Alopecia (continued)Previous Page
Postpartum Alopecia (& Telogen Effluvium):
Another common form of hair loss, postpartum alopecia is caused by hormonal changes during the course of a pregnancy. The changes cause an alteration in the growth pattern of the hair follicles. There is usually very little sign of these changes during the pregnancy itself, but rather a sudden and very excessive loss of hair from three to nine months after the birth of the child. While this is often very traumatic for the new mother suffering from the hair loss, the hair's growth cycle typically returns to normal within a year after the end of the pregnancy.
There is a form of alopecia related to postpartum alopecia called telogen effluvium [TELL-oh-jen eh-FLU-vee-um], which refers to a condition in which the growth cycles of the hair follicles have shifted in such a way that abnormal numbers of follicles move into the telogen (or resting) phase of the growth cycle. The diffuse hair loss caused by telogen effluvium results in the loss of as many as 400 hairs a day - around ten times the normal rate of hair loss. The resultant hair loss is often difficult to spot until about 25 percent of the hair has been lost. Telogen effluvium can be aggravated by stress.
Other Forms of Alopecia:
While androgenic alopecia, alopecia areata, and postpartum alopecia are the most common causes of hair loss, there are others. These conditions include:
• Endocrine conditions:
Hypo- and Hyperthyroidism
• Drug-induced conditions:
Vitamin A excess
• Iron deficiency
• Severe chronic illnesses
The conditions listed above tend to result in diffuse hair loss (an even loss of hair from all over the head) and are usually not identifiable as the cause of the hair loss. For this reason, any time you suspect that you are suffering from any abnormal hair loss, you should consult your physician for proper and thorough testing of possible causes and a clear diagnosis of the cause.
Through a wide range of medical testing - including blood-chemistry tests and skin biopsies - your physician can determine what is causing your condition and offer treatment options and prognoses based on the findings. You should never attempt to diagnose the cause of abnormal hair loss on your own unless you are a qualified medical professional. In some cases, abnormal hair loss can be symptomatic of conditions that can have serious repercussions if not treated. In other words, remember that your goal is to cure the problem, not simply treat the symptom.
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