Does breastfeeding cause hair loss?
When talking about pregnancy and everything that comes with it, people talk about mood swings, stretch marks, nausea, and so forth. But not a lot of people talk about one particular thing that comes after giving birth: postpartum hair loss.
One theAsianparent Community user, alarmed at the rate she was losing hair after giving birth, turned to the community for help. The community’s response was one of reassurance and understanding: postpartum hair loss is totally normal.
What is postpartum hair loss?
A few months after having a baby, many new women notice considerable hair loss. This is quite natural, and it isn’t actual hair loss. Excessive hair shedding is the term dermatologists use to describe this condition. Falling estrogen levels cause increased shedding.
The good news is that this excessive shedding is only temporary, and there is little you can do about it. By the first birthday of their kid, most women’s hair has returned to its original fullness. Many women restore normal fullness even before they reach menopause.
If your hair has not returned to its original fullness after a year, you should consult a dermatologist. It’s possible that something else is causing your hair to fall out. Hair loss can be caused by a variety of factors, and an accurate diagnosis is necessary for efficient therapy.
Falling hair after giving birth – what causes it?
Hormonal changes cause postpartum hair loss
When does postpartum hair loss begin?
“This is just a phase as your hormones try to regulate back to pre-pregnancy,” Aki K. wrote. “It will be over soon.”
Medical experts agree with Aki: our estrogen levels decline after giving birth, causing hair loss. “This usually starts the third or fourth postpartum and ends by six months,” Dr Joanne Stone said.
“This temporary hair loss doesn’t mean you’re deficient in nutrition or vitamins,” says Dr Stone. “It’s simply hormonal.”
Your hormone levels restore to pre-pregnancy levels after you deliver your kid. The decrease in estrogen causes your hair to return to its normal growth, rest, and fall out cycle.
A substantial amount of your hair will immediately enter the resting phase. The hairs have completed their resting period and are beginning to come out some months later.
Postpartum hair loss is obvious since it exceeds the normal daily hair loss of 100 hairs. Telogen effluvium, or excessive shedding, is the technical term for this form of hair loss.
Hormone variations in postpartum women cause more strands of hair to reach the resting stage than typical, only to fall out a few weeks later. You might notice that you’re losing up to 300 hairs per day.
Stress can cause hair loss
While your estrogen dropping can be the first reason for postpartum hair loss, it can also be related to the stress you’re in after giving birth.
According to the Mayo Clinic, significant stress pushes large numbers of hair follicles into a resting phase. Within a few months, affected hairs might fall out suddenly when simply combing or washing your hair.
Does breastfeeding cause hair loss?
No, breastfeeding does not cause postpartum hair loss. It is just a coincidence that the period where the mum is breastfeeding the most is the time that her estrogen levels drop after pregnancy. So thinning hair has absolutely nothing to do with breastfeeding.
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How to limit postpartum hair loss
If you’re worried about how your thinning hair looks, try doing these things to deal with this temporary hair loss:
1. Make your hair look fuller with volumizing products and texture
Hair thickeners or mousse can make your hair look fuller, so you can see if these work for you. Now is also a good time to embrace your curls, if your hair’s naturally curly or wavy. If you have straight hair, try adding texture with rollers or curling iron.
It’s a case of trial and error when it comes to finding the best shampoo and conditioner for thin hair. There isn’t a single component that distinguishes one volumizing shampoo or conditioner for fine hair from another.
Here’s what dermatologists recommend using and avoiding:
- Use a volumizing shampoo. These shampoos tend to contain ingredients like protein that coat the hair, making the hair appear fuller.
- Avoid any shampoo labeled “conditioning shampoo.” These contain heavy conditioners that can weigh down the hair and make it look limp.
- Use a conditioner formulated for fine hair. These contain lighter formulas that will not weigh down hair.
- Use conditioner primarily on the ends of your hair. Applying conditioner to your scalp and all of your hair tends to weigh down hair.
- Avoid conditioners labeled “intensive conditioners.” These are too heavy.
2. Get a haircut
Postpartum hair loss is more noticeable if you have longer hair. “You can have a hair cut or style your hair so that the bald spots won’t be too obvious,” wrote Ester E. on theAsianparent Community.
3. Dye your hair
Dark-haired moms can lighten their locks to camouflage their receding hairline. (There hasn’t been a lot of research done on the effects of using hair dye while breastfeeding, but according to NHS, it’s “very unlikely” that the chemicals in hair dye will enter your bloodstream and your breast milk.)
4. Part your hair another way
Changing the way you part your hair is an effective way to hide postpartum hair loss.
Try wearing scarves, headbands, hats, and so forth. This is a quick and easy way to hide thinning hair, and you’ve got tons of options at your disposal.
6. Don’t tug at your hair
Be gentle with your hair and scalp. Avoid vigorous brushing, wearing tight hairstyles (tight mum buns or ponytails), or using rollers. These can pull more at the hair and damage the hair follicles.
7. Have a healthy, balanced diet
Having a nutritious, balanced diet with plenty of fruit and vegetables can help protect hair health and encourage growth. Make sure you eat foods that are rich in biotin, vitamin C, vitamin D and zinc which are said to fight hair loss.
Postpartum hair fall is not permanent
Hair loss increases after having a baby, however, this does not mean you will lose your hair permanently. Over time, your hair should return to its normal growth patterns. By the time your child is a year old, you can expect your hair to be as full at the roots as it usually is. The new hairs that grow will, however, be shorter than the existing hairs on your head.
You should consult your doctor if your hair continues to thin or does not appear to be growing back. Another health problem, such as anaemia or a thyroid problem, could be causing hair loss.
This article was written by Christina Morales and republished with permission from theAsianparent Philippines.
Updates from Margaux Dolores
Here at theAsianparent Singapore, it’s important for us to give information that is correct, significant, and timely. But this doesn’t serve as an alternative for medical advice or medical treatment. theAsianparent Singapore is not responsible for those that would choose to drink medicines based on information from our website. If you have any doubts, we recommend consulting your doctor for clearer information.