Causes, Treatments – Forbes Health

What is postpartum hair loss?

According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), hormonal changes during pregnancy can cause your body and head hair to thicken. Then, about three months after giving birth, most women begin to notice another change in their hair, which usually includes hair loss from the scalp. This happens because hormones return to pre-pregnancy levels, allowing hair to return to a more regular cycle of growth and fall. This is often called postpartum hair loss.

Although the amount of hair that falls out can be alarming at first — because anyone who’s experienced it knows it can be a lot — in most cases, your hair will regrow completely within three to six months, according to ACOG.

What causes postpartum hair loss?

There are several causes for postpartum hair loss. These include:

A decrease in estrogen after birth

As Amy Roskin, MD and certified OB-GYN explains, decreasing estrogen causes hair follicles to enter the resting phase instead of the growth phase. “These hairs can fall out several months later,” she says.

Underlying conditions

Sometimes postpartum hair loss isn’t just related to decreased estrogen – there may be underlying issues that make it worse. “Thyroid issues, anemia, stress, and hormonal imbalances can also lead to hair loss and require further evaluation and treatment,” says Dr. Roskin.

How long does postpartum hair loss last?

Most people see their hair regain their pre-pregnancy fullness by the time their child turns one year old, according to the American Academy of Dermatology Association. However, in many cases, this time frame is much shorter.

“I encourage my patients to be patient because this is a temporary phase,” says William D. Yates, MD, hair replacement surgeon and hair loss expert in Chicago. “This shedding state will usually go away within three months once it starts. Understanding that this transition with your hair will most likely happen can help you prepare mentally,” he says.

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Tips for Managing Postpartum Hair Loss

Although postpartum hair loss is an expected part of the postpartum period, it can still be devastating and difficult for those who suffer from it.

“During this time, treat your hair gently and use fortifying and conditioning products to help keep hair soft and bouncy to prevent breakage,” says Dr Yates, adding that changing your hairstyle to a shorter cut l It will also help to appear thicker during the shedding and subsequent regrowth phase.

It’s also important to watch your nutrition to make sure you’re getting enough vitamins and minerals to sustain you during this exciting and challenging change in your body and life, says Dr. Yates.

Although there is no specific medical treatment for postpartum hair loss, Dr. Roskin says a volumizing shampoo can be a great option, as can avoiding heavy conditioners. “Better to use products for fine hair because they will weigh the hair down less.”

Can postpartum hair loss be prevented?

Due to the natural hormonal changes the body goes through, postpartum hair loss cannot be totally avoided. “Hormonal changes are part of the normal changes in the body after childbirth and really can’t be avoided,” says Dr. Roskin. “But you can try to manage the other health aspects that can improve hair. For example, eating a balanced diet and continuing to take recommended vitamins can help keep your hair looking its best. Avoiding heat while styling or harsh chemical treatments can also help,” she adds.

When to consult a doctor

Although your hair will probably start to grow back before your baby’s first birthday, if you don’t notice any new hair growth after that time, it might be time to see a doctor. “If the hair loss is severe or not improving 12 to 15 months after birth, I recommend seeing your doctor for an evaluation,” says Dr. Roskin.

While postpartum hair loss isn’t anyone’s favorite thing, it’s worth remembering that it’s a temporary and typical part of the postpartum process – and for the vast majority of people, you’ll have all your hair back. no time.

(Note: Product details and prices are correct at time of publication and are subject to change.)

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