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Most people experience hair loss at some point in their lives. But what is the difference between normal hair shedding and severe hair loss? 

Many see hairs in their brush or shower drain daily. In fact, most of our average daily hair shed is within normal ranges; 50 – 150 hairs per day. If you see significantly more than 150 hairs in your hands, hairbrush, or shower drain throughout the day, consider consulting your doctor to find out if your hair loss is caused by illnesses, medications, thyroid conditions, or other serious causes of hair loss.

Daily shedding is temporary (unless caused by internal issues, such as stress, hormonal changes, or poor diet), and is part of the natural hair growth cycle. After the Anagen (growing) phase of the hair growth cycle is complete, the hair follicle enters the Catagen (transition) phase of the hair growth cycle, where the hair follicle shrinks and detaches from the dermal papilla (located in the uppermost layer of the dermis).

Hair may also thin as we age. In this case, you may want to add hair growth vitamins or hair growth supplements to your daily routine to help nourish thinning hair follicles and prevent further hair loss. Supplements such as Curls Blissful Lengths Liquid Hair Growth Vitamin, Mielle Organics Adult Healthy Hair Formula Vitamins, The Mane Choice Manetabolism Plus Vitamins, help promote healthy hair growth and reduce hair shedding in women.

Postpartum Shedding

Pregnancy is probably the most amazing and physically demanding experience the body can go through. Even when you think you’ve mentally prepared yourself, the inevitable can still take you by surprise.  Whether you have experienced postpartum shedding or not, nothing can truly prepare you for your hair falling out in clumps or seeing strands of your hair on your clothes or pillowcase in unprecedented numbers.

Postpartum shedding is a temporary form of alopecia called Telogen Effluvium. Postpartum shedding after giving birth is a natural process, and nothing will be able to stop it; it is completely normal and very common. After the baby is born, estrogen levels drop significantly, which means that the hairs in the Anagen phase (growing) get unlocked and transition into the Catagen phase (transition), followed by the Telogen phase (resting). Telogen Effluvium is triggered by a change in hormones that pushes more hair than usual into this part of the hair cycle. As a result, the number of hairs shedding will increase.

Once this happens you lose a large amount of hair. This usually occurs approximately 1-5 months postpartum. The amount lost will roughly equal the amount of hair gained, but any form of hair loss can seem alarming, especially following a growth spurt. For the majority of cases, postpartum hair loss is self-correcting, the hair will return to the Anagen phase and continue to grow as normal once the hormone levels (especially estrogen and progesterone) return to normal. The hair should go back to its usual growth cycle between 6-12 months.

It is crucial during this time to keep yourself stress-free as much as possible. Taking your prenatal vitamins and or supplements and having a balanced nutritious diet with a range of fruits and vegetables will ensure that you are replenishing lost minerals and vitamins. Make sure to get your vitamin levels checked; low zinc and iron are common after having a baby, and it can make the state of your hair worse. If you feel that you are experiencing significant hair loss while you are pregnant, this may be due to a vitamin or mineral deficiency. And if you think your hair isn't back to normal after about a year, consult with your doctor.