiency anemia especially if their pregnancies are spaced close together, they’re pregnant with multiples, or they severe morning
sickness. This condition can also be diagnosed with a blood test.
While hair loss with these conditions isn’t permanent, your hair may not return to its normal thickness until hormone or vitamin levels have returned to normal ranges.
It’s important to note that hair loss with Telogen Effluvium is typically uniform thinning. If you notice patches or more dramatic balding, there may be other issues at play. There are also genetic and autoimmune conditions that cause hair loss, whether you’re pregnant or not.
How to treat hair shedding during pregnancy
Hair loss during and after pregnancy may require no special treatment as it generally resolves on its own. Though there is no special treatment, there are some measures you can follow.
- Wash your hair as usual. The number of times you was your hair won’t affect the amount it shed’s, infact you should was your hair as you normally would. Use shampoos and conditioners that contain biotin and silica.
- Be careful when hair is wet as it is very fragile avoid using fine tooth comb.
- If you notice shedding, avoid twisting, plaiting, tightening or doing any hairstyles which can pull or stress the hair until the condition starts to fade.
- Keep your hair moisturized, this seals and protects the hair follicles from extra damage.
- Continue with your antenatal supplements.
- Most doctors recommend an addition in zinc, biotin and iron.
- Avoid harsh treatments on your hair like bleaching your hair, applying too much heat to the hair. This can be damaging to the condition and blow it out of control than what it actually is.
Who does postpartum hair loss happen to
I’ve heard so much about postpartum hair shedding, from mommy groups online, social media pages I follow and from close family and friends. Telogen Effluvium can happen after your second, third or even just your first pregnancy, basically it can happen to any of us after different pregnancies. Other women may never experience it at all in all their pregnancies, but its always good to know the possibilities of hair loss during pregnancy and after birth. You never really know if it might happen to you or not, until it actually happens. Knowing about this phenomena can really help you deal with it without panic in future if it may occur.