Cause And Treatment Options For Women Who Experience Hair Loss After Pregnancy.
We lose hair everyday however, for some new moms, it starts coming out in clumps or thins out dramatically after baby is born. How long it lasts and treatment options may vary from person to person.
What is telogen effluvium?
Hair loss occurring after pregnancy is known as “telogen effluvium” or TE. Telogen refers to the shedding of hair, which can happen after someone has given birth, had a severe infection, gone through major surgery or experience major stress.
According to the American Hair Loss Association, telogen effluvium begins 3 weeks to 6 months after baby is born. Some women may notice they lose handfuls of hair at a time during this stage.
TE differs from female pattern hair loss, which can be treated with laser therapy, hair transplants and medicines and is genetically based. “However, if a women has female pattern hair loss, gives birth, and experiences telogen effluvium, once this hair grows back, very often the overall density of her hair is less than it was prior to pregnancy, says Dr. Robert Leonard, FAACS, founder and chief surgeon of the Leonard Hair Transplant Associates.
Possible causes of hair loss after pregnancy
Leonard cites several reasons women may experience postpartum hair loss:
- Hormones: Throughout pregnancy women experience significant fluctuations in their hormone levels, a contributing factor says Leonard to hair loss.
- Physical Stress: “There is significant physical stress a women goes through during the entire birthing process.”
- Exhaustion:“This is a 3rd possible cause, and often takes place with bringing a newborn into a woman’s life.”
When will hair grow back?
Most experts agree that TE will correct itself over time as new hair grows in, and should look back to normal within 6-12 months. However there are some things you can do to help keep your hair healthy including:
- Handle your hair gently and avoid harsh or over brushing.
- Maintain a healthy diet including fruits and vegetables.
- Focus on activities that help you relax and de-stress.
- Add protein rich foods to your diet.
- Drink plenty of water and stay hydrated.
- Taking in enough omega-3 fatty acids can promote a healthy scalp and result in better hair growth.
- Avoid too much heat on your hair including blow dyers and hot irons. Consider using these products a few times a week and letting your hair air dry as often as possible.
- Vitamins A, B, and C have all been linked to healthy hair. Be sure to consult your doctor if you are considering taking a vitamin supplement.
The American Hair Loss Association states that telogen effluvium often resolves itself, but does note that for some women TE is chronic lasting for months or years without “any true understanding or any triggering factors or stressors.”
Leonard says because this is a “physiologic hair loss” it is important for a hair restoration surgeon to be involved throughout the process. “I ask my patients to follow up with me every 8 weeks or so,” says Leonard.
More tips for new moms:
- Postpartum hair loss: Real moms weigh in
- How to save money on a post-baby wardrobe
- Best hairstyles for expecting and new moms
- American Pregnancy Association