When Does Postpartum Hair Loss Start?
Hair is one of the most important and aesthetic elements of the human body. Everyone especially women pay a lot of attention to the growth, health, and beauty of their hair. The revenue of 84.4 Billion generated by the hair care market depicts the notion that people are highly cautious and sensitive about their hair and their well-being.
It is certainly an alarming and heart-wrenching feeling to see your hair shedding and falling in large amounts daily, that too when it happens after a potential hair growth during the pregnancy period. This is what postpartum hair loss is all about.
However, the silver lining in the cloud is that you are not the only one going through it or it is not the first time it is happening to anyone. In fact, postpartum hair loss is a natural change that happens to your body.
When Should I Expect Postpartum Hair Loss?
Unlike it sounds, Postpartum hair loss is not something that happens immediately after you give birth to your child. However, where all the other postpartum changes like vaginal discharge, stretch marks, breast enlargement, and discharge occur immediately, the hair loss takes some time to kick in.
It mostly takes four to five months before the signs of postpartum hair loss start appearing. You might start noticing it while taking a shower, washing your hair, or combing them. The clumps of fallen hair on the pillow and bathroom floor might startle you at the beginning, but it is not a permanent condition at all.
Increase hair fall
Tenderness and patchiness of scalp
Hair appears less voluminous
Reduced hair regrowth
Long hair appears comparatively shorter due to excessive breakage
Why Does Postpartum Hair Loss Occur?
The basic reason for postpartum hair loss is the hormonal changes after having given birth. The pregnancy and postpartum duration are no less than a roller coaster as far as the hormones are concerned. The hormones undergo significant and somewhat drastic changes during these phases. The estrogen hormone during pregnancy causes a greater proportion of your hair to keep growing and staying that way.
However, when you are finally done with your pregnancy period, the elevated estrogen hormone slowly balances itself. This is when its excessive growth effect on your hair is withdrawn. Hence, the hair that had grown and retained during pregnancy start to fall, resulting in what we call "postpartum hair loss".
However, dermatologists refrain from using this term. Instead of hair loss, they call it "excessive hair shedding" because it is a normal process of the postpartum body. A more technical term for it is "telegon effluvium”
Why does It Take Months for Postpartum Hair Loss to Appear?
It is quite upsetting when it comes to experiencing postpartum hair loss 4 to 5 months after the delivery. Although it might have started early, the 4th or 5th month is usually when the peak hair fall starts. Hence, it is when most women report having postpartum hair loss symptoms. Since you have coped with the majority of the other postpartum changes by that time, you must be wondering why it appears so late if it is destined to exist.
Well, the answer to this very question again lies in the hormonal physiology of your postpartum period. The main hormone responsible for hair growth boost; estrogen falls gradually to come back to the normal levels as were before the pregnancy period. Since hormones are the main regulators for all of our body systems, it takes them an adequate amount of time to balance and impose their effects on our bodies.
Once you give birth to the baby, the declined estrogen hormone levels cause your hair to enter the resting phase. Since the resting phase of the hair growth cycle is followed by the shedding phase, you find your hair falling at the peak levels at the 4th or 5th postpartum month.
This is the main reason why your postpartum hair loss symptoms start to appear months after you have delivered the baby. The peak is the time when maximum hair from your head tends to shed leaving you with significantly less hair than that during your pregnancy period.
Factors Affecting Postpartum Hair Loss
Postpartum hair loss is a natural physiological hair shedding process. Many women experience it but the amount of hair shedding can vary from person to person. You are more likely to experience comparatively significant or noticeable postpartum hair loss if you have one of these hair features.
You have very long and voluminous hair
Your hair nature is chemically treated
Your hair texture is extra weak and brittle
You experienced much more hair growth during pregnancy
There is a genetic tendency for more hair fall
Taking medications that are contributing to hair loss
Endocrine irregularities or other health conditions like PCOS
The more hair growth you had during pregnancy, the more it is likely to experience shedding in the postpartum period. However, it does not always hold the same since hormones are affected by several factors including physical, emotional, dietary, and environmental ones.
The Takeaway Message
Women tend to be happy and excited about their triggered hair growth during the pregnancy period. The hair appears much more voluminous, shiny, and heavy during that time. But having much of that volume lost during the postpartum time is difficult to cope with.
Although it starts early but usually takes 4 to 5 months for postpartum hair loss to reach its potential peak. This is the time when you are most likely to notice it. However, the positive thing about postpartum hair loss is that it is not a disease and will disappear once your hormones balance them completely.