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Don’t brush off your postpartum hair loss! Know how to deal with it

Most new mothers may come across the dilemma of hair fall post pregnancy. An expert shares some basic tips to deal with postpartum hair loss.
Know how to deal with postpartum hair loss
Know how to deal with postpartum hair loss. Image courtesy: Adobe Stock
Dr Anagha Samarth Published: 31 Jan 2023, 10:15 am IST
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Postpartum hair loss, a condition in which a woman experiences hair loss following pregnancy, is a common concern among new mothers. It can add to the anxiety of caring for a newborn and affect the mother’s mental health. If a woman experiences over 100 hair follicles falling out per day, it is classified as pathological and requires investigation. Sudden hormonal changes are often the cause of postpartum hair loss, and seeking medical help is recommended when hair loss is sudden and excessive. Come, let’s find out how to deal with postpartum hair loss.

Causes of postpartum hair loss

The hair cycle is divided into three phases: Anagen (growth), Catagen (falling), and Telogen (resting). Pregnancy causes hormonal changes that keep hair in the anagen phase, resulting in minimal shedding. However, in the first 3-6 months after childbirth, hair enters the catagen and telogen phases due to a sudden drop in hormones. This can lead to significant hair loss, which can be exacerbated by nutritional deficiencies and the type of delivery (such as blood loss from cesarean section or postpartum hemorrhage). Other potential causes include dandruff, hypothyroidism, and a history of hair loss before or during pregnancy.

The emotional impact impact of postpartum hair fall

The experience of losing a significant amount of hair can be overwhelming for new mothers, especially when it is accompanied by unsolicited advice and information from family and friends. This can further contribute to the deterioration of a new mother’s mental health, exacerbating the already high levels of stress that are common in the postpartum period. This can ultimately lead to a negative impact on the mother’s overall well-being. In cases where a new mother is experiencing postpartum depression, postpartum hair loss can be an additional factor of stress and hence, it needs to be addressed in order to support her overall well-being.

postpartum problems
A mother goes through multiple postpartum problems. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

Tips to deal with postpartum hair loss

In some instances, postpartum hair loss is a self-limiting condition that may resolve on its own over time. One common cause of postpartum hair loss is a condition called telogen effluvium, which occurs when hair follicles enter a dormant phase called the telogen phase. In these cases, new hair growth may not be visible for up to 9 months, provided the mother takes adequate care of her nutritional needs. However, due to the significant impact that postpartum hair loss can have on a new mother’s mental and emotional well-being, it is important to address the issue as soon as possible.

One of the first steps in addressing postpartum hair loss is to investigate the most likely causative factor, which is often a nutritional deficiency. This involves testing for specific fractions of iron and vitamin D3, which new mothers are particularly prone to deficiency of. In many cases, correcting these deficiencies can lead to a significant improvement in hair growth. However, if there is not much improvement, other options such as topical applications may be suggested.

hair fall problems
Don’t let postpartum hair fall affect your mental health. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

Here are some ways to deal with hair fall after pregnancy

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1. Reduce stress levels

It is important for all mothers who are experiencing postpartum hair fall to understand that there are many solutions available to address this issue. The connection between stress and hair loss has been well established, and it is believed that a spike in the cortisol hormone can have a detrimental effect on hair growth. In order to manage postpartum hair fall, it is essential for new mothers to make a conscious effort to reduce their stress levels as much as possible. This may seem like a daunting task, but it is the first step towards effectively managing postpartum hair fall. One way to reduce stress levels is by incorporating yoga, meditation, and 15 minutes of easy breathing exercises into your daily routine. It can make a significant difference in managing stress and promoting healthy hair growth.

2. Improve nutrition

In order to address postpartum hair fall, it is crucial to focus on improving the overall nutrition, particularly by increasing the intake of iron-rich foods and dairy products. This can be achieved by incorporating a variety of foods into the diet, such as green leafy vegetables, legumes, raisins, dates, jaggery, and organ meats. Pregnancy can take a toll on a mother’s general nutrition, so it is important for new mothers to replenish their nutrient stores. Alongside taking care of their physical health, new mothers should also prioritise their mental well-being and seek support from friends and family.

Also read: Don’t cry over fallen strands! Rather try these 5 foods that fight hair fall

3. Make the mother’s mental health a priority

It is important to place a strong emphasis on the mother’s mental health when addressing postpartum hair fall. The physical and emotional strain of giving birth and adjusting to life with a new baby can take a significant toll on a mother’s mental well-being. By prioritising the mother’s mental health, and reducing stress levels, a mother’s nutrition and overall health can be greatly improved.

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New mothers need to pay attention to mental health
New mothers need to pay attention to mental health. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

4. Don’t ignore the hair fall problem

It is unfortunate that postpartum hair fall, a common occurrence among new mothers, is often overlooked and not given the attention it deserves. When mothers bring up their concerns about postpartum hair fall to their family members, it is not uncommon for it to be dismissed as unimportant. Many mothers may feel compelled to suppress any feelings of anxiety or emotional distress they may have about it. By ignoring the problem, they may also overlook the underlying nutritional deficiencies that may be contributing to the hair fall. If left unaddressed, these deficiencies can progress over time and may have a larger impact on the mother’s health by the time of menopause, such as iron or serum ferritin deficiency.

Therefore, it is important to recognize the impact that this condition can have on a mother’s emotional and physical well-being, as well as the underlying nutritional causes that may contribute to it.

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About the Author

Dr Anagha Samarth is a Consultant - Dermatology at SPARSH Hospital. Her experience spans almost a decade. After finishing her M.B.B.S, she pursued her M.D in Dermatology, Venereology and Leprology. She is also trained in in hair transplantation, skin surgeries, vitiligo surgeries, mole excisions and scar revision surgeries. Her special interest lies in trichology, psoriasis, vitiligo, leprosy and aesthetic medicine. ...Read More

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