March 08, 2021
Pregnancy is a phase of life that is full of rapid changes. A pregnant woman experiences a lot of emotional and physical changes. Some of these changes are inevitable while others are totally unexpected. Excessive hair fall during pregnancy is one of those unexpected changes. It is a general perception that women tend to have better and healthy hair during pregnancy. However this might not be the case for all the women. Research states that nearly 40 to 50% of women suffer from hair loss during pregnancy.
Hair loss during pregnancy may be due to various reasons. Most of the time this is not something to worry about and can be minimized using simple treatments. But if the hair fall is rapid and towards the extreme it is advisable to consult a dermatologist.
Hair growth and hair fall is associated with a number of myths. Some people believe that the growth of hair increases if trimmed regularly. While others are against it. Whatever your thoughts, one thing that is certain is how hair grows and falls and this is called the hair cycle.
There are three stages of hair growth from the beginning of active growth to the shedding of hair. These are named as the Anagen, Catagen and Telegen phase.
The Anagen Phase
This phase is a growth period of hair. Hair grows actively.There is rapid growth of cells in the roots of the hair. New hair strands grow and push the old ones out of the scalp. During this phase hair grows from 18-30 inches.
The Catagen Phase
This is the transitional phase. The hair growth becomes stagnant. The hair follicle detaches itself from the blood supply and is called the club hair. 3% of all hair is in this phase at any time. This phase lasts for approximately 2 to 3 weeks.
The Telogen Phase
This is the final stage of the hair cycle. It is called the resting phase of hair. The club hair rests at the scalp while new hair starts to grow under it.
Each hair follicle follows its individual hair cycle. So in a normal scenario you would not lose patches of hair simultaneously. There must be a root cause behind excessive and sudden hair fall that needs to be diagnosed properly.
Hair fall can begin during pregnancy and continue postpartum. This can be traced back to a number of reasons which may vary from person to person. Some of the most prominent reasons for hair fall during pregnancy are listed below:
The hormonal fluctuations might be one of the main reasons why hair falls out during pregnancy. There is a sudden increase in estrogen and progesterone hormones. These changes have an impact on the whole body. The first trimester can be stressful because of the hormonal shifts that are occurring in the body to support the growth of the baby. The hair fall due to stress is termed as telogen effluvium. This condition is rare and affects some women during pregnancy. Stress puts more hair in the resting phase. So instead of losing 100 hair a day one might experience a loss of 300. This excessive hair fall is noticeable. This condition generally lasts for six months.
Hypothyroidism is a common condition among women nowadays. The production of thyroid hormone in the body decreases, resulting in a number of effects. This hormone maintains the digestive system, mental health, the condition of nails and hair. A decline in the production of thyroid hormone during pregnancy might be a contributing factor to hair fall. Hypothyroidism affects approximately three percent of women during pregnancy.
There are some illnesses that can cause hair loss. Gestational diabetes and fungal infections can be the culprits behind excessive hair fall during pregnancy. There are some medications for illnesses such as depression and high blood pressure, which cause hair to fall. It is important to consult your doctor if you notice a tremendous increase in hair fall after the use of certain medication.
4.Termination of the use of birth control pills
The discontinuation in the use of birth control medication such as birth control pills can result in hormonal changes inside the body. Which in turn can result in hair fall during pregnancy.
5. Skin diseases of the scalp
There are a number of skin diseases that can result in thinning of the hair. These skin diseases can aggravate during pregnancy and cause excessive hair fall. Androgenic alopecia and alopecia are the skin diseases that cause hair fall.
6. Deficiency of Vitamin D
Vitamin D plays an important role in stimulating new and old hair follicles. When there isn't enough vitamin D in your system, the hair becomes weak. Vitamin D deficiency has been linked to alopecia, the autoimmune condition that causes bald patches on the scalp and other areas of the body.
7. Low iron levels
Low iron levels in the body may cause hair fall. Anemia in pregnancy is defined by the World Health Organization as hemoglobin levels of ≤ 11 g/dl. Globally, a prevalence rate of 38% was estimated by the World Health Organization for pregnant women.
Anemia causes a decrease in the number of red blood cells which are responsible for transporting oxygen to different tissues in the body. However the good news is that this condition is not permanent. The hair fall can be stopped effectively if the required iron levels are restored.
You may not be able to control hair fall completely during pregnancy but there are certain things that you can do to minimize it. You should:
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