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Ask the Medical Expert Archives 2000-2004

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Pregnancy and Hair Loss
October 2003

Q. Is hair loss common in pregnancy? Does it only happen to some women? What are the causes for this?

A. The causes of hair loss can be difficult to diagnose. Hair loss in women is often a result of hormonal changes, and pregnancy can be a factor.

Normally, about 90% of hair follicles are growing and 10% are in a "rest" phase. When the growth phase and rest phase are in balance, hair thickness seems to stay constant. After delivering a baby, more follicles enter the rest phase, and hair loss can develop. This usually resolves spontaneously within a few months, but can be frustrating for those affected.

Thyroid conditions, medication, genetic factors, and other medical conditions should be considered as well. See your doctor for an exam to help determine the diagnosis. Specific treatment depends on the causes found.




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