Background: In pregnancy, increased numbers of hair follicles remain in the anagen phase for longer periods due to hormonal changes and return to the telogen phase within 3-6 months of delivery with a sudden drop in hormone levels. This results in excessive shedding of hair known as post-partum telogen effluvium.
Objective: To determine the changes in the hair cycle during gestation and the post-partum period.
Methods: We included 116 women in this study; 28 women at the 24th week of pregnancy, 30 pregnant women at term gestation, 29 women in the 4th post-partum month, and 29 in the first post-partum year. The number of breastfeeding mothers in the post-partum period and the month in which they were examined were also recorded. The ratios of anagen and telogen were measured using Trichoscan.
Results: A statistically significant difference was observed between the groups in terms of the anagen and telogen ratios (P = 0.042, P = 0.042). In the inter-group comparisons, the mean anagen rate in the 4th post-partum month was significantly lower than that in the 6th and 9th month of pregnancy (P = 0.045, P = 0.038), while the average telogen rate was significantly higher (P = 0.045, P = 0.038). The mean anagen rate in the 4th post-partum month in the breastfeeding group was significantly higher than that in the non- breastfeeding group (P = 0.014), while the mean telogen rate was significantly lower (P = 0.014). There was no statistically significant difference between the two groups (the breastfeeding and non-breastfeeding groups) in terms of the mean anagen and mean telogen ratios in the first post-partum year (P = 0.385).
Conclusion: The anagen rate increases during pregnancy and the telogen rate rises after delivery, however, there is no exaggeration in these changes in most women.
© 2013 The Authors Journal of the European Academy of Dermatology and Venereology published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd on behalf of the European Academy of Dermatology and Venereology.