There are many reasons as to why a pregnancy may be terminated that are beyond the scope of this post, however when an abortion takes place, hair loss is a common side effect
Telogen effluvium is a scalp disorder that can cause the hair to thin but fortunately it is not a permanent condition. During pregnancy the body goes through many changes including hormonal and this can have an effect of the condition of the hair. It will interrupt the life cycle of the hair which is why pregnant women are often seen to have thicker and shinier hair whilst carrying a baby.
There are three stages in the life of each hair which it will go through around 20 times in a normal lifetime. The first phase is the anagen phase or growing stage when the hair will grow approximately 1 cm a month and may stay in this active stage for up to 7 years. Next is the catagen phase which the ends the active stage and lasts for around 2-3weeks during which the hair forms into a club hair. When this is fully formed it will go into the telogen phase, the final stage when the hair rests and can last for up to 3 months. As the club hair is finally dead it will fall out.
As the hormones have upset this cycle the hair often remains in the resting phase for longer than normal and is why the hair is thicker. Once the pregnancy is over and the body returns to normal so will the hair cycle. This is when there seems to be a greater hair loss and thinning – telogen effluvium. In actual fact the hair that is falling out is what has been ‘stored’ but it will seem as if the hair has become thinner. It can take up to 3 months for this to happen.
In order for the hair to be healthy it has to have the vitamins and minerals to produce healthy hair follicles. This can be done through a healthy diet but during pregnancy it may not be possible as women often find their diet is restricted due to sickness. A deficiency in iron or zinc can also cause hair loss and pregnant women often find they need an iron boost. Unfortunately if a pregnancy is terminated before term the body still goes through the same changes as if going to full term.
The skin and hair can be sensitive to all these changes as well as having to cope with the stress and anxiety. Relieving stress and anxiety is a good way to combat the condition but in these cases is not an easy option and it can take time to get over the loss. Whilst the hair is in this condition it could help to have a change of hairstyle that will not only cover thinning patches but if it is shortened will put less stress on the hair follicles.
The hair follicles are like tiny pouches all over the skin and it is not just the head where hair can become thin or fall out. Stress, illness, medications and surgery have been known to cause hair to be lost from all parts of the body and this can happen after pregnancy termination as it is a devastating time. However, for Telogen effluvium it is not the worst case scenario, hair does grow back although it can take a few months.
As stress and anxiety is overcome hair will begin to strengthen, the body is not having to fight so hard and therefore the nutrients the skin needs to provide healthy hair follicles will reach the cells. Help is available to help overcome such feelings but the best course of action is a good healthy diet with plenty of vitamins and minerals and plenty of exercise. A hair consultant can also put the mind at rest by discussing the effects this has had on the body and mind and so the hair. With time the hair will come back to normal and if a more healthy diet is being followed then it could come back healthier and able to cope with life’s ups and downs.