Hair Loss - Hair Care Tips
Pregnancy and Hair Loss
At a time when a woman has seemingly
done the ‘hard yards' of pregnancy, the joy of motherhood can sometimes
she's at her most emotionally fragile. Pregnancy produces widespread
changes in a woman's physiology. Scalp hair is very sensitive to these
changes and the hair is affected to some degree in all women.
Normally 85% of hair in humans is in a
growing or ‘anagen' phase of 24-48 months. The remaining 15% is in a
random falling or ‘telogen' phase of 2-3 months. In late pregnancy
however, anagen may increase to 95% and telogen drop down to 5%;
indicating only one-third the normal number of hairs being shed. The
high oestrogen levels of pregnancy are believed to be responsible for
prolonging the anagen phase of the hair follicle cycle.
Following childbirth the telogen count
begins to rise, and by nine weeks postpartum (childbirth) 30-35% of
scalp hairs are in the telogen phase. Diffuse (all over) hair fall may
then be distressingly excessive for about three months, and may continue
for as long as a year. Typically though, the duration of shedding is
less than six months and the majority of women return to normal hair
density by 12 months postpartum. Throughout this time, diffuse hair fall
is usually the only symptom.
Postpartum hair loss can be prolonged
or exacerbated by stress, blood loss during delivery, and hormonal
factors such as prolactin secretion with breastfeeding.
In susceptible women genetic thinning
can sometimes be triggered after childbirth. Genetic thinning usually
presents as a slow thinning-out behind the front hairline through the
top of the scalp.
Young mothers who experience severe
postpartum hair loss need to be reassured that this is a temporary, self
correcting condition. New anagen hair growth is normally evident even
whilst hair is still falling. Postpartum hair fall only represents a
physiological return to normal growing percentages.
A certified trichologist is a
non-medical specialist of hair loss and scalp problems.