How mums can stop hair loss

Central Otago Mirror - - SPORTING HIGHLIGHTS - I know it’s kind of nor­mal to ex­pe­ri­ence hair loss af­ter preg­nancy but I am los­ing masses of it and I’m start­ing to get con­cerned that I’m go­ing to go bald! Do you have any reme­dies for this? I wasn’t able to breast­feed so I can take any­thing. Ap­pre­ci­ate

Hi Stacey. You’re right it is com­mon for women to go through a pe­riod of hair loss af­ter preg­nancy. This is be­cause once we have given birth we ex­pe­ri­ence an enor­mous change in our sex hor­mone ra­tio. Amongst other things, our hair health is in­ti­mately re­lated to our lev­els of es­tro­gen, pro­ges­terone and testos­terone.

Preg­nancy is the time when a woman has the high­est level of cir­cu­lat­ing pro­ges­terone how­ever, once a woman has birthed the pla­centa, her pro­ges­terone level plunges from 400 units to vir­tu­ally zero. Add to this that ad­just­ing to life with a new baby can be stress­ful (as well as ex­cit­ing of course) and a woman’s body can fast be­come de­pleted.

To rem­edy this, it’s im­por­tant to pro­mote the restora­tion of pro­ges­terone lev­els. Given that the ma­jor­ity of pro­ges­terone is made from the ovary af­ter ovu­la­tion, and that af­ter child­birth, ovu­la­tion doesn’t typ­i­cally be­gin again im­me­di­ately, the only other source of pro­ges­terone is the adrenal glands. Yet, if the adrenals are re­lent­lessly churn­ing out stress hor­mones, they won’t make ad­e­quate amounts of pro­ges­terone.

To en­sure this be­gins to re­plen­ish, carve out some time to rest and nour­ish your­self. Do what you can to pri­ori­tise some time for you to sleep undis­rupted or take a yoga class (es­pe­cially a restora­tive class) or gen­tle walk on your own. Take a few breath­ing breaks through the day (while your baby is sleep­ing for ex­am­ple) to fo­cus on di­aphrag­matic breath­ing.

Noth­ing low­ers stress lev­els faster than di­aphrag­matic breath­ing.

Herbs such as licorice help the adrenals to be more adap­tive to stress and help re­store their func­tion. Paeo­nia helps fos­ter ef­fi­cient com­mu­ni­ca­tion between the pi­tu­itary and the ovaries to fos­ter reg­u­lar ovu­la­tion and en­hance pro­ges­terone pro­duc­tion. Also pro­mote ef­fi­cient liver detox­i­fi­ca­tion path­ways. Herbs that help in­clude St Mary’s this­tle, turmeric, dan­de­lion, gen­tian and globe ar­ti­choke. You can also eat dan­de­lion leaves by toss­ing them through a salad or add them to smooth­ies. Broc­coli is also a won­der­ful sup­port for the liver.

Eat real food. En­sure that what you eat is rich in plants, not only to make sure you’re get­ting the nu­tri­ents your body needs for great hair health, but also be­cause plant foods con­tain sub­stances unique to each plant that help liver detox­i­fi­ca­tion, im­mune func­tion and sub­stances that help to de­crease in­flam­ma­tion. Have your zinc and iron lev­els tested by your GP, as they are both needed

for healthy hair fol­li­cles. Food sources of zinc in­clude oys­ters, red meat and seeds. Food sources of iron in­clude red meat, eggs, green veges and dates. Iron de­fi­ciency is a par­tic­u­larly com­mon cause of hair loss in all women. Also, pro­mote good di­ges­tion, par­tic­u­larly the gut bac­te­ria. They can cre­ate or lower in­flam­ma­tion and every other body sys­tem re­lies on the op­ti­mal func­tion­ing of the gut. Make sure you chew your food re­ally well (re­mem­ber your oe­soph­a­gus doesn’t have teeth!) and hav­ing ei­ther a tea­spoon of ap­ple cider vine­gar or the juice of half a lemon in some wa­ter helps to pro­mote stom­ach acid pro­duc­tion and there­fore also sup­ports good di­ges­tion.

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