A woman may develop a diffuse alopecia following delivery.


Type of alopecia: telogen effluvium, with rapid shedding of telogen hairs that have accumulated during pregnancy


Onset: 2 to 5 months after delivery


Duration of increased shedding: usually 3 to 6 months


Clinical features:

(1) The woman develops a diffuse alopecia with hair thinning.

(2) It may cause anxiety, especially about appearance. It may worsen postpartum depression or a pre-existing anxiety disorder.

(3) The alopecia is usually reversible with time but regrowth may slow and not as thick as before.


It is important to exclude other causes of telogen effluvium (hypothyroidism, iron deficiency, oral contraceptives, excessive dieting, etc.) since management may involve correcting these items.


It is also important to exclude other conditions that may cause alopecia.


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