High stress levels indeed may cause less hair on your head. A good indicator of this stress-induced hair loss is telogen effluvium.
This type of hair loss typically affects the scalp, not the whole body like alopecia areata (the most common form of hair loss), and it occurs when there is a shift in regular hair growth cycles.
A normal growth cycle lasts around three years; during this time, hairs grow up to one centimeter every 28 days before resting for two to four months. The hair then falls out at the end of the resting period (telogen phase) and new hairs start growing underneath it (anagen phase).
The switch between these phases can be disrupted by many factors including significant emotional stress, physical stress, or when the body’s normal hormone levels are off. Many women experience telogen effluvium after pregnancy due to this body-related stress.
When hair follicles are in the resting phase, it is very easy for them to start falling out due to slight manipulations like shampooing and brushing. This loss of hair is temporary and should not be cause for concern because new, healthy hair will return once the resting phase has passed.
Telogen effluvium refers specifically to an intense onset of hair shedding that results in noticeable thinning, which may last up to six months before the scalp returns to its regular growth cycle.
6 Tips On How To Manage Hair Loss From Stress
If your hair loss is caused by stress, consider taking these steps to manage the situation.
1) Stress management techniques like meditation and yoga can help you cope with feelings of anxiety and other emotions that might be triggering your hair loss. Exercise may also improve your mood; try brisk walking, jogging, or point-to-point swimming (in which you swim backstroke for 20 strokes or freestyle for 15 seconds).
2) A healthy diet is good for both your emotional health and your physical health—including your scalp! Try to eat fewer caffeinated drinks like coffee, tea, cola, energy drinks, and chocolate. Limit high sugar foods including candy bars, donuts, ice cream, sodas fruit juices, and smoothies/shakes when trying to manage stress and hair loss.
3) You should also limit fried foods, refined starches (including white bread, pasta, and rice) as well as high-fat meats like bacon, sausage, and ribs to reduce the chance of inflammation that can cause hair loss.
4) Non-starchy vegetables like carrots, potatoes (except sweet potatoes), green beans, broccoli, and cauliflower are good anti-inflammatory choices; so is fish like salmon and tuna.
5) The reason you want to avoid fatty foods is that they may lead to acne breakouts which could further aggravate your stress levels. So make sure you eat healthy to calm down both your body and mind.
6) If you think that your stress levels have taken a very serious turn then it might be time to consider counseling. Visit a therapist and share your feelings, they will help you develop coping skills and make stress management techniques more manageable for you.
What Is The Link Between Stress, Anxiety, And Telogen Effluvium?
Significant emotional stress may be linked to at least one type of hair loss: telogen effluvium. There is an association between stress levels and the number of hairs that fall out per day, but it’s uncertain as to whether or not there is a direct link between these two factors.
In rare cases, periods of major emotional stress also trigger the simultaneous onset of alopecia (baldness all over the scalp) or Alopecia Universalis (complete hair loss on the head and all over the body).
It’s not clear why stress causes hair loss in some cases, but it may be linked to high levels of cortisol in your blood. Cortisol is a hormone that helps control blood sugar and blood pressure and also plays an important role in controlling immune function and inflammation.
When we experience significant emotional stress, our bodies produce more cortisol than usual. This might lead to too many hairs losing their resting phase prematurely, resulting in increased shedding. In other words, cortisol could set off a domino effect that would cause telogen effluvium hair loss.
However, there are probably several reasons for increased hair shedding during times of stress: In some individuals, chronic stress seems to cause an increased number of hairs to enter the telogen (resting) phase prematurely.
When hair is in the telogen phase, it’s not growing—which means that these hairs are also not being nourished by blood flow and therefore they’re more likely to fall out.
It’s possible that during times of stress, our bodies shut down non-essential activities like hair growth so we can focus on responding to the stressful situation at hand. This hypothesis explains why most people with telogen effluvium have no family history of baldness since there doesn’t seem to be a genetic link between stress and hair loss.
Most individuals who experience significant emotional stress won’t develop noticeable thinning or bald spots due to telogen effluvium. However, if you’re experiencing what feels like excessive hair loss compared to usual, it’s best to consult your doctor just in case.
How Is It Diagnosed?
Telogen effluvium is usually diagnosed based on the history of the condition and physical examination by a dermatologist. There are no medical tests that can confirm or rule out this type of hair loss. Blood tests are sometimes performed to check for thyroid problems, iron deficiency anemia, or other medical conditions that may cause hair loss though not typically associated with telogen effluvium.
What Treatments Are Available For Telogen Effluvium?
If necessary, treatment options include medications that stimulate hair growth (like minoxidil or finasteride) and procedures like hair transplantation surgery. Stress management techniques may also help decrease cortisol levels.
In most cases, telogen effluvium is a temporary condition that resolves on its own after a few months with no permanent damage to the hair follicles in your scalp. However, if you continue to experience significant stress then the condition may persist for longer periods which could increase shedding and lead to noticeable thinning over time.
Again, this type of hair loss is usually not permanent but it can be very frustrating—especially when you’re trying to grow your hair out or maintain length! In any case, if you notice an increased amount of hair fall out when brushing or styling, plus noticeable thinning, it’s best to consult your dermatologist or doctor for diagnosis and treatment options.