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The Hair Loss Freak Out!

Trust me, I know what it is like seeing handfuls of hair falling out and the weird hard-to-tame “baby hair” regrowth around your hairline. Our hair as women is the crown on our head, it can symbolize our identity. It is shocking when our brushes are full and our drains are clogged. We have an emotional attachment to our hair so when it starts falling out in larger amounts we naturally have a bit of a freakout. What is going on?! There are two times in a woman’s life when hair loss is most common, post-pregnancy and post-menopause. These are two times in our lives with big shifts in our hormones but there are other factors that can play into hair loss, so let’s dive into why this happens and what we can do to prevent the freak-out.


The cosmetic issues with hair loss are normally what causes the high level of worry, it can also be a sign or a symptom that something biologically is going on with your body that needs to be addressed. Even outside of Post-partum and Post-menopause. Our body speaks to us in symptoms. We can be experiencing a natural shift in hormones, nutritional deficiency, stress, something we are being exposed to in our environment or it can be related to a medical condition, and please note that I am not a medical doctor, so please always consider speaking with your healthcare professional if you are experiencing extreme symptoms.


What is postpartum hair loss?


During pregnancy, you likely experienced a full head of hair that was thick and shiny. This is due to how pregnancy hormones affect your hair cycle then coupled with your pregnancy nutrition and taking prenatal vitamins, you shed little to no hair during. Every hair we grow goes through 3 phases: a growth phase, a resting phase and a falling out phase. During pregnancy our hair stalls at that resting phase so after birth your hair follicles start to relax and around 3-5 months your hair starts to fall out by the handful because all your hair is now moved into that falling out phase.

Approximately 24-72 hours after a woman gives birth there is a significant decrease of estrogen in her body. This promotes the hairs in the growing phase to enter the resting phase. Hairs typically stay in this resting phase for about three months. Then they begin to fall out and a new hair cycle begins.

Postpartum hair loss is so common and typically only lasts a few months up to one year, yet we all have a hard time understanding this because even though it is normal it is certainly not optimal! However, I will emphasize this! If you are experiencing this hair loss far past the one year postpartum period or have other symptoms that are common to your thyroid then please explore having your thyroid functions tested. Postpartum hypothyroidism needs to be treated.


Not postpartum and still have hair loss symptoms?


There are other factors that can play a role in the loss of our hair. Nutrition and lifestyle are going to be key players here too. I don’t know anyone who is the optimally healthy, zero symptoms, perfectly happy healthy gut, hormones flowing like a sweet symphony.. It just doesn’t happen, too many variables with our lives. So when we see this symptom of hair loss, we know something is up!


What else contributes to hair loss?


Low Iron Levels

anemia can be another reason for your hair loss.Consuming iron-rich foods will help to keep your levels up and replenished. And consuming all the necessary co-factors to iron like vitamin C. However, I do not recommend ever supplementing with iron, iron supplements are most often isolated forms of laboratory made iron, they are not bio-available to the body, they can cause constipation, iron overload and deplete you of other vital nutrients.


Hormones

During our lives our hormones fluctuate based on the needs of our bodies at this time…. Puberty, ferilty, menopause, post-menopause… our estrogens go up, they fall, our progesterones go up, they fall…. Sometimes we have dysfunctions when the hormones don’t go back to being balanced.. Well, this, as you can guess it, can cause hair loss as well. Elevated levels of estrogen holds hair in a growth phase and when that drops our hair drops with it.


Low stomach acid can be causing your hair loss?!

So many of us have low stomach acid from eating a Standard American Diet, taking antibiotics, drinking sodas, over-consuming sugars and so many more reasons. When our stomach acid is too low our bodies can no longer properly break down our foods that are so rich in vital nutrients like iron and zinc. This means you are not absorbing all the nutrients you think you are consuming. Supplementing with iron can be difficult, it can be very constipating, and is not very bio-available. Drinking nettle tea is a great option and I would recommend focusing on iron-rich foods and taking a supplement like a betaine HCL to re-introduce stomach acid production. The best source of iron-rich foods is liver by far and if you have read many of my other articles or listened to my interviews you know how much I love liver! Red meat, game meat, oysters, sardines, beets and dark meat poultry are also very reliable sources.


Stress!

Can cause temporary hair loss. I know it is definitely easier said than done to avoid stress especially. You are not sleeping, you are not eating as often, your hormones feel like they are all over the place and you haven’t exercised in weeks! But if you could carve out 5 minutes of your day to be able to meditate, or close your eyes and do some deep breathing. It will do you a world of good. Lifestyle changes can sometimes be that one thing that is holding us back. Learning how to eliminate the stressors we can while managing the ones we cannot.


Thyroid problems…...

The thyroid hormone can also have an effect on hair loss. Either too much or too little hormone can result in side effects that affect hair. If you have not had thyroid problems before, you can develop symptoms after you give birth. You can even have symptoms that you don’t even connect to the thyroid that are in fact your thyroid. Checking in with yourself, listen to your body speaking to you through symptoms, if you feel like your thyroid is over or under-performing then please look into getting a full thyroid panel done with your healthcare provider and stand your ground or work with a holistic or functional practitioner that is going to listen to you. BECAUSE thyroid issues are the most MISDIAGNOSED in women’s health. And hairloss and dry skin are at times the first two symptoms we see.

Toxic hair products

It is time to toss those toxic hair products out! They are drying out and killing your hair while also damaging your hormones. You’d be surprised by the ingredients allowed in our beauty products. There is very little regulation, in fact, it has been almost 90 years since the last major law was passed on permissible ingredients! You want to avoid ingredients like sulfates, mineral oil, parabens, alcohol, fragrances, and formaldehyde… you read that right, formaldehyde! I freak out just thinking how many times my shampoo has run into my moth while in the shower… how much formaldehyde have I consumed? Consider a shower water filter and switching your products.. Hairstory no poo shampoo will forever be my biggest life saver product!


How to keep your locks lovely

We know that a lot of our hair loss is inevitable but there are some things we can do to help it not get so out of control that it brings on more stress.

Consuming a diet rich in nutrient-dense whole foods while controlling your blood sugar is key here. Spiking your insulin with your foods will stress your body and too much insulin can over time increase your testosterone levels which causes facial hair and male pattern baldness….. No, thank you!


Pass on those processed foods, pasta, and bread and instead consume your carbohydrates in the form of vegetables like potato, sweet potato, and yucca or cassava. Limit your sugars by reducing refined sugars and eating some delicious fruits, honey and maple syrup as your sweets. It is amazing how sweet a strawberry can truly taste once your taste buds have healed from sugar damage. Lean meats like chicken, turkey and fish are great for balancing hormones and satiating you throughout the day.

Ladies, did you know your breakfast should be consumed within 30 - 60 minutes after waking? And all of your meals and snacks should have a protein, fat and carb?

It’s really that easy!



Hopefully, your health journey is without funny ponytails and empty shower drains.


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