Post-partum Hair Loss - Woman's Way Magazine
You are surviving on little to no sleep, your boobs are leaking and there is a very strong possibility if you sneeze you will pee. And now your hair is falling out.
Having a baby brings so much joy to your life but there are some, less glamourous side effects, that we rarely talk about. Post-partum hair loss is one – and unfortunately it doesn’t stop when your little bundle turns six-months-old. In fact, in some cases post-partum hair loss can last up to two years… I should know.
During both my pregnancies, thanks to the extra hormones that were present, my hair was in the best condition. It was long. It was thick. It was shiny. It was glorious. Then after I had my babies it all started falling out.
The first time around, it was very unsettling, I felt like I was losing all my hair. I dreaded washing it, as it would come out in clumps. A stiff breeze would have caused strands to depart from my head. I soon learned this was all very normal and I breathed a sigh of relief. My hair loss the first-time round was very ‘textbook’ – intense, but short lived. After a few weeks it stopped and slowly I noticed some baby hair starting to grow. By the time my eldest was 18 months it was pretty much back to normal, not exactly my pregnancy mane, but manageable.
With my second I was prepared. When it started falling out, once again around the fourth month post-partum mark, I wasn’t quite as shook up. When it continued past six months, I started to get a bit concerned. I took more care of what hair I had left and clipped it out of the way of my little boy who was fond of pulling it when he could get the chance. I had it cut in a style to hide the diner patches and I used only sulphate free shampoos and conditioners. The hair loss lessened. But unlike the first time round it didn’t stop and in fact every few months it would be quite intense for a few days.
When my son turned 16 months I was back at work, juggling life as a working mammy. Sitting in a meeting one day I happened to run my fingers through my hair and felt the tell-tale smooth parts of my scalp. The hair loss had resulted in noticeable bald parts, no soft downy new hair coming through.
Telogen effluvium is the most common culprit when it comes to post-partum hair loss, and this type of increased hair shredding is rarely permanent and in most cases it resolves itself within the first year. There are exceptions though and it seemed I was one.
And so I made an appointment with my GP. My family has a history of alopecia, so naturally I had concerns. Thankfully once he examined me he was able to discredit this as being the cause. He did explain that in some instances post-partum hair loss can last up to two years but it tends to be the result of dietary deficiencies and a simple blood test disclosed that in my case I actually had too much iron in my system. The excess iron had meant my post-partum hair loss had really outstayed its welcome. Thankfully, once spotted, this is very straight forward to manage.
There are many other reasons women can experience hair loss, hormonal chances, alopecia, stress, cancer treatment and other medicines to name a few, although hair loss doesn’t happen fast, our strands grow in cycles, which means it can take up to three months for hair to fall out after a trigger has caused it. So, I am not the first woman to go through this and yet it is still very much a taboo topic. I felt tan undeniable sense of shame and loss of self-confidence when the bald patched were visible. It could be vanity on my part I agree but it is impossible to avoid the barrage of images of beautiful hair (and products that claim to help you get it) plastered across magazines, social media and television.
I wanted to find a way to encourage my hair to grow back as quickly as possible. There are many brands out there that claim to improve your hair but very few actually stimulate hair grow.
In my search for a solution I discovered Bridgeen King; a leading hair loss specialist based in co Down. I had a consultation with her (which she offers free of charge to anyone experiencing hair loss for whatever reason) during which she used scalp photography and hair stress tests to work on the best treatment option for me.
I have been following the treatment plan for seven weeks and there is a noticeable difference in my hair – the amount of new hair growth is really noticeable and the older hair I already had, is much thicker and healthier looking. I left the salon feeling so much better because of the help she offered but also the reassurance on how common female hair loss is – and that I am not alone, and it is nothing to be embarrassed about.
Research shows that at least one in three women will suffer from hair loss or reduced hair volume at some point in their lifetime. If you notice excessive daily hair shredding for longer than three months, see a hair loss specialist or your GP, there could be an underlying factor that needs to be tackled. Once you get to the root (pardon the pun) of the problem you can then look at ways in which you can restore your hair to its former glory. As for me, I am definitely on my way.