Wondering why your once luscious mane of tresses is suddenly thinning out post pregnancy? Thankfully, for most women post pregancy hair loss is temporary and treatable.
Many new mums are surprised to find themselves shedding more hair than usual in the first few months after giving birth, but it’s perfectly normal. And there’s no need to panic: You won’t go bald. In fact, your hair should be back to normal by your baby’s first birthday.
Reasons for post pregnancy hair loss
Normally, about 85% to 95% of the hair on your head is growing and the other 5% to 15% is in a resting stage. After the resting period, this hair falls out – often while you’re brushing or shampooing it and is replaced by new growth. An average woman sheds about 100 hairs a day.
During pregnancy, increased levels of oestrogen prolong the growing stage. There are fewer hairs in the resting stage and fewer falling out each day, so you have thicker, more luxuriant tresses.
After you give birth, your oestrogen levels take a tumble and a lot more hair follicles enter the resting stage. Soon you’ll have more hair coming out in the shower or on the brush. This unusual shedding will taper off and your hair will be back to its pre-pregnancy thickness about six to 12 months after you give birth.
Not all women notice dramatic changes in their hair during pregnancy or the postnatal period. Among those who do, it tends to be more obvious among women with longer hair.
What can I do about it?
You won’t be able to stop the hair from falling out, but you can experiment with different hairstyles or products (such as hair thickeners or mousse) to give your hair a fuller look during this transition period.
Approximately 90% of your hair is growing at any one time, while the other 10% enter a resting phase. Every two to three months the resting hair falls out and allows new hair to grow in its place. Telogen effluvium is the excessive shedding of hair that occurs one to five months following pregnancy. This is not uncommon, affecting somewhere between 40 to 50% of women; but like most changes during pregnancy, it is temporary.
Is there abnormal hair loss during pregnancy?
Hair loss that is connected to pregnancy usually occurs after delivery. During pregnancy, an increased number of hairs go into the resting phase, which is part of the normal hair loss cycle. This condition is not serious enough to cause bald spots or permanent hair loss, and should begin to diminish within three to four months after delivery. If you feel that you are experiencing unusual hair loss while you are pregnant, this may be due to a vitamin or mineral deficiency.
Can hair loss be related to other reproductive health issues?
Hair loss can be triggered by anything that involves a change in the oestrogen hormone balance in your system. Hair loss may result from any one or more of the following:
- Discontinuation of birth control pills or any other hormonal type of birth control method
- Miscarriage or stillbirth
- A hormonal imbalance
From trichologist Deborah Whelan.
Hair loss in the months after pregnancy (post partum alopecia), particularly in women with low iron, is fairly common but usually not too serious to cause upset.
Unfortunately, for some women, the amount of hair lost in the months following the birth of their child can be alarming and it can cause anxiety and panic.
It is important for women in this situation to realise that this type of alopecia is temporary, it does not destroy the hair follicle and it is unlikely that they will go bald. Often, normal hair growth will resume within a few months.
Women who experience severe hair loss or who find that the shedding is very excessive or continues for more than three months should consult a certified trichologist or their GP.
Trichologists can provide an immediate diagnosis and prognosis, advice for optimal hair growth through good nutrition and proven topical treatments that encourage new hair regrowth and faster hair growth.
Look at your diet
Nutritional deficiencies and a diet low in healthy proteins are a common cause of thinning hair and vitamins/supplements are no substitute for a balanced diet.
My advice for avoiding episodes of poor hair growth or thinning hair would be to eat a balanced diet that provides enough energy and nutrients for the body to allow the hair to grow normally. The hair cells are the second fastest growing cells in the body and they respond very quickly to deficiencies or adverse changes in our diet and our health.
A small amount of protein (poultry, nuts, lean red meat, fish, eggs or beans etc.) should be included in the three main meals of the day as hair is made of protein and protein deficiency can cause thinning hair and poor quality hair. Contact www.trichologist.ie for help in locating a registered trichologist in your area.
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