How Much Hair Shedding Is Normal
Although the condition causes your hair to shed a significant amount, it is not serious enough to cause permanent hair loss or bald spots. Postpartum hair loss normally lasts for 12 months after childbirth. If you feel that you notice unusual excessive hair loss, you should speak with your trichologist or book an appointment with our Papilla Haircare staff for a postpartum hair loss consultation.
Postpartum Hair Loss: Dont Panic
Medically reviewed by Kristin Hall, FNP
Youre not getting enough sleep your body no longer looks like your own, and now youre losing your damned hair? Having a baby comes with many life changes, and while most of them are positive you have a baby, for crying out loud some of them are much less so.
There is a silver lining about experiencing postpartum hair loss youve never been so equipped to roll with the punches.
If having a kid does anything, it teaches you that theres a scale when it comes to problems everything is relative. Spit-up on your blouse and baby poop under your fingernail? No biggie. Even a mounting stack of bills means less when theres a baby in the picture. Sure, losing some hair is troubling, but its nothing you cant handle.
How To Prevent Hair Loss After Delivery
The joy of becoming a mother is unmatched as it makes you feel empowered, elated and complete. The pains and issues that you endure during the pregnancy would fade away eventually as you cradle the baby with your warmth and love. Most of the women experience thinning and shedding of hair after giving birth to their baby. Dr. Vidushi Singal the best dermatologist in Ludhiana explains that postpartum hair loss is completely normal. She further adds that with a little attention to your diet and health routine, things can get back to normal within a year.
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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.
Low Estrogen Levels And Postpartum Hair Loss
Then what happens after childbirth, especially if you’re breastfeeding, is that your estrogen levels drop from 50 – 100x normal level to low, lower than normal, because when breastfeeding, the hormone Prolactin, is produced mainly to help women produce milk after childbirth and suppresses your estrogen level. The reduced level of estrogen hormone tends to cause hair loss.
When the estrogen hormone levels drop, the hair follicles fall under the influence of the male sex hormone or the testosterone, or primarily its derivative DHT. This then causes the shortening of the growth phase of hair and subsequently noticeable hair loss. This is also known Androgenetic Alopecia or female-pattern hair loss.
Additionally, the dramatic drop in estrogen can also trigger a traumatic hair loss response known as Telogen Effluvium. Telogen Effluvium is stress shed that normally lasts up to 6-9 months from the onset of drastic shedding. Telogen Effluvium will usually naturally grow back on its own unless there is female pattern hair loss present. In that case, you must treat the female hair loss to hair growing back normally again.
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What Is Most Useful To Prevent Postpartum Hair Loss
Postpartum hair loss is not only distressing, but also very common. Many women will lose an average of 40 to 80 hairs over the first few months after birth. When that hair loss is combined with the added loss that usually occurs after the first year, it is often a shock for women to see that they have lost so much hair. To prevent this hair loss, Dr. Kenji Harada at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine recommends a number of steps.
Side Effects Of Postpartum Hair Loss: Is It Permanent
Postpartum hair loss is usually temporary however, there are cases when its permanent due to an underlying medical condition that requires immediate treatment .
Prolonged hair loss after pregnancy can also be caused by emotional or physical trauma such as childbirth or surgery. Make sure you seek medical attention in case of prolonged postpartum hair loss lasting more than a year.
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When To Worry About Postpartum Hair Loss
If your hair loss continues past the one-year mark and you have other symptoms, its time to consider there may be an underlying cause.
You might be suffering from postpartum thyroiditis, which means inflammation of the thyroid, the butterfly-shaped gland in the front of your neck. This condition happens to 5 to 10 percent of postpartum women.
This thyroiditis will sometimes start with high levels of thyroid hormone in the blood before morphing into levels that are too low. Not every woman will experience both types though.
If you have high levels of thyroid hormone, which will usually happen one to four months after you have your baby, you may have:
- Feeling overly tired.
- Decreased ability to handle exercise.
The reason so many moms dont notice their thyroid issue is because many of the symptoms are common for normal new moms. They may think their fatigue is caused by the midnight feedings, and anxiety and irritability can happen to new moms too.
If it is determined youre suffering from thyroiditis, your doctor may decide to put you on medication.
Why Your Hair Is Falling Out
Hair falls out its why you have to clean your brush and your disgusting bathtub drain. But when those hairballs get bigger and you simultaneously notice you have less than normal on your head, you may have a problem.
Telogen effluvium refers to increased hair shedding after a traumatic event. And, as you well know, childbirth is pretty damn traumatic. It doesnt happen immediately baby comes out and hair immediately follows instead, your shedding accelerates several weeks or even months postpartum.
Childbirth isnt the only thing that causes telogen effluvium. Things such as illness, severe stress, some medications, crash dieting, and major surgery can cause it too. That is to say: Its not uncommon. And, it may not be as bad as it looks.
According to an article in the journal BioMed Research International, postpartum hair loss can seem more dramatic than it really is. This is because normal hair shedding slows during pregnancy.
You were bloated, uncomfortable and felt like a whale, but you had full, voluminous hair, right?
Then, once you welcomed your little nugget into the world, your body began the process of returning to normal the slow, slow process. Your scalp begins shedding all of the extra hair it had held onto.
So while you may be finding more in your shower or on the floor, the difference may not be so pronounced on your head, at least compared to your hair before pregnancy.
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Does Postpartum Hair Loss Hypothyroidism Get Worse With Each Pregnancy
Postpartum hair loss may or may not get worse with each pregnancy. Its impossible to give a definite answer because your hair loss is dependent on your hormones. Each pregnancy is different, and your hormone levels with each pregnancy are different. Therefore, you never know if your next pregnancy will be worse or better.
However, just because you have another baby doesnt mean that the hair loss will get worse each time. There is a good chance youll have some form of hair loss each time since a majority of women do. Ive had some degree of postpartum alopecia for all four of my pregnancies, but only one was worse than the others.
Can I Prevent Postpartum Hair Loss
Unfortunately, you cant prevent it, but there are methods you can employ to mitigate the losses. Although every method may not work for you, there are some things your doctor or dermatologist may recommend trying, both to jumpstart the growth of new hair and disguise your hair loss:
- Keeping your scalp healthy with antifungal shampoos.
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Permanent Diffuse Hair Loss Until Correction Of The Cause
Numerous imbalances can cause permanent hair loss, such as iron deficiency, an underactive thyroid, other hormonal imbalances, some medications, continual stress, liver or kidney problems in fact, any imbalance that reaches the hair through the blood can cause this type of hair loss.
The only way to treat this is to correct the underlying imbalance. Once addressed, the hair loss will slow after two or three months, before fully recovering.
Postpartum Hair Loss Is Totally Normalbut There Are Things You Can Do To Stop It
Your hair is falling out in clumps, and you’re starting to panic. Hair loss after pregnancy is quite common. Here’s when it will stop and what you can to slow down the shedding.
A few months following the birth of her third child, amid the sleep deprivation and endless nursing sessions, 29-year-old Alicia Mideys hair started coming out in alarming clumps. It really started to accelerate three months after I gave birth, says the Chesapeake, Va., mom. I knew it was a part of the postpartum process, but that didnt make dealing with the bald spots around my hairline easier. It was worse than it had ever been with my first two children.
Stephanie Black, a 38-year-old mother of one from Charlton, Ont., had a similar experience, though her hair loss was delayed. In my case, it didnt start until about a year after I had my son, and it happened so fast I thought I was going bald, Black says. My doctor said it was likely pregnancy related, but I was surprised that it took so long to take effect, since I only breastfed for a few months and didnt go back to work until months after my hair started falling out.
Shedding hair at a noticeable rate in the first two to six months after having a baby is not unusualonline parenting groups and social media status updates are full of new moms posting, Is this normal? Im freaking out! But the experience can vary among women.
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Dermatologists Tips For New Mothers
If the excessive hair shedding bothers you, these tips from dermatologists can help until your hair regains its normal fullness.
Use shampoo and conditioner that add volume. Heres what dermatologists recommend using and avoiding:
Use a volumizing shampoo. These shampoos tend to contain ingredients like protein that coat the hair, making the hair appear fuller.
Avoid any shampoo labeled conditioning shampoo. These contain heavy conditioners that can weigh down the hair and make it look limp.
Use a conditioner formulated for fine hair. These contain lighter formulas that will not weigh down hair.
Use conditioner primarily on the ends of your hair. Applying conditioner to your scalp and all of your hair tends to weigh down hair.
Avoid conditioners labeled intensive conditioners. These are too heavy.
Finding the best shampoo and conditioner for thin hair is really a matter of trial and error. There is no single ingredient that makes a volumizing shampoo or conditioner for fine hair better than the rest.
Try a new hairstyle. Some haircuts make hair look fuller. An experienced stylist can tell you what will work for you.
Many new mothers prefer short hair. A short style can make hair look fuller. Short hair also can be easier to manage, which can save time. With a baby, anything that saves time can be a real boon.
Treatment For Postpartum Hair Loss
In general, telogen effluvium will resolve itself with time. In other words, a few months after you notice the hair loss, youll notice it lessening until the amount you shed finally returns to normal, most often in less than one year total.
This is why the most important aspect in the management of TE is counseling the patient about the natural history of the condition, according to the Journal of Clinical and Diagnostic Research. In other words this wont last forever, but it does have to run its course.
Though experts say, no treatment is needed for most cases of telogen effluvium, there are a few things you can do to minimize the appearance of hair loss and potentially speed recovery:
Use hair products that promote volume, such as biotin-rich shampoo, not heavy conditioners that will make thinner hair look limp.
Tell your stylist about your hair loss and explore styles that will help your hair look fuller.
If persistent, check with your healthcare provider for further treatment recommendations.
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What Causes Hair Loss After Giving Birth
All hair on our bodies grows in a cycle that can last anywhere from two to seven years. The active or growing phase of a strand of hair is called anagen and determines the length of our hair. After a period of time, the hair follicle enters a transition phase before entering its resting phase . Shedding occurs and the process starts all over again.
Changes related to your hormone levels before, during and after pregnancy can affect hair growth. Its completely normal to experience hormonal imbalance after giving birth, and one of the symptoms of hormonal imbalance is postpartum hair loss.
The medical term for postpartum hair loss is telogen effluvium. The condition, which is also referred to as postpartum alopecia, is relatively common, affecting between 40-50% of women in the months following childbirth.
Postpartum hair loss occurs after childbirth because of the sudden change of hormones in your body, particularly the change between progesterone and estrogen.
How Much Hair Loss Is Normal For Postpartum
The truth is there is no normal amount of hair loss that you can expect to experience postpartum. This is totally individual to each person and can also be impacted by other environmental factors, such as lack of sleep, changes in diet, and other stresses associated with adjusting to life with a new baby. However, if you are losing a higher volume, dont be alarmed. Its not uncommon for women to lose up to 400 hairs a day postpartum.
Kendall experienced most of her hair loss along her hairline, which is the most common area that women experience noticeable hair thinning after having a baby. I had an inch to two inches of an almost bald spot right around my temple and down to my ears along my hairline, she explains.
Hair has a three-step cycle process: when its actively growing, when its resting, and when its shedding. Most people lose up to 100 hairs a day and dont even notice because hair all over our head is at different stages in this cycle at any given time. Because hormonal processes during pregnancy prolong the actively growing stage of the hair growth cycle, women experience a higher shed as their hormone levels go back to normal.
When Claire experienced postpartum hair loss, she eventually decided to start wearing wigs.
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Postpartum Hair Loss Can Be Severe And Devastating For New Moms
These days, Kate Reicker doesn’t have a lot of time to look in mirrors. But when the Ottawa mom of two does catch a glimpse of herself, she says she barely recognizes the woman with thinning hair and visible areas of scalp staring back at her.
“It’s like, is that me in there somewhere?” Reicker, 34, who has a two-year-old and a five-month-old, told HuffPost Canada in a phone interview about her postpartum hair loss.
“It cements in my mind that I’m no longer a person. I’m just a mom. I cannot look in the mirror without just being reminded constantly that, nope. Your old life is over. You’re not going back to who you used to be. You’re just a shell.”
Postpartum hair loss, also known as postpartum telogen effluvium, is the shedding of hair after giving birth due to changes in hormone levels. For some women, the hair loss is minor. But for others, it can be severe. And it can be extremely distressing, especially given the physical, emotional, and psychological vulnerabilities women already face in the postpartum period.
HuffPost Canada’s new parenting series, “Life After Birth,” is seeking to open up the dialogue on this and other rarely-discussed and sometimes unwelcome side effects of new-mom life.
WATCH “Life After Birth”: Postpartum hair loss isn’t funny . Story continues below.
“My hair is just see-through now,” Reicker said.
“I just found it to be sort of the icing on the cake on top of all the other challenges associated with being a new mom,” Reicker said.
Why Do Some Women Experience Hair Loss After Having A Baby
Following childbirth, estrogen and progesterone levels that had increased during pregnancy begin to fall, which can result in postpartum hair loss. Postpartum hair loss can begin anywhere from 2 to 6 months post-childbirth.
During pregnancy, women actually experience a lot of changes in their hair due to the increase in their estrogen and progesterone levels. This can cause some surprising side effects, such as increased facial and bellybutton hair, alongside more exciting ones like a fuller, healthier, shinier head of hair. Rachel, who had experienced unrelated hair loss prior to her pregnancy, acknowledges the increased hair growth during pregnancy was a totally welcome side effect. Having my hair grow back during pregnancy was such a tease! explains Rachel. I even got to the point where I wouldnt wear wigs.
Fuller, healthier hair during pregnancy happens because the soaring levels of estrogen and progesterone push the hair into its active growing stage for a prolonged period of time, resulting in thicker strands, less hair fall, and maximal hair growth for some lucky folks. For others, it can result in oilier strands or even changes in hair textures and curl patterns. For some women, there are no changes at all. The hormonal fluctuations that come with pregnancy are unique to each person and their body and theres no way to predict if you will experience increased hair growth during pregnancy or hair loss postpartum.
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