Everything You Need To Know About Hair Loss During IVF Treatment
Losing one’s dear tresses post-pregnancy is not alien to any. The way hair loss shoots up after delivery becomes a nightmare for new mothers. The greatest relief however is that the health of hair gets restored in a few months. IVF is no different. Though fertilization occurs in-vitro, the processes following implantation are similar to that of natural pregnancy. So, are the reasons for hair loss the same in both cases? Let us talk in detail about hair loss during IVF treatment.
Reasons For Pregnancy Hair Loss
Your body undergoes a sea of changes during pregnancy, the most profound being the hormonal changes. There is a strong correlation between hormones and hair health. This makes the effect of pregnancy on hair loss evident.
Usually, most women enjoy luscious and dense hair during their pregnancy. It is because of an elevation in the levels of estrogen. Estrogen puts a lot of hair follicles in the resting stage. This prevents the hair from those follicles from falling out.
Post-delivery, when estrogen levels come back to the normal range, those follicles start wedding the hair. This makes the hair fall look profuse and might result in diffuse thinning, where the overall hair on your scalp looks scanty. This phenomenon is referred to as telogen effluvium.
After a few months, it is expected that your hair health will be restored. Therefore, it can be inferred that hair loss is not an exact consequence of pregnancy. It is the shedding of hair whose falling out had been due for a long time due to the effect of estrogen and stress in your body.
While hair loss is often significantly noticed after pregnancy, some women might experience that during pregnancy. That can be due to the effect of progesterone which leads to dryness and breaking of hair strands. It is clearly the interplay of hormones that is responsible for your pregnancy hair fall.
The IVF cycle proceeds through a number of steps:
Stimulation of the ovaries and egg retrieval: you will be administered Follicle Stimulating Hormone and Luteinizing hormone to facilitate the development of multiple eggs. After a week or a fortnight of FSH and LH treatment, HCG is given to help eggs mature. Then before ovulation, the eggs are retrieved with the help of transvaginal ultrasound. During the egg aspiration, you will most likely be administered a recommended dose of progesterone to prepare your uterine lining for implantation and the anticipated pregnancy.
In-vitro fertilization: Your eggs will then be mixed with the semen collected from your partner to let fertilization happen. If the semen quality shows a problem, then Intra Cytoplasmic Sperm Injection is performed. Here, a healthy sperm is injected into the ovum to ensure fertilization.
Embryo transfer: after successful fertilization, one or a few embryos are released into your uterus through a catheter and syringe. Inside the uterus, at least one embryo is expected to hatch out of the zona pellucida, the membrane it was enclosed in, and get implanted in the wall of the uterus.
IVF Hair Loss
Hair loss during IVF treatment might not happen for all women. Nevertheless, it is not wise to not acknowledge the possibility. Since IVF eventually leads to pregnancy, IVF hair loss can be attributed to the same reasons given for hair loss during pregnancy.
In addition, it has to be considered that IVF involves additional hormonal therapy. This causes the hormones to go haywire in the body and experience sudden fluctuations. Therefore, the effects it has on the natural hair cycle can be a little more severe in some cases as compared to natural pregnancy.
The stress of conceiving during the IVF treatment often has myriads of physical manifestations. The stress pushes a lot of hair follicles to the resting phase. The administration of estrogen also synergizes the effect. If pregnancy does not occur and the body gets rid of the stress and high levels of estrogen, profuse hair fall might occur leading to diffuse thinning. This again is a cause of telogen effluvium.
In case of a successful IVF, estrogen levels continue to remain high. Therefore, during the gestation period, it is unlikely to experience hair loss. You might, however, find clumps of hair falling out after delivery.
Hair loss during IVF treatment might not occur only because of the changing game of hormones. There might be certain underlying conditions, contributing to the same. Pregnant women are more susceptible to becoming anemic if proper doses of iron supplements are not taken. That often causes hair fall.
Other nutritional deficiencies also fail to support hair growth and cause your hair to shed. In some cases, you might be having a genetic condition that can result in hair fall which gets triggered due to hormonal fluctuations during the IVF treatment. Excessive stress during the IVF treatment might also trigger certain autoimmune conditions like alopecia which can lead to bald patches on your head.
While most of these conditions are reversible, almost all of them are manageable. However, it is important to observe the patterns of hair fall and consult your doctor in case it reaches a distressing extent. Finding out the root cause early on might help prepare your body well for pregnancy, rule out deficiencies and increase the effectiveness of the treatment.
If your doctor agrees that the hair loss during IVF treatment is just a result of the fluctuating hormonal levels, then rest assured. The problem will be resolved on its own. In case of severe hair loss, you might be prescribed minoxidil to alleviate the condition. However, your doctor will ask you to wait till delivery and most preferably till you complete your nursing period to start the treatment as is considered safest for the baby.
If your hair loss during IVF treatment is due to some deficiency, genetic disorder, or due to severe side effects of a fertility drug, then feel free to discuss with your doctor, possible treatment and alternative options.