What is postpartum hair loss and some of the postpartum hair loss treatment available?
Postpartum hair loss or “postpartum alopecia” is a common but temporary condition where a woman will lose more hair than is normal after childbirth. Your hair will resume its normal growth between 6-12 months after childbirth. A recent survey found that up to 50% of women experience hair loss. 90 percent of women will have a form of postpartum hair loss.
What causes postpartum hair loss ?
During pregnancy, there is a spike in the levels of various hormones like estrogen, progesterone, oxytocin, and prolactin.
Hair has a growth phase termed anagen, and a resting phase, telagen. The oestrogen levels keep hair in their (growth) or anagen phase longer than usual as the hormones stimulate hair growth. So women may enjoy thicker hair. After the birth of the baby, however, the hormone levels quickly return to normal causing hair to switch from growth (anagen) to shedding (telogen) phase. Breastfeeding hormone, prolactic also cause hair loss. The problem is compounded by your now decreased blood volume and blood circulation too. Fluctuating hormone levels have an even greater effect on hair loss than deficiency in vitamins or nutrition.
For some women, this problem starts around 3 months after childbirth but it varies from 3-6 months or even 12 months after childbirth. Your hair should be back to normal by about 6 months but it could take until 12 months. There are wide variations between women. But if your hair loss persists after this period, consult a doctor as it may be due to underlying medical conditions such as iron deficiency or thyroid issues.
I will discuss some treatments, remedies and preventive measures for postpartum hair loss.
Although you cannot really stop postpartum hair loss there are certain dos and don’ts that you should remember to minimize this problem. Some of the things you should consider are diet, postpartum hair loss vitamins, hair loss shampoo, hair care and other remedy ideas.
Some postpartum hair loss treatments, tips and remedies
You can try eating as healthy as possible and include a variety of fruits, and vegetables in your diet to ensure that your body is getting all the nutrients it needs. A balanced diet rich in proteins, vitamins, minerals and omega-3 fatty acids is vital in preventing hair loss. Fruits and vegetables contain flavonoids and antioxidants which may provide protection for hair follicles and promote hair growth.
Foods that are rich in minerals and vitamin are greens like asparagus, carrots, cabbage and citrus fruits while good sources of proteins are eggs, dairy products, chicken and lean meat. Walnuts and fatty fish like salmon are high in omega-3 fatty acids. Finally dried fruits and whole grains are rich in iron. And don’t forget water as hydration is necessary for maintaining a healthy scalp and shiny hair.
- Postpartum Hair Loss Multivitamins
Take prenatal multivitamins daily even if you are not pregnant anymore unless your physician advises you against it. Many of the nutrients found in prenatal vitamins contain biotin, vitamins A , C and zinc that promote hair growth.
- Postpartum Hair Loss Shampoos
The Canadian Hair Loss Foundation recommends postpartum moms avoid heavy conditioners. Use shampoo and conditioner that add volume and contains ingredients like hair-coating protein. Heavy conditioners can weigh down your hair. Conditioners formulated for fine hair contain lighter formulas. Refrain from applying conditioners directly on your scalp. Use them on the ends of your hair. Try using several brands until you find the right one.
- Hair Styles
Try a new hair style that makes your hair look fuller. Avoid tight hair styles. Many new mothers prefer short hair that can be easier to manage and which save time. With a baby, anything that saves time can be a real boon. Getting a trim can rid your hair of dead ends. Long hair is more likely to lead to tangles which can cause even more hair loss. It may also pose a danger to your newborn in the form of a hair tourniquet.
A hair tourniquet forms when a strand of hair falls out and wraps around a baby’s toe, finger, or other body part. A single strand can wrap so tightly that it cuts off circulation or causes an infection. Though very rare it’s advisable to minimize this danger. Just remove any hair wrapped around your baby’s finger, toe or other body part. Seek medical help if you are unable to remove it.
- Moisturize Your Hair
Postpartum moms of all hair types have extra dry hair that leads to more breakage. After frequent washing, your hair needs to be sealed properly. Use a nice hair conditioner or hair oil to help stay smooth and moisturized.
- Don’t Wrap Your Hair With A Towel
As hair is more fragile when it is wet, don’t rub your hair vigorously with a towel. Gently dry your hair with a towel.
- Avoid Harmful Chemicals
If you wish to copy the hairstyles of your favorite pop stars bear in mind that those tresses have gone through chemical and heat processes that can damage your hair and scalp. Different chemicals are used to break down the structure of hair. Perming, bleaching and coloring of the hair involve the use of chemicals and hot flat irons.
- Scalp Massage
Hair loss can be minimized by frequent scalp massages that increase blood circulation and create healthy hair follicles.
- Try Essential Oil Hair Loss Treatment
Though they are messy you can try simple home remedies using essential oils like argan here, coconut and lavender and topically apply them on your scalp and hair ends. See which works for you.
- Avoid Stress
Stress is a factor in hair loss. You can manage stress in several ways. Yoga, meditation, exercise, and enough sleep help to reduce stress levels.
So if you experience postpartum hair loss do not panic as it is a temporary problem that you can minimize with some of the postpartum hair loss treatments I mentioned above.