Ask an Expert: Postnatal hair loss

My partner and I recently had a baby and as much as I enjoy my time with him it can also be quite stressful with not getting much sleep or having enough money. A month ago while running my hands through my hair I felt a disconcerting bald patch just behind my ear. On further inspection I found three more they were all around the size of a fifty cent piece. A few weeks later I noticed another patch.  I recently noticed that the hair has started to grow back in the patches. I understand that stress was probably the main cause of the hair loss however aside from reducing stress are there any natural options that would help my hair?

Thanks for your help,

Clare.


Hi Clare,

Congratulations on the arrival of your little one. What an exciting time for you! This is definitely both a joyous and stressful time, so make sure you’re looking after yourself and getting as much rest as possible – I understand this can be hard.

There are three things that usually cause hair loss – stress, hormonal changes and nutrient deficiencies – unfortunately all three of these could occur after having a baby!  The fact the hair is growing back tells me it was probably a one off event or imbalance that caused it, but if it continues you will need to support yourself in these 3 areas unless you can identify the 1 area that is causing it.  You haven’t mentioned if you are breast feeding or not, if you are I would not recommend taking any of the herbal supplements suggested for stress or hormone balance until your baby is weened.

First and foremost you need to make sure you are eating a good source of protein with most of your meals as well as lots of healthy fruits and vegetables.  On top of this, I recommend investing in a good quality multi to cover your minimum vitamin and mineral requirements, this doesn’t mean that you might not need extra minerals / vitamins especially zinc but it gives you a baseline level to start with.   If you struggle to eat protein, consider taking a good quality protein powder as protein is vital for hair production.  As you have mentioned that you are experiencing stress perhaps a herb to support you such as Rhodiola.  This will help with your energy and stamina as well.  If you are breast feeding a Bach Flower remedy would be safe and this can be made for you at most health shops.  As to hormonal support, if you feel your hormones need some help to come back into balance you could take a herb called Chaste Tree (Vitex) to support this, Chaste Tree can also be helpful to help reduce your milk supply when you are trying to ween as it is helping to balance your hormones therefore reducing milk production.  Look out for these individual herbs in liquid phyto-caps for enhanced delivery and absorption without the yucky taste!  Finally and as the icing on the cake – to support things at the actual hair level, I recommend a product that contains both Collagen (type 1 and 3) and Cynatine HNS Keratin.  Cynatine HNS Keratin has been clinically proven to reduce hair loss from washing or brushing, improve hair strength and improve the brightness and lustre of the hair.  Research also suggests that collagen stimulates fibroblasts at the hair root resulting in increased diameter of the hair shaft for stronger, healthier hair.

Because hair loss can actually be quite complicated with many potential causes, if these suggestions do not improve your situation please make an appointment to see a qualified Naturopath who can conduct the necessary tests and assessments to identify what is causing this issue for you, especially if you are breastfeeding as you do not want to risk self prescribing!

All the best,

Michèle is a Naturopath, Medical Herbalist and works as a Technical Advisor for NaturalMeds.


Please note that the information provided above is only to educate, not to diagnose or treat any medical condition.  Please seek advice from your own healthcare provider before embarking on any treatment/health program.