Dr Audrey Tan
Senior Consultant Dermatologist
What causes hair loss?
The most common form of hair loss after pregnancy is known as post-partum telogen effluvium. Knowledge of the normal hair growth cycle is essential in understanding this process. The normal human hair cycle involves 3 stages of growth, namely anagen (growing phase), catagen (transitional phase) and telogen (resting phase).
At any one time, approximately 80 % to 90% of scalp hair is in the anagen stage, whilst 5% to 15% is in the telogen stage. Anagen lasts about 3 years, whilst telogen lasts about 3 months. During telogen, the resting hair remains in the follicle until it is pushed out by growth of a new anagen hair. Thereafter the cycle starts over again.
Telogen hairs are shed throughout the day but often noticed when washing or combing the hair. A person may lose an average of 50 to 100 strands per day. In telogen effluvium, hair fall increases to 100 or more strands per day because of a shift of anagen hairs into telogen. Hair volume may be noticeably less dense and this can be very worrying.
The stress of childbirth causes a large number of hairs to enter telogen at one time. Postpartum telogen effluvium may be experienced by the majority of women after delivery. This increase in hair fall usually occurs between 2 and 6 months after delivery of the baby, and is itself a stressful experience for new mothers.
The good news is that telogen effluvium resolves spontaneously in most women but increased shedding may continue for up to 4 to 6 months before returning to the normal rate.
Other factors that may aggravate hair loss in postpartum women may need to be evaluated and corrected if possible. These include poor diet and nutrition, iron deficiency and thyroid hormone disorders.
Hair Loss Treatments in Singapore
Topical medications and oral supplements are available that may assist in promoting hair regrowth, but these are best discussed with your doctor or dermatologist, as certain medications may not be suitable for pregnant or nursing mothers.
Looking for a hair loss clinic? Thomson Specialist Skin Centre can help you find out more about the available hair loss treatments in Singapore that are safe to take during pregnancy and breastfeeding.