Notice your hair thinning lately, mum-to-be? Here’s what you need to know about hair fall during pregnancy.
Pregnancy is known to cause hair to thicken and shine. This may be true for certain women due to high estrogen levels, which decrease hair shedding.
However, some pregnant women suffer from hair thinning or loss during pregnancy or in the months following delivery.
If you belong to the latter, hair loss is frequent and can be caused by hormones, stress on the body, or pregnancy-related medical conditions.
In this article, we will discuss the different reasons why some women suffer from hair fall during pregnancy and what they can do about it.
Hair Fall During Pregnancy
On average, men and women shed 50 to 100 hairs every day. The natural cycle of hair follicle loss is slowed by rising estrogen levels during pregnancy. As a result, some pregnant women may lose less hair. This, however, is not always the case.
Here’s why you may have hair fall during pregnancy:
1. Hormonal Shift
As a result of the hormonal shift, some women have telogen effluvium (TE), also known as stress-induced hair loss.
TE works as follows: your body sheds 30% or more of your hair in response to shock, trauma, or stress. This could cause you to lose 100 to 300 strands of hair per day. Even at that rate, it may be some time before you see thinning hair.
When does hair stop falling out during pregnancy? Does TE usually subside after a few months?
2. It could be an underlying health problem
Growing a baby puts a lot of strain on your body. It raises your chances of developing various health problems, including:
- Diabetes during pregnancy
- Elevated blood pressure
- Pregnancy hyperemesis
- Hormonal imbalance
- A lack of vitamins
These medical disorders, depending on their severity, can lead to TE.
a. Thyroid problems
Thyroid issues, such as hyperthyroidism (too much thyroid hormone) or hypothyroidism (too little thyroid hormone), can be difficult to diagnose during pregnancy.
The more common of the two illnesses, hypothyroidism, affects 2 or 3 out of every 100 pregnant women. One of the symptoms is hair loss, which also includes muscle cramps, constipation, and weariness.
One in every 20 moms will suffer thyroid difficulties after the baby is born (postpartum thyroiditis). A blood test is nearly often used to diagnose thyroid issues.
b. Iron deficiency
Pregnancy increases the likelihood of developing iron-deficiency anaemia. Low iron levels suggest a paucity of red blood cells, which are responsible for efficiently transporting oxygen throughout the body. This causes hair thinning as well as a variety of other symptoms, including:
- irregular heartbeat
- breathing problems
- headaches that come back
Because anaemia is more than simply a pregnancy problem, you won’t be able to recover the volume and lustre of your hair unless you treat your iron levels.
If you are pregnant and suspect you have anaemia, see your doctor. A simple blood test can determine whether you require iron supplements.
When Does Hair Stop Falling Out During Pregnancy?
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Many women have hair fall during pregnancy, and even during the postpartum period. It normally resolves itself over a period of six months to a year.
Even if there is an underlying issue, a doctor can help you determine and treat the source, and hair loss is unlikely to be permanent. Consult your doctor if you suspect your hair loss is severe or is accompanied by other chronic issues.
Postpartum Hair Loss
Many women have hair loss within a few months of giving delivery, with a peak around four months after giving birth. This is not true hair loss, but “excessive hair shedding” caused by a drop in estrogen levels.
Telogen effluvium is a term used to describe this type of hair loss. While watching 300 or more hairs fall out every day can be unpleasant, it usually resolves on its own without the need for counselling.
TE is characterised by widespread hair thinning. A genetic or autoimmune disease may result in bald patches or clumps on one side or the top of your head. These disorders cause baldness or hair loss whether you have a baby or not.
Androgenetic alopecia, also known as female pattern baldness, shortens your hair’s growing phase while lengthening its shedding phase.
Alopecia areata is characterised by areas of hair loss on the head and torso. Some people experience a cycle of regrowth and hair loss, while others experience unpredictability. There is no cure for alopecia areata, however, numerous treatments can assist.
Other Causes of Hair Loss During Pregnancy
It is critical to note that telogen effluvium produces consistent hair thinning. If you notice patches or more severe baldness, other causes may be at play. Hereditary and autoimmune illnesses can also cause hair loss, whether or not you are pregnant.
Androgenic alopecia (female pattern baldness) is caused by a shorter hair follicle growth phase and a longer time between hair shedding and new growth.
Alopecia areata causes patchy hair loss on the scalp and other parts of the body. Hair loss and regeneration may be inconsistent or cyclical. Although there is no cure for this type of hair loss, various treatments may be effective in halting the loss and restoring hair.
Treatment for Hair Fall During Pregnancy
Hair loss during and after pregnancy may not require any special attention. It generally resolves on its own with time.
If hair growth does not return to pre-treatment levels, doctors may prescribe minoxidil (Rogaine), which is not considered safe for usage during pregnancy.
Working with your doctor to find medication or vitamin supplements that will restore your levels to normal in the case of conditions like hypothyroidism or iron deficiency anaemia should assist to kickstart the regrowth cycle over time.
Most treatments for other illnesses, including androgenic alopecia, are also not recommended during pregnancy. Instead of medications, your doctor may recommend low-level laser treatment (LLLT), which uses red light pulses to stimulate hair growth.
Preventing Hair Fall During Pregnancy
While pregnant, you may or may not be able to avoid hair loss or shedding. It all depends on the cause of your hair loss. However, here are some ways to lessen the possibility of hair fall during pregnancy:
- Eating a healthy, well-balanced diet. Focus on getting enough protein, iron, and other necessary nutrients. You should also talk to your doctor about whether an over-the-counter or prescription prenatal vitamin is right for you.
- Consult your doctor to see if any medications or supplements you are taking are causing your hair loss.
- Avoid tight braids, buns, and ponytails, as well as other hairstyles that may cause your hair to pull. While you’re at it, avoid twisting, tugging, or rubbing your hair.
- Wash the hair gently and use a wide-toothed comb to avoid pulling hair too hard during detangling.
- Allowing your hair to rest without using harsh treatments like hot rollers, curling irons, hot oil, or permanent treatments.
- Consult your physician. Physical examinations do not always indicate the cause of hair loss. While most cases of hair fall during pregnancy are temporary, some may require treatment for either vitamin supplements or hormone management.
If you’ve already lost hair, consider utilising volumising shampoos and conditioners. Heavy formulations might cause hair to become weighed down. When conditioning your hair, focus on the ends rather than the scalp for added lift. Read this for more shampoos recommended for pregnant women.
Certain haircut styles, such as a short bob, may also make your hair appear fuller as it comes back.
While most cases of hair fall during pregnancy is temporary, it’s best to consult your doctor for the safest and appropriate treatment for your condition at this time.
This article was written by Margaux Dolores and republished with permission from theAsianparent Philippines.
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