It’s Been Over A Year Since I’ve Given Birth To My Child, And My Hair Is Still Shedding

It’s not uncommon for women to go through a bout of telogen effluvium hair loss after giving birth. This can happen for a couple of reasons. First, when you give birth, your hormones fluctuate wildly and hormonal changes are one common cause for this type of hair loss, (which is why many women experience it when going off or on birth control pills.)

Second, any time your body goes through a great deal of stress, you can also get telogen effluvium (which is why you sometimes see it after a medical procedure or surgery.) When you give birth, you have both of these factors at play all at once. If there’s any good news, it’s often that your doctor or your research will usually reassure you that this should all be over in as little as three months. When you’re shedding huge amounts of hair every day, three months can sound like a very long time. But, believe it or not, three months is a very short amount of time to many of us. Because some women do shed for much longer than that.

I myself shed for well over a year after I gave birth. And I did a lot of research as to why this might have happened. Eventually, the hair loss tapered off and then stopped. But not before a whole lot of time went by and I lost a good deal of volume. I saw all sorts of specialists and read everything I could get my hands on and I never did get a definitive diagnosis. But I have my own theories, which I’ll outline now. I’m certainly not a doctor or specialist, but here are what I think are some possibilities.

Some Women Are Just Extremely Hormonally Vulnerable: If you’ve done any research on this or have been on hair loss forums, then you know that some women will shed hair at any small change to their health or their routine. This is the case with me. I’ve found over time that if I so much as added a vitamin supplement to my routine, it would make me shed more. Giving birth dramatically changes your hormones and if you add breast feeding to this mix, it can take longer than a few months to resolve, especially if you are hyper sensitive to any changes, as I am.

Telogen Effluvium Hair Loss Can Give Rise To Future Hair Loss Conditions: When you have prolonged hair loss as is the case with chronic telogen effluvium (shedding that lasts for over six months,) your hair goes through several cycles of growing and shedding. In other words, your hair might go through years of cycling in only a couple of months because your body continues to shed the hair which it knows isn’t necessary for survival. In a sense, this speeds things up and sort of ages your hair. In my own case, I probably have the hair that I might have had years down the road simply because my hair shed and grew and shed and grew at such an accelerated pace.

What this means is that if I was going to get androgenetic alopecia five years down the road, I might just get it earlier now. So what you might have is telogen effluvium leading it’s way to androgenetic alopecia or another hair loss condition that would have happened in the future. You might already know if this is a possibility for you through your family history. If your parents have hair loss or thinning, then this is more of a possibility, although some people who androgen driven hair loss have no family history. Neither means that you can’t seek treatment. And, early intervention can have good results.

The Pregnancy Came Before Another Trigger: It’s possible that the hair loss you’re seeing now isn’t related to the pregnancy but came later. Could there be another trigger or medical issue that you know have? I know several people who found that their pregnancy gave rise to autoimmune or endocrine issues, both of which can cause hair loss. If you haven’t already had a basic medical work up done, then this is probably a good idea so that you can rule out other triggers.
By Edward