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Hair Shedding After Giving Birth is Extremely Common

Hair loss affects both genders without discrimination; however, hair loss in any woman can understandably be very traumatic. Three months ago, my wife and I had our second child.  Significant hair shedding after giving birth is extremely common.   It is called telogen effluvium and it very much is a real occurrence.

All hair has a growth phase termed anagen and a resting phase, telogen. The growth phase lasts from two to six years, while telogen  lasts roughly between one to six months, with an average of three months. It is during telogen that the resting hair remains in the follicle until it is pushed out by the growth of a new anagen hair, which is the shedding we see in telogen effluvium after chidlbirth.

DSC_0508Acute telogen effluvium can occur in either sex but women have a higher tendency to experience this condition. Situations that can cause this type of shedding may include, but are not limited to, an acute illness with fever, surgery, general anesthesia, traumatic accident, abrupt weight loss, medications and childbirth.

Shedding can occur throughout the body, but it most often is noticed on the scalp. Significant shedding during this time can be noticed when shampooing, combing, or even when gently manipulating the hair. Understand, however, it is important to continue these hair care measures and not to stop cleansing the scalp and hair!

Generally, after three to six months pass, the shedding will spontaneously decrease and stop. If, however, people also have androgenetic alopecia (male or female pattern hair loss), they often will have less hair in general than they had before the incident occurred. A scalp biopsy can be useful to determine the diagnosis, but rarely is necessary in the case of telogen effluvium.

Topical Rogaine Foam (5% minoxidil) used twice per day every day on the scalp as well as use of the Capillus272 Laser Device often will promote recovery of hair in telogen effluvium, particularly in women. These therapies work well and are typically well tolerated and encouraged for patients to pursue to treat their hair loss.

Telogen effluvium is a real condition and it usually is self limited without any treatment—just the tincture of time.  It can be very difficult to endure, however, know that Dr. Leonard and I are available to evaluate your situation.

Dr. Matthew Lopresti

Hair Transplant Surgeon