Being a mom to a new little one is challenging enough, aside from having to worry about hair loss on top of it all! Although hair loss is a very common and expected event to occur a few months after childbirth, it can be very distressing. A common type of hair loss many mothers experience is called telogen effuvium, which entails hair “shedding” or falling out by the root. This is often noticed about 3 to 5 months after childbirth, but it can also occur due to other inciting events such as heavy blood loss, high fever, fad diets or those low in protein, thyroid disease, or other significant physical or emotional stress.
During pregnancy, the hairs are in a prolonged “growing” phase and do not fall out. This is why some people notice thicker hair during pregnancy. After childbirth, the hairs that normally would have shed are shifted into resting phase simultaneously, and in about 3 to 5 months after delivery, as new hairs grow in, the resting hairs fall out at the same time. This is why it can feel as though all of the scalp hair will eventually fall out. Rest assured, it won’t! Telogen effuvium is a type of hair loss that will resolve on its own. Most women find that the shedding stops about 4 to 6 months after the hair loss is noticed. Treatment for this type of hair loss is not required, but there are some options available to help minimize the appearance. Minimizing heat styling and the use of hair dye and coloring can be helpful to maintain the strength and integrity of the hair. It is also beneficial to wash hair more frequently (at least every other day). The hair that falls out when you wash it, is eventually going to fall out anyway. Washing one’s hair more frequently will help prevent a buildup of those hairs from falling out in larger, more alarming numbers, as seen with infrequent washing. There are also various topical products and oral supplements that can be used to either stimulate hair growth or provide support and strength to growing hair.
Telogen effuvium is one very common cause of hair loss in new mothers, however it is still important to seek evaluation by a dermatologist or healthcare provider to rule out any other potential causes of hair loss (such as iron deficiency or hormone imbalances) and to review treatment options that are suited to your concerns.
These tips were written by our very own Natalie Theriault FNP-BC. Starting in July you can call to schedule with her for laser and general dermatology appointments! To schedule, call us at 773.276.1100 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.