Vitamins for Post Partum Hair Loss

October 31, 2021

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Why does postpartum hair loss occur?

 

There are shockingly few studies specifically focused on postpartum hair loss.  We tend to place postpartum hair loss in the category of telogen effluvium.  It is thought to be triggered by major hormonal shifts resulting from pregnancy as well as the physical stress of childbirth. It typically starts 2-6 months postpartum and can last about a year. 




The amount of hair loss certainly can vary woman to woman.  Given how poorly it has been studied it is difficult to state with certainty how much it varies.  The population of patients I see with postpartum hair loss is a skewed population as these are people specifically seeking out care for concerns about hair loss.


The degree of hair loss varies widely from those that see some transient increase in shedding to those with significant loss of volume leading to a widened hair part of the ability to see the scalp easily.  This can be from varying experience of stress, health challenges during pregnancy, multiple additional stresses experienced at a personal level in addition to physical stress, etc.

What can be done?

The most important thing women can do to support a return to normal hair growth in a timely manner is to avoid compounding stresses.  Avoid other major life changes, avoid excessive therapeutic interventions to trigger hair growth, for example.  Knowledge is power when it comes to resuming normal hair cycles.  The stress of hair loss can always potentially lead to more hair loss.


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I am always shocked at the paucity of medical literature and studies focused on postpartum hair loss.  Much information we use to educate patients on this phenomenon is based on anecdotal data.


In terms of vitamins or supplements, it is first important to verify that there are no specific vitamin deficiencies that need to be addressed by your doctor.  If there are low iron levels, for example, then this must be supplemented.  it is not unreasonable to consider a multivitamin to start.  Beyond a multivitamin consideration to taking Nutrafol or Viviscal, supplements created specifically for hair loss, can help provide the nutrients needed to help promote hair growth or at least improve the quality of hair. 


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I personally do not recommend taking biotin unless you have a diagnosed biotin deficiency. There is so little research to really support the use of biotin for hair growth.  However, the FDA issued a warning  in 2017 on biotin’s ability to interfere with hundreds of laboratory tests.  This can result in false lab results when obtaining bloodwork.








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