When To See A Health Care Provider
Hair loss is complex and can have many causes, so if youre worried that your postpartum loss is excessive or lasting longer than it should, see a doctor.
If your hair does not regain its normal fullness after one year, you may want to see a dermatologist,” advised Dr. Vergara. “Something else may be causing your hair to fall out. People lose hair for many reasons, and an accurate diagnosis is essential for effective treatment.
How Long Does Postpartum Hair Loss Last
Ok, so weve established how much hair is lost but the real question is how long does postpartum hair loss last? You should see the hair loss/shedding start to slow down around six months postpartum. However, if you feel that the rate of hair fall isnt slowing down, we would suggest seeing your GP for further advice and perhaps blood tests.
How Much Hair Should You Be Shedding
If the average person loses around 100 strands of hair a day, postpartum mothers lose approximately quadruple this amount.
On average, you should lose about 400 strands of hair a day- but you dont need to go counting them to be sure! Just keep in mind that clogged shower drains and hair-matted pillowcases are normal.
However, if your hair loss has not slowed down by this time, its a good idea to consult with your doctor. You could be suffering from low levels of ferritin or iron because of pregnancy.
Your thyroid could also be playing up, which contributes to hair loss too. Your doctor will perform blood tests to check for all of the above.
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Do I Have Postpartum Hair Loss
Normally, a person loses about 100 hairs a day . But ladies with postpartum hair loss will notice much more than that. Youll seem to be shedding more than ever, especially compared to during pregnancy when you barely noticed any hair falling out.
Youll notice the extra hairs on your hairbrush, or you may even see some smaller clumps falling out. I realized I had this issue in the first three months or so of having my baby. I noticed my hair seemed to be thinner than usual and saw my hairbrush filling up way more than in the past.
I didnt understand why it was happening, and I felt like there was something wrong with me. It wasnt easy to deal with, but I did take some comfort in knowing I wasnt alone once I did some quick research online about the problem.
So if you see this happening, dont freak out. Its normal and common. Up to half of all women will lose more hair than usual in the first five months after having their baby.
The good thing is there are ways to disguise your hair loss until your body begins to recuperate from all its been through. When I was dealing with this, I learned some great tricks to fake a full mane that Ill share with you in a later section.
When Should I See A Doctor
More good news about postpartum hair loss: it usually resolved on its own without any needed medical intervention. With that said, extreme or prolonged postpartum hair loss can be a sign that perhaps there are other issues at play and should be reason to seek out a healthcare provider.
If your hair does not regain its normal fullness after one year, you may want to see a dermatologist. Something else may be causing your hair to fall out. People lose hair for many reasons, and an accurate diagnosis is essential for effective treatment, advised Dr. Vergara-Wijangco.
If you’re concerned that your postpartum hair loss isn’t turning around, seek professional medical advice.
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Postpartum Hair Loss: What Causes It And How To Treat It
Hair loss after pregnancy is more common than you may think. According to the American Pregnancy Association, an average of 40-50% of women experience postpartum hair loss. When it happens after childbirth varies from woman to woman, and different women experience different amounts of hair shedding, but if this is happening to you, dont worry. Well tell you what causes it, how long it usually lasts, and what to do about it.
How To Stop Or Prevent Postpartum Hair Loss
If the hair loss youâre experiencing is caused by hormonal changes associated with pregnancy and childbirth, the hair loss may simply stop on its own without any treatment at all.
Still, there are steps you can take to help prevent some of the hair loss:
Get enough vitamins and nutrients by eating lots of fruits and vegetables
Be gentle when you wash and brush your hair
Donât wear tight hairdos that can pull on your hair
Use only the cool setting on your hair dryer.
Above all, try to be patient with yourself. You have lots on your plate right now and there might not be much more you can do than wait it out. For some tips on handling your hair, you might like to try some of these easy hair styling cheats for new moms.
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Why Does Your Hair Fall Out After Pregnancy
Prepare to get your science-nerd on, because the reason your hair is falling out post-pregnancy actually has a fascinating biological background. To understand why this happens, it is helpful to review the normal cycle of hair growth. Our hair follicles go through three stages: anagen phase , followed by the catagen phase , and lastly telogen . As the hairs go through this cycle, each hair on the scalp is replaced every three to five years, explained Dr. Aivaz.
She continued, connecting the dots to postpartum hair loss: During pregnancy, the high prolactin, estrogen, and progesterone hormone levels shift all of our hairs into the growing phase . This explains why pregnant women have thick, voluminous hair because they dont shed hair during the pregnancy! Because no hairs are in telogen phase during pregnancy, no hair is shed during pregnancy. After pregnancy, as the hormone levels normalize, a lot of those hairs that had shifted into the active phase now are shifted into the telogen phase, which allows the hair to shed and return to its normal cycle. The normal hair loss that was halted during pregnancy occurs all at once, resulting in the massive shedding that some women experience.
Hence the condition formally being known as telogen effluvium telogen for the hair cycle phase and effluvium, which means an invisible emanation.
Why Am I Losing My Hair 3 Months Postpartum
Many new moms notice hair loss sometimes quite dramatic around three months postpartum. This is a normal and temporary postpartum change that is unrelated to breastfeeding. Following is how the hair growth cycle works: All hair has a growth phase, termed anagen, and a resting phase, telogen.
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Hair Loss In Women Is Particularly Traumatic
Postpartum hair loss usually occurs about three to six months after delivery and can last another six months after that, Dr. Jeff Donovan, a dermatologist and president of the Canadian Hair Loss Foundation, said in an email interview with HuffPost Canada.
While most women experience some hair shedding after giving birth, it’s “particularly noticeable” in about 60 to 70 per cent of women, Donovan said. This can be extremely distressing, he added.
“As humans, the appearance of our hair is closely linked to how we feel about ourselves. Hair loss commonly impacts self-esteem and body image. Women with hair loss feel less attractive and increasingly self-conscious,” Donovan said.
Postpartum hair loss tends to happen at a time when new moms are already stressed, adjusting to life with a baby, recovering physically from childbirth, and at risk for developing a maternal mental illness such as postpartum depression. PPD affects up to 20 per cent of Canadian women during pregnancy and the postpartum period, according to the recently updated Family-Centred Maternity and Newborn Care: National Guidelines from the Government of Canada.
And hair loss in women can be particularly traumatic. Multiple studies have shown that a woman’s hair tends to be more closely linked to how she feels about herself, compared to a man’s relationship with his hair.
How To Stop Postpartum Hair Loss
Because postpartum hair loss is a normal result of your changing hormones, it is not something that you can immediately stop. However, there are steps you can take to minimize the effects of postpartum hair loss and help promote healthy hair growth.
Here are six things you can try for postpartum hair loss treatment:
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Faq: Does Breastfeeding Cause Postpartum Hair Loss
Postpartum hair loss is a normal and temporary postpartum change that is unrelated to breastfeeding. Most women will return to their usual hair growth cycle between 6 and 12 months after birth.
Many new moms notice hair loss sometimes quite dramatic around three months postpartum. This is a normal and temporary postpartum change that is unrelated to breastfeeding.
Following is how the hair growth cycle works:
All hair has a growth phase, termed anagen, and a resting phase, telogen. On the scalp, anagen lasts approximately 3 years, while telogen lasts roughly 3 months, although there can be wide variation in these times between individuals. During telogen, the resting hair remains in the follicle until it is pushed out by growth of a new anagen hair.
from Telogen Effluvium by Elizabeth CW Hughes, MD
Normally, around 85-95% of your hair is in the growth phase at any point in time, but the hormonal changes during pregnancy stimulate an increase in the percentage of hairs in the growth phase. As a result, many women enjoy thicker hair during pregnancy, as more hairs than normal are growing and fewer than normal are resting/shedding.
With the birth of your baby , a larger number of hairs than normal enter the resting phase. Since the resting phase is followed by hair shedding , new mothers will experience greater than normal hair loss once the resting phase ends.
How Much Hair Loss Is Normal And How Much Is Expected During Postpartum
Leyla says, While many women experience improvement in their hair quality during pregnancy , the majority experience hair loss after they have delivered their baby.
She adds that, on average, men and women lose about 50-100 hairs each day. However, during post-partum new moms can shed approx. 400 hairs a day. In general, it takes around three months for your pregnancy growth to fall out, so many women start to notice hair loss at this stage. After approx 3-6 months post-partum, hair loss should regulate and return to normal levels. If the shedding does not slow down after six months, it could be signaling other health issues, so be sure to tell your doctor. For example, pregnancy can change your ferritin levels and, therefore, can disrupt your thyroid levels, which need to be monitored closely by your doctor.
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Beware Of A Hair Tourniquet
New mothers also should watch out for hair tourniquets. A hair tourniquet forms when a strand of hair falls out and wraps around a babys toe, finger, or other body part. A single strand can wrap so tightly that it cuts off circulation or causes an infection.
Dont panic. The likelihood of your baby getting a hair tourniquet is very rare. Knowing what to do, however, can be helpful.
If you see a shed hair wrapped around your baby finger, toe, or other body part, you must remove it. Here what you should do:
Look for a loose end and gently unwind the hair.
Sometimes you will not see a loose end, so youll need something to gently cut the hair, such as a small knife or scissors.
If you cannot remove the hair because it is wound too tightly or enmeshed in your babys skin, you need to get medical help. Call your babys doctor or take your baby to the emergency room. Sometimes a doctor has to remove a hair tourniquet.
Learn To Live With The Hair Loss Until Its Over
But what about my hair in the meantime? Theres nothing you can do to prevent it from falling out. And theres really not much you can do to treat telogen effluvium. For a few weeks or even a few months, you may have to employ some creative strategies to make the hair you do have look great. A few ideas:
New shampoo: Try a volumizing shampoo to maximize what youve got. And be gentle when washing, drying, and styling.
New do: Talk to your hair stylist about a new hairstyle or even a haircut that might perk you up and minimize the appearance of thinner hair. Bonus points for anything thats quick and easy to style when youve got a new baby putting demands on your time and energy.
New hat: Yes, its the ultimate fallback on a bad hair day, and its quick and easynot to mention reversible.
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Modify Your Hair Care Routine
You may find that modifying your hair care routine can help stop further hair loss. Try using a postpartum hair loss shampoo that is fortified with biotin and silica and a deep-moisture conditioner.
Hair is more fragile when wet so brush gently after you wash your hair or wait for it to dry. Set your hairdryer to a cool setting and avoid using hot rollers or straightening irons to prevent further damage that can be caused by excessive heat.
Your hair may also benefit from other specialty products that a dermatologist can recommend, like scalp sprays and hair masks.
Maintain A Healthy Diet
We all know that maintaining a healthy diet is an important factor for optimal health and wellbeing. For postpartum women in particular, a healthy diet can help your overall recovery and stop postpartum hair loss from progressing.
Make sure your diet includes the necessary balance of vitamins and nutrients found primarily in vegetables, whole grains and fresh fruit. Remember to drink plenty of water throughout the day in order to stay hydrated.
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What Can You Do While You Wait For Your Hair To Return To Its Normal Growth Cycle
- Get a good haircut. Some moms choose this time to get a shorter haircut or one that requires less care.
- Experiment with different hairstyles.
- A good quality shampoo and conditioner may help.
- Try different styling products, such as mousses or texturizers that bulk up the appearance of your hair.
- Avoid using a brush or comb that pulls or stresses the hair.