Causes Of Postpartum Hair Loss
After pregnancy, many women notice that their hair is thinning, or they may see shedding occur to a larger degree than they experienced prior to pregnancy. Although unsettling to see, postpartum hair loss is not unusual; it also does not typically last long. Postpartum hair loss usually begins to occur two to three months after the birth of the baby, and there are two main causes why this loss occurs - hormones and telogen effluvium.
When pregnant, many women notice changes in their hair. It often begins to grow thicker, resulting in a lush head of hair. This occurs because of an increase in the production of a hormone naturally found in the body, estrogen. Estrogen causes a change to the cycle of growth by increasing the duration of time that follicles are in the resting phase. The resting phase of hair growth, called the telegen phase, is the period when it isnít actually falling out and itís not growing.
Hair growth follows a cycle consisting of three phases. During the anagen phase, growth occurs in follicles. The anagen phase is followed by the catagen phase, which is a brief transitional stage for the follicle that prepares it for the resting phase. The resting phase, the telegen stage, follows the transitional period. During cycles of normal growth, approximately 15% of the follicles on your head are in the resting phase. The other follicles are in the process of growing hair or they are in the transitional phase. Because estrogen increases the duration of the telegon phase, more follicles than normal have hair that is resting and not falling out. This increase makes hair appear thicker, as there actually are a larger number of strands on the head than normal.
After pregnancy (postpartum), estrogen levels begin to return to normal, which ends the telegon phase for the large number of strands that have been resting. Within a month or two, these will fall out, and the growth cycle will resume. Because a larger number of hairs than normal are being shed within a relatively close period of time, this can cause noticeable thinning, and the excessive shedding is noticeable as well. Within several months, the follicles that shed hair will be growing new strands to replace those lost, and the appearance will look as it did prior to pregnancy. This hair growth recovery can be accelerated by balancing your diet with vitamins for hair loss for women such as Bioten or Prominox. These type supplements often include nutrients such as Biotin, B-Complex, Saw Palmetto, and Niacin - all considered excellent for restoring hair growth.
Telogen effluvium is the other main cause of postpartum hair loss. This condition occurs when the body is traumatized, such as the stress on the body during pregnancy. The shock causes some of the follicles to enter the resting phase when they would normally still be in the growing phase. This means that a larger number of hairs than normal are present on the head because they arenít falling out. The duration of the resting phase is not affected, however, only the number of follicles that are resting. This means that within a month or two, the telogen phase will end as normal, resulting in the loss of the hairs. The follicles will begin to produce again, but the loss of a large number at one time often results in noticeable hair loss. Within several months, the lost hairs will have been replaced, and it should appear as thick as it was prior to pregnancy.
Thickening and growth can be enhanced by shampooing with a hair loss shampoo for women that incorporates Trichogen and Minoxidil. Trichogen provides long-term growth benefits and Minoxidil is excellent (as a topical application) for regrowth of bald spots postpartum though you should consult your OB/GYN if you are breast-feeding.