Medical Q&As

Alopecia

I have 3 children, all by caesarean section. After a period of around 6 months after the birth, I developed alopecia. The situation righted itself eventually. This time, it is now 10 months after the birth and the patch is still increasing in size. Why is this happening to a more alarming degree than in the past?

I anticipate that your hair will grow back fully as it did before. Hairs go through a life cycle over a period of approximately five years. At any given time about 90% of the hair on your head is actively growing and 10% is inactive prior to being shed. During pregnancy this cycle is suspended with an increasing percentage of the hair going into the inactive phase. After the birth your whole physiology reverts to the non-pregnant state and the hair cycle kicks in again. Since an increasingly large amount of your hair has been in the inactive phase for nine months this hair is suddenly lost with a reversal to the previous pattern of 90% active and 10% inactive. You have simply shed the excess proportion of your hair in the inactive phase. This event typically occurs six months to a year after the birth.