Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Ask Ashley - Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow

Dear Ashley,

My baby is seven months old. Recently, I have noticed I am losing a lot of hair. A lot. I have heard of this hair loss phenomenon, but what can I do to stop it! At this rate I feel like I will be bald soon!



Dear Stephanie,

This is a situation we all go through postpartum. Yet another downside to being a woman!

Your hair loss, like most of the world's ailments--can be attributed to hormones. Hormones have the highest of highs and the lowest of lows!

Here's the deal--normal people lose about 100 hairs a day (this was confirmed through Dr. Oz, who is the Master of the Universe, I am convinced). Whether it's when you're washing it, combing it, running freely in the wind down the beach with your locks bouncing behind you... about 100 strands a day fall out. When you're pregnant, many women note how thick and lovely their hair has become--part of that whole pregnancy hormones induced beauty boost. It's not that anything has happened to your hair to make it better, per se, but you no longer lose as many hairs during pregnancy so it is a lot thicker.

Somewhere around 4-6 months post partum, your body gets the message that the hormones have abandoned ship and you start to shed like a dog. Ruff. And Rough.

Stop it? Well you can't. Like a bad rash, it's just something that has to run its course. Some people go through it quickly, but it sometimes lasts up to a year post partum.

Point in case--me. I am still losing a lot of hair and Lila is 13 months old. I am being patient about this predicament, mostly because I have bigger fish to fry at the moment. My friends and I like to stand around and compare bald spots, thin patches and short spikey pieces of regrowth. It's just another lovely change your body goes through during your metamorphosis into a mother.

Now, all post partum women have a period of hair loss, but if you get to the point where you're 12-15 months postpartum and still shedding worse than a Labrador in June, you might want to talk to your doctor. A simple blood test could tell you if there's a problem with your thyroid that is causing the hair loss. Thyroid problems are common, and in new moms they often go overlooked since the main symptoms are weight issues and feeling tired. Find me a new mom without those symptoms and there's a Dairy Queen Blizzard in it for ya.

And my last note of caution--if you have long hair (like me until about 6 weeks ago!) be careful of all of your shed strands of hair. Little ones are usually starting to crawl around this age and hairs can get tangled around their digits (sometimes fingers, but more likely toes) and cause real circulation issues. Especially if you wash everyone's laundry together, sometimes your hair can get in the feet of PJs. And take special caution with little boys! Penises are not immune to the hair wrap issues, so be wary of that as well. I am a very frequent vacuumer (critics might call it obsessive, but hey) and pretty much every day I'm having to free some strands of hair from Lila's toes.

Gotta question? Email steppedonalego[at]gmail dot com.

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