The Relationship Between Stress and Hair Loss

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Hair loss is a serious issue that has many causes. Things like Male pattern baldness are leading causes, but stress is also a big reason men and women people lose hair. Stress can be caused by emotional reasons or anxiety. When losing hair due to high tension or anxiety, it results mostly in a bald spot.  

There is a delay in time between stress and hair loss. It takes about three months before you’ll notice the balding. But luckily the process can be reversed by working out what’s wrong and taking action. This and more will be discussed in the article.

First, let’s take a deeper look at how stress can cause hair loss.

How Does Stress Cause Hair Loss

When faced with difficult times your body has a very specific response. It’s called the ‘fight or flight response’. If you’re in a dangerous situation your body starts making extra hormones, like adrenaline and noradrenaline, to prepare itself to tackle the potential threat.

Although stressful situations aren’t always dangerous ones, your body treats them the same way. Which makes stress far more problematic than people think. The hormones that are produced have effects on the entire body. For your hair it will affect the growth patterns of  hair follicles on your head. It won’t kill the follicles but they will stop to produce hair for the duration of the difficult time.

There are three different types when it comes to stress-related hair loss.

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Three Types of Hair Loss Due To Stress

These three are most commonly found in people who suffer from stress-related loss of hair:

  • Telogen Effluvium

To explain it in a more common tongue: temporary hair loss. Mental or physical stress is assumed to be its primary cause. This type mostly affects women, although it can affect men too.

This is caused by the hormonal reaction of the body to stress. Less important functions are being ignored in favor of life saving ones. With telogen effluvium there is a noticeable delay in hair loss. It takes about three months before the effects can be seen and can take up to three months to clear out after the stressful period has passed.

  • Alopecia areata

This form of balding is less common. It results in bald patches anywhere on the head and happens very suddenly. The affected will typically lose big clumps of hair in patches around the scalp.

This form is thought to be an autoimmune disease where the body start to attack the hair follicles which eventually makes them stop growing hair.

  • Trichotillomania

Otherwise known as the irresistible urge to pull out hair for the scalp, eyebrows or any other area of the body. This is the most common cause of hair loss due to stress. A persons reaction to increased tension can lead to harmful behavior of which trichotillomania is one.

It’s linked to stress or anxiety and is actually treated as a mental health disorder. It’s even possible that the loss of hair can trigger this behavior.

How To Know If Hair Loss Is From Stress

Feelings of tension and anxiety can often creep up on a person. It’s not always noticed or acknowledged. When losing more hair than usual can be a sign of increased strain. To help determine if it’s from stress and not male pattern baldness, ask yourself these questions:

  • Is my life busier than usual?
  • Is there a lot going on at work?
  • Are there any personal problems at home?

When the answer to these question is ‘yes’, then stress can be a part of the reason why you’re losing hair.

Try to tackle the stressors in your life and your hair will return back to normal within a few months.

Addressing Your Stressors

Here are some tips to help you deal with tension:

  • Make sure to get plenty of sleep (preferably eight hours)
  • Drink enough water and have a healthy diet
  • Exercise regularly
  • Talk to someone about your problems
  • Try out meditation to calm the mind
  • Take the time off when you need it
  • Try to use devices like laser caps.

Stress-related hair loss is a real thing. And it can accompany or even worsen other ongoing hair loss issues. Usually both are related, in the way that hair loss baldness gives men more stress. Which in turn results in more hair loss.

If you still find yourself losing hair after trying to remove stress from your life, get some professional advice. A doctor or a nurse might be able to provide you with more tips to help you relax and can take further tests to help find a diagnosis.