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Check For Dietary Deficiencies
The No. 1 most common cause of hair thinning is a dietary deficiency of some kind. If your diet is lacking in:
- B vitamins
- Folic acid
You can see the impact on your scalp and strands. Try keeping a food journey to track your nutrient consumption throughout the day, and make sure your hair is getting the nutritional support it needs!
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You Lost A Lot Of Weight Very Quickly
Sudden weight loss is a form of physical trauma that can result in thinning hair. This could happen even if the weight loss is ultimately good for you. It’s possible that the weight loss itself put unnecessary stress your body, or that not eating right can resulted in vitamin or mineral deficiencies. Loss of hair along with noticeable weight loss may also be a sign of an eating disorder such as anorexia or bulimia.
This type of hair loss, too, will correct itself once after a while. “Sudden weight loss seems to shock the system and you’ll have a six-month period of hair loss and then it corrects itself,” says Dr. Hammonds.
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Reasons For Hair Thinning
Your genes.These play a key role in male- or female-pattern baldness, which is a common part of aging. If youâre a woman, your hair may get thinner overall, but the condition isnât likely to make your hairline recede or bring on baldness. If youâre a man, your hair may thin near the top of your head, and youâre more likely to have a retreating hairline and balding.
Stress. Certain stressful events can make your hair look thinâsometimes a couple months after the stressful situation. Itâs a condition called telogen effluvium, and your hair usually grows back on its own. Triggers for stress-induced hair loss can include:
Initial Signs Hair Loss
The early signs of male pattern baldness are as follows:
Noticeable change in your hairline
Male pattern baldness generally begins in the hairline, when you notice that your mildly receded hairline has turned into a more obvious M-shaped hairline. For most men this begins around the temples and the crown and often starts with thinning rather than total hair loss.
Noticeable thinning of your hair
Not all men experience baldness in their hairline. Some men experience what is defined as diffuse thinning a type of hair loss that either affects the entire scalp or specific areas like the crown that results in hair loss that starts from the back or top, rather than from the hairline.
Excessive hair loss after showering or brushing
On average, people lose round 50-100 hairs a day, meaning that the five to 10 hairs you notice between your hands after shampooing aren’t anything to be concerned about. However, if you start noticing an excessive amount of hair falling out throughout the day, then there is a risk that it could be the result of male pattern baldness.
In general the early signs of hair loss show up in the following ways
Gradual thinning of the hair on the head
Receding hairline that becomes more visible with each passing year
For women, the first noticeable sign of hair loss is often a widening part or less fullness to their ponytail.
Read Also: What Causes Rapid Hair Loss In Females
Temporary Hair Loss Is Normal After A Fever Or Illness
Fever is a common symptom of COVID-19. A few months after having a high fever or recovering from an illness, many people see noticeable hair loss.
While many people think of this as hair loss, its actually hair shedding. The medical name for this type of hair shedding is telogen effluvium. It happens when more hairs than normal enter the shedding phase of the hair growth lifecycle at the same time. A fever or illness can force more hairs into the shedding phase.
Most people see noticeable hair shedding two to three months after having a fever or illness. Handfuls of hair can come out when you shower or brush your hair. This hair shedding can last for six to nine months before it stops. Most people then see their hair start to look normal again and stop shedding.
Telogen effluvium causes noticeable hair shedding
Telogen effluvium causes noticeable hair shedding, but thats all you should experience. If you have a rash, itchy scalp, or burning, something other than telogen effluvium is likely causing your hair loss, and its time to see a dermatologist.
Stress And Hair Loss: Is Stress Hair Loss Reversible
Yes, stress hair loss is, in most instances, reversible. That is, the hair loss is temporary and the hair grows back. However, the hair loss can occur in cycles with the affected person experiencing periods of excessive hair loss, regrowth, then the return of excessive hair loss.
Other things to keep in mind
- Stress-induced hair loss is usually seen about three months after the stressful event that leads to it. This also means youll have to wait a few months for the stress effects to wear off and for you to begin seeing regrowth of hair. So, patience is necessary.
- While the hair loss is sudden and excessive, regrowth is much slower. Earlier, we mentioned half an inch per month as the average hair growth rate. Your hair growth may actually be as little as a quarter of an inch per month. So, patience is REALLY necessary.
- There are both prescription and OTC medications that can encourage regrowth of lost hair. Ask your doctor about them if you have any concerns about your hair loss.
- You can encourage regrowth of strong, healthy hair by nourishing your follicles from the inside and outside. We have some useful links for you at the end of the article!
Also, see our series on hair butter for hair growth.
Also Check: What Is Female Pattern Hair Loss
Switch To A Volumizing Shampoo And Conditioner
Incorporating an volumizing shampoo and conditioner into your regular wash routine is a great way to make sure your hair is getting the support it needs. Shampoos and conditioners designed to combat hair loss help encourage the appearance of sleeker, healthier hair strands and supply the scalp with the nutrients it needs to encourage new hair growth. Look for formulas that contain scientifically researched ingredients to support hair health for optimal results.
Different Types Of Stress
- telogen effluvium when your body tells more hair than usual to stop growing across your scalp
- alopecia areata when you lose large amounts of hair in patches on your scalp
- trichotillomania when you pick and pull out hairs on your head or around your body without realising youre doing it
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Ways To Reverse Hair Loss From Stress
Can hair loss be related to stress? The bad news is yes, but the good news is that stress-induced hair loss is usually temporary.
âTelogen effluvium is the scientific name for stress-induced hair loss,â Robert Haber, MD, a board-certified dermatologist and hair transplant surgeon, tells WebMD Connect to Care. Haber says the sources of stress that can lead to this condition include:
- Emotional stress
- Significant weight loss
âFortunately, if the hair loss is strictly due to the stress, complete recovery often occurs after several months to a year,â Haber says.
If youâve been affected by hair loss from stress, there are some important steps you can take.
Symptoms & Signs Of Thinning Hair
- A visible scalp as your hair is transparent.
- Appearance of thinner spots and weaker shafts on your head.
- Hair is more fragile, shorter and brittle.
- Hair is less in density, volume, thickness and weight.
- Hair starts to lose its colour.
- Mild growth of dandruff starts showing up.
- Few people notice curly hair on the scalp.
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You’re Getting Too Much Vitamin A
Overdoing vitamin A-containing supplements or medications can trigger hair loss, according to the American Academy of Dermatology. Just FYI: The Daily Value for vitamin A is 5,000 International Units per day for adults and kids over age 4 supplements can contain 2,500 to 10,000 IU. So any more than that and you could risk some strands falling out.
The good news: This is also a reversible cause of hair loss, and once the excess vitamin A is halted, hair should start growing normally again.
Hair Loss From Stress Vs Male Pattern Baldness
There are several major differences between telogen effluvium and hair loss from male pattern baldness:
First, hair loss from male pattern baldness is typically permanent. In contrast, almost all of the hair you lose from telogen effluvium will grow back, provided the primary cause of the telogen effluvium is treated.
Second, hair loss from male pattern baldness looks different from hair loss thats triggered by stress. Male pattern baldness typically causes a receding hairline, balding on the crown or other baldness patterns. Telogen effluvium causes diffuse thinning on the entire scalp.
Third, telogen effluvium is not related to androgen hormones such as DHT. This means that some treatments for male pattern baldness, such as finasteride, arent effective as treatments for stress-related hair loss.
Fifth, If your hair loss is caused by stress, you may also lose body hair. Telogen effluvium hair loss the type of hair loss linked to stress typically affects your scalp and may appear as patchy hair loss. However, it can also cause you to shed more body hairor notice less hair on your body than you normally would.
If youre starting to lose your hair and arent sure whether its caused by stress or male pattern baldness, its best to talk to a healthcare professional.
Most dermatologists can diagnose telogen effluvium using one or several tests, including a hair pull test.
Read Also: How To Thicken Mens Thin Hair
Hair Problems With Anxiety
It should be noted that hair loss isn’t a “common” anxiety problem. It tends to affect only certain people, and it’s not clear who is affected and why. It’s also never the only symptom.
But hair loss is a very real problem, and the source of that hair loss is stress. Anxiety and stress are very similar conditions, and anxiety itself is essentially long term stress. Studies have shown that stress can cause and contribute to several hair loss conditions, including:
- Alopecia Areata – This is the most distressing type of hair loss. It occurs when large clumps of hair fall out for no apparent reason, generally very suddenly. These large clumps of hair almost always come back, but if you continue to suffer from anxiety they may continue to fall out in clumps and in some cases it may be permanent .
- Telogen Effluvium This is a similar condition that may cause hair to fall out. The difference between the two is that one expels the hair, while the other puts hair in a resting phase that causes more to fall out. Hair may fall out in clumps, or more hair than normal falls out naturally, or hair may weaken. All of these could be due to stress/anxiety.
Stress And Trichotillomania: Hair Pulling
Trichotillomania is a form of hair loss caused by an irresistible urge to pull out your hair, either from your scalp or any other part of your body. It can result in small or large thin and bald patches, and it is often extremely distressing for those who suffer from it.
The causes of trichotillomania are psychological, and are often complex. Stress is a major contributing factor, as are anxiety, depression, or a traumatic experience.
For more information on hair pulling disorder, please visit our guide to Trichotillomania.
Recommended Reading: Can I Use Minoxidil For Frontal Hair Loss
Anxiety Causing White Hairs
Some people believe that anxiety can cause an increase in white or gray hair. They believe that anxiety shocks the system and turns their hair gray, as though they’ve aged rapidly.
This is not entirely true, but it does have some basis in fact. Anxiety cannot turn hair gray, but alopecia areata tends to target dark hairs, so those that already have gray hairs may be more likely to find only their dark hairs coming out, and thus it will appear that their hair has turned gray.
Hair Loss Hair Thinning Balding Anxiety Symptoms
The higher the rating, the more likely it could be contributing to your anxiety symptoms, including hair loss.
This article explains the relationship between anxiety and losing hair.
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What Is The Relationship Between Hair Loss In Women And Menopause
During menopause, you might see one of two things happen with your hair. You might start growing hair where you didnt before. Or, you might see the hair you have start to thin. One cause may be changing levels of hormones during menopause. Estrogen and progesterone levels fall, meaning that the effects of the androgens, male hormones, are increased.
During and after menopause, hair might become finer because hair follicles shrink. Hair grows more slowly and falls out more easily in these cases.
Your healthcare provider will do a thorough examination and take a detailed history to help you deal with changes in hair growth. You may be directed to have your iron levels or thyroid hormone levels tested. Your medications might be changed if what you take is found to affect hair loss or growth.
Stress And Female Hair Loss: What You Need To Know
Medically reviewed by Kristin Hall, FNP
Feeling stressed? According to data from the American Psychological Association, Americans are feeling more stressed than ever.
Stress can originate from a variety of sources. A difficult personal life, challenging job or tough financial situation can all cause and worsen stress, lead to symptoms ranging from insomnia and fatigue to headaches, aches, pains and a weakened immune system. Hopefully, you are doing all you can to overcome stress by engaging with essential wellness resources. Managing stress is different for everyone so be patient with yourself as you find what works for you.
Physical stress is one of several factors that can contribute to hair certain types of hair loss. If youre feeling overly stressed, its possible that you might notice your hair starting to fall out and thin, even if youre not genetically prone to female hair loss.
Below, weve explained how stress can affect your hair health, as well as what you can do to treat hair loss from stress. Weve also listed other potential causes of hair loss in women that are easy to mistake for stress-induced hair loss.
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