Many pregnancy symptoms are tough to deal with, and women can’t wait to get past them. However, there is one that they enjoy as it has huge aesthetic benefits. This is the symptom of thick and fast-growing hair. Unfortunately, it is one that doesn’t last for many women because of a post-delivery problem. Postpartum hair loss is very common once delivery has taken place, and it can be a very frustrating and saddening ordeal. Below is some useful information on this postpartum condition and what you can do to deal with it.
Postpartum Hair Loss Is Natural, So Avoid Panic
The first thing women with the condition can recount is feeling alarmed. This is understandable as it seems to come out of nowhere. Imagine running through your typical hair care routine and disaster strikes. Women usually savor those moments alone when they can effectively get some self-care in. There are not many more horrific feelings than seeing large clumps of tangled hair in the bristles of your hairbrush suddenly.
While it is hard to suppress the fright that comes with this discovery, you need to bear in mind that this is completely normal. One of the biggest issues in these situations is being underinformed. To avoid falling into that category, check out the information below on postpartum hair loss, its duration, and some remedies that can be effective in its treatment.
What Is the Cause of Hair Loss Postpartum?
All body hair goes through a growth cycle. This cycle can run anywhere from two years to seven years. The growth phase of a hair strand is known as anagen. Anagen determines how long hair becomes. After some time passes, the hair follicle goes into the catagen phase, which is a transitional one. The next phase is the resting phase, which is known as telogen. Finally, exogen (the shedding phase) occurs, and then the entire process restarts.
During pregnancy, there are usually changes to your hormone levels. These changes take place before, during, and after pregnancy. Hair growth can be affected by these hormonal shifts, which is a normal occurrence. Postpartum hair loss is simply one of the symptoms of a hormonal imbalance post-delivery.
Effluvium is the medical term assigned to postpartum hair loss. It is also sometimes called postpartum alopecia. About 40-50 percent of women experience it during the months after childbirth, so it is very common.
The hormonal changes in the female body are sudden. Estrogen and progesterone are particularly affected, which leads to hair loss.
Hormones and Hair Growth
Estrogen is the leading hormone that influences hair growth. This applies to pregnant, postpartum, and menopausal women.
During pregnancy, estrogen production increases, which means more hair follicles enter the growth phase than the resting phase of the growth cycle. The result of this for many women is thicker and fuller hair, as well as faster hair growth.
After childbirth, these estrogen levels decline to return to their normal levels. This prompts hair follicles to move to the resting phase, and it also causes fewer hairs to grow. After about 100 days have passed, the hair that was in the resting phase starts to shed.
Nutrition and stress also impact hormone levels, and they also affect hair growth. Thyroiditis, which is caused by thyroid gland inflammation, can also affect hair growth.
When Does Postpartum Hair Loss Start?
Women typically start experiencing this condition about two to four months following childbirth. The amount experienced differs for each woman, and it does not directly relate to hair quantity and quality during pregnancy. However, if you experienced tremendous hair growth during your pregnancy, or if you have longer hair, you may experience more extreme hair loss.
What is the Duration of Postpartum Hair Loss?
The most important thing to remember about this condition is that it is a temporary one. It is very common for the condition to continue for several months. Hair growth patterns usually begin to stabilize at the six-month postpartum mark; however, some women can experience the condition for up to a year postpartum.
If you believe your postpartum hair loss is extreme, or if your symptoms are present for more than a year, speak to your doctor.
How to Prevent Postpartum Hair Loss
This is one of the most common topics of discussion for women after childbirth. The good thing is the answers available apply to most women. The best way to prevent the condition from affecting you is to maintain a healthy lifestyle and a healthy body in the weeks and months after childbirth. Here are some of the best ways to do so:
- Get regular light or moderate exercise.
- Consume a diet that is rich in nutrients to support postpartum recovery and to support your changing body.
- If recommended by your doctor, take vitamin and mineral postpartum supplements.
How to Stop Postpartum Hair Loss
As this condition is related to hormonal changes that are normal, it is not one that you can readily stop. However, you can take steps to minimize its effects and contribute to healthy hair growth. Here are two of the major steps you can take to achieve this:
- Reduce stress – A reduction in stress levels helps to reduce the level of hormonal imbalances in the body. Try to practice various relaxation techniques such as breathing exercises, meditation, and mindfulness to help. You should also make time for gentle or moderate exercise in your routine. It is perfectly fine to ask for help from loved ones to care for your baby if you are overwhelmed.
- Change your hair care practices – You may realize that changing your hair care routine is a great way to reduce or prevent further hair loss. There are postpartum shampoos available that are silica and biotin fortified that can go a long way in helping your condition. A deep-moisture conditioner is also recommended. Wait for your hair to dry as wet hair is more fragile. You should also consider using the cooler settings on your hairdryer as excessive heat should be avoided.
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