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Hair Loss Immediately after pregnancy

Sudden postpartum hair loss comes as a surprise to many new moms, but it's perfectly normal to start losing your hair several months after giving birth. There's no need to panic, however. You won't go bald, and it won't last forever .

“WHAT'S HAPPENING?”

To understand what's going on, it's a good idea to understand how hair works, how it grows and what is considered “normal hair growth.” Hair has a life cycle that comes in three phases:

Anagen (the “growth phase”) Approximately 85% of all hairs are in this growing phase at any one time. The phase can vary from two to six years. Hair grows approximately 10 cm per year, and any individual hair is unlikely to grow more than one meter long.

Catagen (the “transitional phase”) At the end of the growing phase, the transitional phase lasts about one or two weeks. Approximately 2% of all hairs are in the transitional phase at any one time. During this phase, the hair follicle shrinks to about 1/6 of the normal length. The lower part is destroyed and the dermal papilla breaks away to rest below. The average number of hairs we “shed” throughout any given day is 50 to 200.

Telogen (the “resting phase”) The resting phase follows the transitional phase and normally lasts about five to eight weeks. Approximately 13% of all hairs are in the resting phase at any one time, but this percentage can vary from 4% to 24%. During this time, the hair does not grow but stays attached to the follicle while the dermal papilla stays in a resting phase below. At the end of the resting phase, the follicle re-enters the growing phase.

Each hair follicle goes through these “hair cycles” 10 to 20 times in a lifetime. Among the many other wonderful and amazing temporary alterations to your body during and following pregnancy (thanks to hormonal changes), the proportion of growing hairs to resting hairs increases even more, resulting in a thick, luxuriant head of hair. After giving birth , however, the ratio is reversed and more hair falls out. Very quickly, in a short period of time, the percentage of growing hairs can drop from an average of 85% to as few as 60% . For most women, fortunately, the reduction isn't quite that dramatic, usually hovering somewhere around 75%. But for many women, the loss of hair is significant.

Hair loss usually starts at around three months postpartum and stops at around six months. During this time, many women feel that they're losing so much hair that there's more on their hairbrush than on their head. But by your baby's first birthday, your hair should be back to normal .

“WHAT CAN I DO TO STOP IT?”

You won't be able to stop the hair from falling out, but there a few things you can do to help .

  • Continue taking your prenatal vitamins.
     
  • Maintain a healthy daily diet.
     
  • Use a daily all natural shampoo & conditioner for thinning hair.
     
  • Get as much rest as you can throughout the day.
     
  • Do what you can to reduce anxiety and stress.

Many moms experiment with different hairstyles or hair products (such as hair thickeners or mousse) to give their hair a fuller look during this transition period. Nioxin ( nioxin.com ) is a great all-natural shampoo and conditioner line designed specifically for thinning hair. Toppik ( toppik.com ) and DermMatch ( dermmatch.com ) are wonderful products used to create the appearance of thicker, fuller hair. And Shen-Min ( shenmin.com ) is one of the best all natural daily supplements for hair. Tired of scooping hair out of shower drains or sweeping up clumps of long hair, some women find that this is a good time to go for a short cut.

Most importantly, remember that whatever hair loss you experience after the birth of your baby will usually come back within just months. Do what you can to weather the storm, and chalk it up to another of the many physiological miracles of having a child.

WHEN SHOULD I SEEK HELP?

If after a year, your hair loss persists or if you find that hair is truly coming out in “clumps,” leaving defined areas of the scalp with no hair, it's a good idea to consult a hair restoration specialist – a physician who specializes in hair restoration alone.

If you have a genetic predisposition to female pattern loss or other rarer forms of hair loss (such as areata alopecia), having a baby can sometimes be the trigger. And although unrelated, many women suffer from hyper or hypo thyroidism , another leading cause of temporary hair loss in women. This can exacerbate hair loss and continue the thinning process for months or even years following pregnancy.

Some simple tests can determine the cause of your hair loss, and an experienced hair restoration physician can answer all your questions, assess the exact cause(s) of your hair thinning or loss and can tailor a treatment plan just for you.

 

 

 



 
 


             
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