Objective: To determine whether there are effective treatments for postpartum alopecia.
Data sources: Clinical literature identified through MEDLINE (January 1966-May 2000), EMBASE (June 1980-March 2000), and International Pharmaceutical Abstracts (January 1970-March 2000). Key search terms included alopecia, puerperium, and postpartum.
Data synthesis: Postpartum alopecia is a diffuse shedding of scalp hair that can begin two to five months following parturition. Few articles examine the treatment of this condition. Treatments in the form of thyroid supplementation, topical progesterone and estradiol lotions, and an oral contraceptive have been studied. All available studies on this subject have significant limitations, such as small sample size, absence of a control group, or subjective measurement of treatment response. Nondrug therapy for a related type of hair loss has been recommended and includes education about hair cycles and reassurance to minimize anxiety.
Conclusions: From the available studies, no specific treatment has been studied well enough with sufficient treatment justify recommendation or to be termed effective.