‘Postpartum effluvium’ or ‘Telogen effluvium’ (to give its fancy title!) is basically what we ladies know as hair loss after child birth.
Most women will tend to notice that their hair loss is localised to the area around the front hair line - which can appear sparse and generally thinner in appearance.
Now before we go any further I think two very important points need to be made.......
1. This condition is almost always temporary
2. No you are NOT going to go bald!!!!
So what exactly is postpartum hair loss – and what causes it?
On average we can lose around 100 hairs per day (this shedding is perfectly normal) During pregnancy however higher than normal Oestrogen levels in the body keep hair in the ‘Anagen’ or ‘growing phase’ for longer – this in turn causes these hairs to not shed, producing the appearance of fuller, thicker
healthier looking head of hair.
As Oestrogen levels decrease after giving birth, the hair then moves into the ‘Telogen’ or ‘shedding’ phase. Usually only around 10% of hair will be in this phase at any one time, but due to hormonal rebalancing, an abnormal amount of hairs can enter this phase, thus causing an excessive amount of hair loss to occur, often around eight weeks after child birth.
How long will it last – what can I do about it?
As hormones return to their pre-pregnancy levels, the hair will usually begin to recover after a few months – but this recovery can also be dependent on a number of other factors:
Good Diet is an essential aspect of healthy hair growth, so it is vital that new
mums take care to eat a balanced diet. Foods rich in vitamin D, iron and
vitamin B12 are important for healthy hair, try incorporating foods such as beef
liver and seafood into meals – and for non-meat eaters - avocado, yogurt, nuts,
eggs, dates and fortified cereals are a great source of these important vitamins
Emotional ‘triggers’ such as stress and sleep deprivation (basically the not so great aspects of new motherhood!!) can also have an impact on your hair's recovery.
Although unfortunately there is no ‘wonder product’ that will miraculously prevent hair fall after child birth, using good quality products can really help.
Shampoos with no or low ‘sulphates’ will help improve condition – sulphates are basically the ingredients that create the foaming action in shampoo – but they can also be an irritant to the scalp and have a very drying effect on hair – Products containing Biotin are becoming increasingly popular – and also reducing the amount of heat used on the hair.
So just remember
It’s not permanent - your hair WILL recover!!!
Written by Trish Arnold
Qualified in Trichology - disorders and pathologies of the hair and scalp
With huge thanks to Trish taking the time out of her busy schedule to write for us and share her knowledge.