After giving birth and celebrating the life of our newborns, we start to cope with raising the new family member. It is not an easy task until we notice something is beyond our control – loss of hair on the head which turns to be out of control. Some mothers will see the acceleration after the third month while others suffer after a year or so.
If the doctor told you that it was pregnancy related, well, he or she is right. It does not have to be horrifying but seeing some bald spots on your head is not something any woman can wish for. That is why we have prepared this guide to reflect on what causes loss of hair after baby delivery.
The information that you are going to encounter below will shed light on:
★ Postpartum hair loss: A brief description
★ How long does postpartum hair loss last?
★ Is your postpartum hair loss normal?
★ How a change in hormones affect your hair loss
★ Other causes of postpartum hair loss
★ Emotional stages associated with severe postpartum hair loss
★ Postpartum hair loss remedies
★ Some postpartum hair loss shampoos to try out
Table of Contents
- Postpartum Hair Loss: A Brief description
- How Long Does Postpartum Hair Loss Last?
- Is Your Postpartum Hair Loss Normal?
- How A Change in Hormones Affect Your Hair Loss
- Other Causes of Postpartum Hair Loss
- Emotional Stages Associated With Severe Postpartum Hair Loss
- Postpartum Hair Loss Remedies
- Some Postpartum Hair Loss Shampoos to Try Out
Postpartum Hair Loss: A Brief description
A woman who is not pregnant loses about 50-100 hairs per day. Is that too much hair? Well, it is not after you read this. A head full of hair will have an estimate of about 100,000 hairs on top. During pregnancy, it is hard to find any falling hair. The reason is that the hormones in your body are in abundance and they enable keeping of your hair intact.
So, when does postpartum hair loss start? After delivering your bundle of joy, the hormone level starts going down to standard lengths. As it occurs, that is when you note much hair on your brush or the bathroom floor when showering before you see the empty spaces formed by the fallen hair. Alopecia is the scientific name for hair loss.
How Long Does Postpartum Hair Loss Last?
While research shows that most moms will have a 4 month postpartum hair loss after delivery, the typical period is usually 3-6 months after giving birth. The severity of hair loss depends on an individual experiencing this form of hair loss. Regardless of whether it is too much or not, it is never a permanent problem to bother you. On the other hand, it may take up to a year for restoration of a head full of hair depending on the present hair length when the recovery starts.
If your loss of hair is hereditary, after this period, the head may never fully recover to the original hair population. So, if you got from your mother or father, and then postpartum hair loss comes along, the next option is to get a hair restoration specialist for some advice and techniques on making your hair to grow again as intended. Having a professional to monitor your hair progress is a recommendable idea so that you can track the increase or decrease of hair volume over time.
Is Your Postpartum Hair Loss Normal?
Yes, it is normal, and it should not be a cause for alarm. However, if your hairbrush still clogs with hair every day when preparing, call your dermatologist to rule out any other causes of hair loss before landing on the postpartum case.
When you are pregnant, there is a lot of estrogen and progesterone to support full and proper hair growth. After giving birth, the hormones reduce which brings in the hair loss effect. We will discuss this in detail in the next section.
Hair’s life cycle has three main stages:
- Anagen phase:It is a growing phase that lasts between 3-6 years.
- Catagen phase:Growth does not take place during this period which goes for ten days to around six weeks. Some part of the hair starts to detach.
- Telogen phase:During this period, the hair gets out of the follicle and falls off. After that, the follicle becomes dormant for the next 3-6 months before going back to the anagen phase.
If all hair is facing the same cycle at the same time, then it would fall off at the same period during the last phase – a reason as to why each hair goes through its cycle. During the gestation period, the hormones make the hair to stay in the first phase. The decline in hormones causes hair to go through the rest of the stages and fall out.
How A Change in Hormones Affect Your Hair Loss
Like we earlier said, hormones in your body are at the peak. One of the first ones to shoot is the hCG hormone, which is detected when testing for pregnancy. Apart from estrogen and progesterone, other hormones that also face the increase include oxytocin and prolactin. The blood is also 50% more than what your body holds by the time you are delivering.
Birth causes a quick drop in the hormones which could be at normal levels in the next 24 hours. However, prolactin stays for a more extended period as you breastfeed. The blood level also goes down, but the process is gradual to resume average a few weeks after giving birth.
The high levels of estrogen mainly prevent the usual hair loss rate. Since it is bound to fall a few strands per day, the rate decreases as your pregnancy progresses. The ability of hair to hold is also heightened by the increase in blood amounts and circulation so, it falls less than expected.
After baby delivery, the drop in everything we just talked about gives the hair a chance to make up for the lost time. It will fall in higher numbers, but that does not mean that the total loss is higher than what you experienced when pregnant. What you see is something that is happening abruptly and all at once.
Remember that it can happen any time after giving birth and may go on for a year before recovery starts. A major hair drop occurs during the 4th-month mark. So, you do not need to panic if the kid is a few months old and you still get clumps of hair on your brush.
Other Causes of Postpartum Hair Loss
Sometimes, the extreme occurs where hair falls out to leave empty spaces on your head. Let us look at some of the complications that can speed up the rate of loss when going through a postpartum phase.
One of the symptoms of thyroid disorder is a loss of hair (alopecia), and it will happen in both genders if the complication renders you sick. Among the various types of the disorder, most people contract either hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism. Either way, the disease in general causes hair to dry before thinning and becoming coarse.
For the female patients, eight out of a group of ten are affected, and to some of them, hair loss becomes inevitable. This is according to the American Association of clinical endocrinologists. What happens is that the thyroid fails to function which brings a profusion of side effects and one of them is loss of hair.
What happens is that the hair follicles slow down overall growth of hair or cease to function due to the body’s inability to metabolize food into energy. Hair seems to diffuse during early stages before it advances to affect the whole scalp.
How hair behaves when you have a thyroid disorder
Once postpartum hair loss combines with more loss due to your thyroid breakdown, this is what happens to the hair:
- First, the hair appears to break quickly and in a snarled form.
- It goes on to lose a smooth texture, thins out and becomes rough.
- It also takes a straw-like nature.
- There is a change in hair quality, and it cannot retain a perm or curl.
- The amount of hair loss depends on the individual.
- Hair falling is everywhere else apart from the head.
- It also dries up with evidence of the poor condition.
- Eyebrows are usually sparse.
- If you have hypothyroidism, there is more hair shedding.
Thyroid disorders that cause hair loss
- Hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism:We have already mentioned them above. The prior involves inadequate secretion of hormones which will result in hair thinning and loss on the eyebrows and scalp. The latter comes with overproduction of hormones in your body which makes the hair to be fragile and thin out before falling off.
- Thyroiditis:If you have a thyroid inflammation triggered by a viral or bacterial infection, the ‘swelling’ can cause the thyroid to malfunction which results in the symptom.
- Postpartum thyroiditis:According to statistics, one out of ten women contracts this condition after baby delivery. Postpartum thyroiditis hair loss comes a result of a change in the metabolism which women undergo during gestation and post-delivery period.
- Myxedema:This is the extreme condition of both hyper and hypothyroidism. Common signs to watch out for include loss of hair and baldness. An advancement on this condition may also include renal failure.
- Graves’ disease:This one is common in women too. It is caused by severe emotional distress which is not that harmful but will result in hair loss. What happens is that your immune fails to function and this prompts the thyroid gland to overproduce the hormones.
When you are pregnant, the baby takes most of the iron present in your body. Birth causes blood loss which is another cause of an iron-level drop not to mention the menstruation. For hair to grow optimally, iron level is expected to be about 50ng/mL, and high cases are suitable to count for the menstruation loss.
Low iron status in the body will lessen the support to make hair grow and be strong. The deficiency can, however, be solved by eating foods rich in iron in a bid to exclude it as another cause for your hair loss apart from the postpartum effect.
Emotional Stages Associated With Severe Postpartum Hair Loss
The postpartum phase comes with emotions caused by the pregnancy before, giving birth to a newborn and having to bear the responsibilities that come with raising a young human being.
With the sleepless nights ever since you will have a lot on your plate and loss of hair becomes unbearable. The good news is that most mothers go through this phase and if you read through this combined with seeking extra support, you will be fine.
Read the section below to see if either of the suggested emotional scenarios describe your experience with postpartum hair loss.
You feel confused
Unless you have already read the postpartum related books or you are a medical practitioner yourself, losing massive amounts of hair brings all the confusion. It gets worse if you treasure your hair (most of us women do) than if you do not. Seeing chunks of hair on your brush will blind you towards understanding the cause.
Of course, you will freak out due to the sudden change of events that are not on your side. You wonder how much you are going to lose, whether it will stop or not and what you can do to prevent further loss.
There are a lot of questions in your mind which you cannot figure out, and it becomes unimaginable every time you touch the head.
At some point, you might ignore what is happening above you. If no one is noticing the lessening hair population on your head, it feels okay to disregard the whole situation telling yourself that maybe it is not as bad as it seems.
You have to deal with the baby and all the responsibilities under your care, so there is no time to add the hair loss problem to your list.
You become desperate
You want to solve the hair loss epidemic by purchasing everything that says it will halt the problem. The process of hair regrowth is not an easy one regardless of what caused the loss in the first place. That does not deter you from going all the way in.
There are supplements, vitamins, hair masks and postpartum hair loss shampoos that will slowly creep into your daily routine.
Next is frustration
You begin to use what you spent on so that your hair can recover and regrow. There is some motivation associated with the initial trying, but after a few weeks, the expectation does not coincide with the results.
You will get frustrated since you are spending large chunks of money for the products and you are uncertain as to whether they will work or not. You could have used the resource to cater for the baby and maybe attend to more pressing issues other than your hair.
You result in sadness
You will be depressed by the whole hair loss situation and the steps you took to correct the situation heighten the frowning nature. What makes it worse is when you look at your friend’s head which is full of hair, and it puts you off.
Postpartum Hair Loss Remedies
Now that you know what postpartum hair loss entails, let us look at how to prevent postpartum hair loss and work towards full restoration. We will focus on two major subtopics which will include home remedies and some of the shampoos and supplements that you can utilize.
12 home postpartum hair loss treatment options to minimize the fall of hair
◎ Focus on your diet
First, you need to understand what you are going through by identifying the cause of your hair loss problem. Your doctor may have identified a deficiency in zinc and iron among other body essentials. In the course of working on what the doctor has prescribed, look for other natural sources that will help your body to regain especially the vitamins.
Foods rich in vitamin B complex and C are suitable for supplying postpartum hair loss vitamins. They include peas, legumes, oranges, green vegetables, sprouts, buttermilk, curd, yeast, nuts, whole grains, and soya. Having them or some on a daily basis will help the hair to recover gradually.
◎ Fenugreek seeds
They are small in nature but what they can do makes the size insignificant. Soak the seeds in water during the night. In the morning, apply the liquid after straining on your scalp and let it sit for the next 1-2 hours. The seeds’ extract restores your hair’s health and will also get rid of dandruff if present. You can also prepare a paste of the roasted seeds and apply it on the scalp or combine them with oil as you heat to lukewarm.
This form of treatment has been used for centuries when treating hair loss.
◎ Egg white
Blend egg white from one egg with two tablespoons of olive oil and make sure they mix thoroughly. Apply the mixture to your hair and let it sit there for 30 minutes. Follow by rinsing off with cold or lukewarm water.
It is a perfect restorative that will help you curb excessive fall of hair in addition to improving its overall quality. The curd is used as one of the best hair conditioners. What you need to do is apply some paste on your scalp and let it sit for 10 minutes before washing.
◎ Avoid too much styling and coloring tools
Heating tools on your hair will worsen the hair loss situation. Coloring your hair often will not make it better hence the need to do it rarely. Avoid blow drying your hair since it will weaken the roots further and limit the chances of a faster recovery. Also, do not comb your hair when wet and if you have to do so, then use a wide tooth comb to minimize the chances of pulling out more hair.
One more thing, hair sprays and gels are a no to those who are suffering from hair loss.
A massage on your scalp once in a while increases the amount of blood circulating in your head. A better soothing involves the use of some oil and then massage for the next 5-10 minutes. It will also help you calm down and ease the stress.
We will focus on some of the best shampoos for postpartum hair loss in the next section. For the sake of this tip, always chooses a shampoo product that has biotin in it. Biotin is known to promote hair growth.
If your hands land on this one, don’t let it go since it is another one that has been used for many years to nourish the hair. It is another restorative that you can add to your diet in juice form or you can combine with oil before boiling until they are black in color. Later, massage your hair using the oil.
There are various ways that you can use coconut oil to arrest your hair and keep it from continued falling off. One of them is using coconut milk on your scalp. The second one is burning the shell to ashes and saving the ash in a jar. Mix a little oil with some ash every day before applying to your scalp. Apart from regulating hair loss, the coconut will also make the hair to look darker and shiny.
◎ Medicated oils
We are talking about mixing something with massage oils. If you are still wondering what to go for, consider Amla or Arnica oils. They are medically approved, and they also contribute to restoring hair to its glory days. Another recommendable oil is Rosemary as it enables oxygen to reach the hair follicles and facilitate growth.
It is also known as Eclipta prostrata for the scientists or false daisy and also solves the hair loss equation. If you got access, pick some fresh leaves and dry them under shade. When dry, grind the leaves and take 2-3 grams together with milk or honey twice in a day. If you don’t have any access to some, just go to the stores and ask for powder or tablets of the same plant.
◎ Flax seeds plus dry fruits
Flax seeds contain omega-3 and fats worth adding to your diet. Consuming dry fruits and taking water once in a while will also lead to proper hair growth after giving birth. And here is a video about postpartum hair loss.
Some Postpartum Hair Loss Shampoos to Try Out
Using the right shampoo and conditioning your hair as needed does not only keep your hair healthy but it also freshens it up, and you will always look fabulous after the wash.
If one of your friends brings you some hair products during the baby shower, they know what they are doing if they were not victims of hair loss in the first place. Before selecting one of the products below, note your hair texture and then proceed to take one that will moisturize your scalp and thicken your hair as you work on everything else. All of these are available on Amazon among other so if your local store does not supply.
1. Avalon Organics Thickening Shampoo Biotin B complex Therapy
Your lifeless hair comes into contact with Avalon Organics hair cleanser and the promise of a revitalized scalp that is full of hair reveals. For the strict dieters, it is vegan made and also biodegradable. The composition constitutes of saw palmetto, biotin vitamin E, and protein from plant sources. Using this product leaves you free of harsh preservatives, fragrances, parabens and synthetic colors.
In a bid to restore your hair, it builds up the thinning hair, stimulates the scalp to receive nutrients necessary for hair growth, clean up the hair follicles and strengthen each strand of hair.
2. Garnier Fructis Long & Strong Strengthening Shampoo
Here is another one for the weak hair with split ends which makes the hair not to grow as intended. When using the Garnier Fructis shampoo, your hair has a chance of regaining the needed strength. By working from within, sturdy hair has an added shiny appearance.
It is also unisex so your husband can use it he has complications leading to hair loss or just wanting to keep the hair healthy.
3. Trichup Healthy Long & Strong Herbal Hair Shampoo
The manufacturers of Trichup shampoo were backed up by research to formulate a hair freshener that can nourish the scalp and moisturize it efficiently. With Aloe Vera and henna as the main ingredients, you are guaranteed of longer hair restoration, and many of the users have attested to that. The shampoo is organic – which is a recommendable option that is eco-friendly apart from making the hair longer and voluminous. If your man asks for it, give it to him since there is no problem with that.
4. Mane and Tail Deep Moisturizing Shampoo and Conditioner
The packaging is not what ladies might like, but we are interested in what the Mane and Tail can do to recover postpartum hair loss. The enriched formula has some in-depth hydrating botanicals that work to cleanse the scalp and condition the hair.
However, this one will not stop the hair from falling. Instead, it will let it drop and then work on the scalp to rejuvenate new hair. The vitamins help in fortifying the hair and make it look radiant.
5. Moroccan Oil Dry No More Professional Scalp Treatment
Your scalp needs proper care and maintenance to support the growth of beautiful hair. If there are any imbalances, you need a scalp treatment that will aid you in massaging the scalp to allow more blood flow. The Moroccan oil does that and so much more to even keep the scalp out of irritation. If you also have a dry scalp that leads to dry hair, using this scalp treatment will bring the oil back.
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