As new mothers very soon find, postpartum hair loss can involve losing a substantial degree of scalp hair. However, this condition usually resolves itself in the months after the child's birth, with hair growing back to its previous thickness in the majority of cases, causing no harm. However, in the case of baby Olivia Pooley of Colchester, Essex, the rare condition of a toe tourniquet developed after one of her mother's hairs became wrapped around her toe, necessitating an emergency dash to hospital for the hair's removal after it cut off the blood supply.
Hair tourniquets are most common in babies on account of women losing up to a third of their scalp hair in the period after the birth. The hair loss occurs due to the fact that when pregnant, a woman's body produces more of the female hormones oestrogren and progesterone. This change means that the hair cycle becomes longer, causing more hairs than usual to remain in place. Also, high oestrogen can cause more follicles than usual to enter the anagen, or growth stage, causing more hairs than usual to be produced.
This increase in hairs growing and the fact that they remain on the scalp for longer means that hair becomes thicker during pregnancy and fewer hairs are lost. Therefore, after the baby is born and hormones begin to return to their usual levels, this extra hair is shed. Women may find that their hair looks thinner overall, or even that their hair is falling out in clumps. It is therefore important to be aware of the possibility of a hair tourniquet wrapping itself around the fingers or toes of the baby and becoming knotted in place.
Hopefully, though, hair should return to normal after several months, even when postpartum hair loss has been fairly severe. However, sometimes hair can need a little help to grow back to its previous thickness, and it is also possible that the shedding has masked the onset of the genetic condition female pattern hair loss, which requires treatment to ensure that hair shedding is stabilised and hair grown back.
Thinning and patchy hair loss in women can be treated with the clinically proven medication minoxidil. Licensed by the MHRA and approved by the FDA, minoxidil is applied directly to the areas of hair loss, and can be varied in strength depending on the extent of the hair loss. For particularly difficult cases, a high strength minoxidil cream azelaic acid has been proven to be highly effective. The azelaic acid, one of three added ingredients that appear to block DHT, the androgen that causes pattern hair loss, can also help to ensure every angle is addressed when treating hair loss.
Medication is just one part of an effective hair loss treatment programme. Regular check-ups to chart progress via photographic records are important to ensure that your bespoke treatment plan is working efficiently, and additional hair growth boosters are important to ensure that hair is kept healthy and strong. Our nutritional supplement Hair Vitalics ensures that patients are receiving all they need for hair growth from their diet, and our shampoos and conditioners keep hair looking and feeling great.
The Belgravia Centre is a world-renowned group of a hair loss clinic in Central London, UK. If you are worried about hair loss you can arrange a free consultation with a hair loss expert or complete our Online Consultation from anywhere in the world for home-use treatment.
View our Hair Loss Success Stories, which includes the world's largest gallery of hair growth photos and demonstrates the level of success that so many of Belgravia's patients achieve.