All about Postpartum Hair loss (And will it Last)


Postpartum hair loss generally starts around 8 weeks after delivery, usually at the anterior scalp (frontal regions). A small percentage of woman will experience hair loss across the entire scalp. Around 66 percent of woman see improvements after about 6 months post delivery.

Most women suffer from telogen effluvium after giving birth, this is a fancy term for temporary thinning of hair around the scalp. Ironically during pregnancy, your hair will actually look better since the exogen phase is delayed and the number of hairs falling out is reduced. This is often caused by higher estrogen levels during pregnancy maintain your hair longer, however after giving birth estrogen levels fall which results in more hairs falling out.

Why does your hair fall out postpartum?



In order to eliminate excess hairs after pregnancy, the hair cycles become more synchronized. Remember that during pregnancy you would have had much fuller hair since your hormone levels were different. During the final quarter of pregnancy, only about 10% of hairs are in the resting phase.

Postpartum hair loss is very common but is only seen as a minor nuisance by doctors although it may be rather traumatic to women. During the second and third trimesters, the number of hairs in the growth phase increase considerably. After giving birth, you will probably still notice a strong and healthy head of hair, this starts to decline after about 3 weeks. After 6 weeks, most women start to notice more hairs falling out, and hair loss lasted an average of 8 months.


How long did your postpartum shedding last?



A 24-year-old woman was studied after giving birth to her third child. She noticed that after one week she began to lose a great deal
of hair, which only returned to normal after 5 months. Studies show that during pregnancy the conversion of hair from
Anagen (growing) to Telogen (resting) is slowed down, after giving birth hair growth seems to slow down and results in greater hair loss in most woman.

Hair loss usually starts 3 months after giving birth and lasts around 6 weeks, although individual results will vary. In general, Postpartum hair loss does not occur in all women, it starts between two to four months after delivery and can last for up to a year.

Other Factors to consider with telogen effluvium.



Hair thinning associated with telogen effluvium is often caused by iron deficiency, tests can be done that look at the hemoglobin and serum ferritin levels in the blood. This is, fortunately, a fixable problem, with Iron supplementation the recommendation when ferritin levels are below 30 ng/ml.

Emotional stress can trigger and lead to telogen effluvium, how often have you had a stressful period and noticed your hair starts to look weak and brittle. Stress can release inflammatory cytokines that cause the premature termination of hair growth. In most cases, once the stressful period is over, hair should return to normal.


Can breastfeeding cause hair loss?



Breastfeeding does not cause hair loss and is more coincidental since many women notice hair loss around three months postpartum, this is normal and your hair should recover by the babies first birthday. Some studies have shown that women do experience various symptoms postpartum including pain, fatigue, hair loss, and stress, these are usually normal and do not continue forever.

Some smaller studies have been done to analyze the effect of breastfeeding on hair loss, and it did seem to influence the Growth phase, meaning lactation had a positive effect on hair growth. These studies were too small and did not include enough non-lactating women and could lead to incorrect assumptions.

Does postpartum hair loss grow back?



Patients with postpartum Telogen effluvium are often very anxious about their appearance and frequently think that it will lead to baldness. In most people, hair loss is only temporary and will return to normal within a few months, a small minority of cases do not recover completely and notice more deterioration of quality and thickness. If you notice any issues, it would be good to consult your doctor.

Does postpartum hair loss happen to everyone?



Even though the prevalence is unknown, it appears that postpartum hair loss is very common. If the women do not have any other disorders, hair should recover within 6 to 9 months. After this, some patients may experience diminished hair growth and less thickness in hair. If you do have issues it is advisable to make an appointment with your doctor, you could be suffering from iron deficiency or another systemic inflammation that needs investigation.

How long does hair loss occur after pregnancy?



Most women will experience diffuse hair loss at between two to four months after pregnancy or another stressful event (illness, medication use, endocrine gland issues). In general, it should only last a few months, with some women seeing improvements within 12 months.

Treatment is most often based on identifying and treating the underlying cause of the problem. It is good for women to understand the relationship between their hair loss and a specific event in their lives.

Should I see a Doctor for PostPartum hair loss.



Hair loss is one of the most common conditions seen by dermatologists, and it can lead to severe psychological stress and symptoms of depression. PostPartum hair loss usually recovers in a few months, however, some may experience slower recovery times, depending on the cause you need to be examined by a doctor, they will check your scalp for scaring.

The physician should grab onto a tuft of hairs and gently pull on them. It produces more than 10 hairs is suggestive of increased hair loss, this is known as the "Pull test". The cause of hair loss needs to be determined since it could signal diet issues, autoimmune conditions, or certain environmental causes.

References:
https://core.ac.uk/download/pdf/82326339.pdf

Alopecia in Women -- American Family Physician - AAFP
https://www.aafp.org/afp/2003/0301/p1007.pdf

Postpartum alopecia
https://www.ajog.org/article/0002-9378(66)90389-9/pdf

Hair Loss- An analysis and Updated Treatment - Semantic Scholar
https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/3900/7457fad7d5c1dd1a78273f5ea60e444e4436.pdf



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