Hair growth and hair shedding is a natural cycle, however, some events can interrupt the cycle and result in a temporary change in hair growth patterns. A lot of women will experience excessive hair loss after pregnancy but, in most cases, it shouldn’t be a cause for concern.
When a woman becomes pregnant her body begins to undergo some very significant hormonal changes. One of the changes is an increase in oestrogen and progesterone production.
“Higher levels of female hormones will make the hair growth cycle longer but the resting stage will be very short,” says Dr. Elena Dimitrova, a hair and scalp specialist at the Belgravia Centre.
High levels of oestrogen cause some hair follicles to shift into the anagen (growth) phase of the cycle so an above average number of follicles are producing hair during this time. The increased oestrogens will also inhibit some follicles that are in the catagen (intermediary) phase so less hair is lost during this time.
“This is why during pregnancy a women’s hair grows faster and is strong, thick and beautiful,” Dr. Dimitrova says.
After the birth however, hormone levels start to get back to normal again and so does the hair. Because so many hairs are at the same growing phase, they will also enter the resting phase simultaneously which means you’ll notice above average hair thinning.
“The dramatic hormonal changes after birth can result in telogen effluvium up to 25 percent of hair can be lost which is quite significant,” Dr. Dimitrova says. But don’t panic, she adds, because it is a reversible condition which gradually corrects itself. “The hair growth cycle should balance out and return to its right proportion within six months.”
Reversing hair loss following pregnancy
Natural products such as tonics and supplements can improve telogen effluvium but according to Dr. Dimitrova, it is not known for certain whether the supplements speed up the process or if the condition solely corrects itself.
In some cases the temporary hairloss experienced after pregnancy may not right itself without effective treatment.
“If the condition hasn’t improved within six months it could be worth considering high strength minoxidil which has a stimulating effect,” she says. “This can help to accelerate the hair growth cycle.” A number of different formulations are available from Belgravia’s in-clinic pharmacies and can be used in addition to various hair growth boosters.
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