Postpartum Hair Loss
My postpartum hair loss has started! I was actually looking forward to it. My hair is already thick; when it got thicker during my pregnancy, it was just too thick, especially since my hair is getting pretty long too. (I am thinking I’ll cut my hair at the beginning of summer.) I am now four months postpartum. Before, I’d collect a small number of hairs while I was washing my hair; now, I’m pulling out several each time I run my hands through my hair while washing it.
Technically, postpartum hair loss is called telogen effluvium. Telogen is the word for “resting” hair, as opposed to anagen, which is growing hair. An individual hair grows for about 3 years and then it rests for about 3 months before falling out. Estrogen, which is high in pregnancy, prolongs the growing phase, so less hair falls out. Falling levels of estrogen in the postpartum period puts a lot of hair into telogen phase, and then the telogen falls out. “Effluvium” is a condition resulting in hair loss - so that’s where “teolgen effluvium” comes from. The hair loss is just due to falling levels of estrogen and has nothing to do with breastfeeding - although one website says that breastfeeding may keep some of the hair from falling out until the baby starts solids or weans. (I wouldn’t say that’s been my personal experience, though.)
There can be a lot of variation in the hair loss, in terms of how much or when. When hair loss starts depends on how long your hair’s resting phase is (the time after it’s done growing and before it falls out). So on average, three months after birth is when the hair loss starts. Sometime by a year postpartum, your hair is back to normal. However, one woman who asked a question on an online forum I saw said heavy hair loss started at 10 months and was still happening at 17 months - she checked with her doctor who said it was still normal. If I remember correctly, after my second birth, I had noticeable hair loss that lasted two or three months.
This week happened to be a pretty warm week, so it’s a good time for my hair to get a littler thinner!
What's been your experience with postpartum hair loss?