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How Does Stress Cause Hair Loss

Patchy Or Circular Bald Spots

How does Stress cause Hair Loss?

A common sign of hair loss is alopecia areata, defined by as hair loss occurring in small round patches on the head.

According to, A mild case of alopecia areata starts with one to two coin-sized hairless patches. The same source notes that hair loss often stops after that.

Notwithstanding the good news that hair often grows back, notes that there is no guarantee: The condition is unpredictable, and the cycle of hair loss and regrowth can repeat itself.

Maintaining A Healthy Diet

How and what we eat can have a big impact on our entire body, including our hair. By eating a healthful, well-balanced diet, you can promote hair growth and prevent future loss.

Getting plenty of vitamins and nutrients is key to maintaining a balanced diet. Eating foods rich in essential vitamins or taking supplements can help you get your daily dose of hair-healthy nutrients, such as:

Along with eating well, its important to drink plenty of that sweet, sweet H2O. Your body thrives when its hydrated, so drinking enough water each day can keep your cells in tip-top shape for peak performance.

Hair Falling Out From Stress Lets Talk

Hair loss can happen to anyone and for a number of reasons, so its important to talk to a doctor if you are seeing handfuls of hair in the shower unexpectedly. However, if you need a pick-me-up after a few stressful weeks or months in your life, you can reverse hair loss from stress at home with the help of hair care products and the right vitamins and supplements. So while there is no magical pill for knowing how to stop hair loss from stress, reading up on what causes hair loss and practicing self-care are two of the first steps. And youve already begun them both!

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Can Stress Cause Hair Loss And Will It Grow Back

One person might struggle with an exterior stress factor such as a demanding job. Another might have lingering anxiety from a traumatic past experience. There is no one-fits-all when it comes to stress and anxiety. Stress physical or emotional puts your body in survival mode. To answer the question:

Can stress cause Hair Loss? Absolutely, yes! Hair thinning, breakage, and loss can be a direct result of acute and chronic stress as well as anxiety. So stress and hair loss are very closely related.

Simply put, hair loss from stress can either be described as acute or chronic.

As a response to a high-stress incident or an acute stress response, hair fall may occur. This usually takes place 2-3 months after major surgery, an accident, or emotional trauma. Hair will usually start to regrow within the next 3-6 months after the stressor has been identified.

On the other hand, chronic stress or anxiety causes continuous and excessive hair shedding and general hair thinning all over the scalp. Once the triggers or conditions are under control, hair should start to grow back as well.

How To Prevent Hair Loss Due To Stress

Does stress cause hair loss?

There is no way to prevent cancer-related hair loss caused by chemotherapy, radiation, or cancer treatment. Its important to keep perspective. Remember that although hair loss is a side effect of chemotherapy, its vital to your health and recovery to work closely with your oncologist and medical team to choose the safest healing path. Fortunately, cancer-related hair loss is temporary, and there are things you can do to help you transition and adjust to your bodys natural reaction to cancer-related Alopecia.

The most effective way to minimize alopecia due to stress is to take a comprehensive and holistic approach.

Seek guidance from a medical professional. Seek counsel from a therapist or psychological support team. Identify stress triggers and eliminate the ones you can, and incorporate ways to better manage the one you can’t.

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What Is Stress Hair Loss And How To Treat It

While losing 100 to 150 strands of hair per day is normal, some women lose much more. This is often known as stress hair loss, which can be a huge problem. If you want to know if stress can cause hair loss and subsequently how to regain hair loss from stress, read on. Luckily, there are measures you can take to prevent and treat hair falling out from stress.

The Effect Of Stress On The Hair Can Be Categorized By The Following Three Conditions:

  • Telogen effluvium: Significant levels of stress causes a large number of hair follicles to abnormally transition into a resting phase of the hair growth cycle. Within a couple of months, affected hairs might fall out suddenly even by simply washing or combing the hair. It takes around 6 to 9 months for these hairs to grow back. This condition is less severe and more common. Rarely, it can have a longer-term effect.
  • Alopecia areata: One of the causes believed to cause Alopecia areata is stress. This medical condition causes the bodys immune system to attack hair follicles causing the hair to fall out. Typically the hair falls out within weeks and usually in small patches. It can involve the entire scalp, called Alopecia Totalis. If the hair loss involves the entire body, it is called Alopecia Universalis . AU is a medical condition involving the loss of all body hair, including eyebrows, eyelashes, chest hair, armpit hair, and pubic hair.
  • Trichotillomania: Hair pulling can be a behavioral response to negative or uncomfortable feelings such as stress, anxiety, loneliness, and frustration. It is described as an irresistible urge to pull out hair from your scalp, eyebrows, or other areas of the body. Unfortunately, pulling the hair out may result in a permanent loss of hair.

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Treat The Underlying Condition

The symptoms of adrenal fatigue, especially hair loss, can be devastating. You may be scrambling to treat the symptoms, but only by treating the underlying conditions can you resolve the problem.

With blood tests, your doctor can determine if you suffer from a deficiency in any of the hormones that play a role in hair growth. This includes the androgen hormones DHEA and testosterone.

The deficiency is likely to be caused by an underlying condition, though.

These conditions include hypothyroidism, hyperthyroidism, pituitary gland dysfunction, obesity, diabetes, etc. A hormonal deficiency can also be caused by certain medications, including chemotherapy.

Your doctor will very likely want to rule these conditions and causes out first.

If you have unexplained hormonal deficiencies, then adrenal fatigue or insufficiency may be to blame. If thats the case, then youll likely be referred to an endocrinologist.

Is There A Way To Prevent Telogen Effluvium

Can Stress Cause Hair Loss? | Hair Loss Expert Dr. Phipps

Unfortunately, there is no proven way to prevent or stop an episode of telogen effluvium, and it should resolve on its own with time.

However, there are a few things that may help to support overall hair health. Eat a balanced diet, and in particular, consume an adequate amount of protein . Hair is made up of primarily protein , so its no surprise that sufficient protein is vital to maintain and grow hair. Also, be sure to avoid very tight hairstyles, excessive heat styling, or chemical-based treatments, as these can contribute to hair loss or cause hair breakage.

Tending to emotional health and practicing coping strategies, like meditation, may also be helpful to reduce the impact of a stressor.

If you hair loss is chronic, patchy, or associated with redness, itching or pain, seek medical care from a dermatologist.

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When To See A Doctor For Stress

Stress does cause hair loss, but it isnt the only cause. If youre experiencing sudden and ongoing hair loss, visiting your family doctor is a good first step. Your doctor can evaluate the hair loss, review your medical history, and refer you to a dermatologist if necessary.

You might think of a dermatologist as just a skin doctor, but this doctor also specializes in problems of hair and nails. Visiting a doctor sooner, rather than later, can improve your outcome.

Treatment For Hair Loss

In instances where there is no regrowth, or hair doesnt grow back fully, a few different treatments are available.

Thinning caused by telogen effluvium may be treated with a medication called minoxidil this is a topical treatment applied directly to the scalp.

For alopecia areata, there are a range of treatments available. Some of these treatments might be prescibed by your GP but most are only prescribed by dermatologists including:

  • Steroid creams, lotions, tablets or injections
  • Dithranol
  • Immunotherapy

For a detailed guide to treatments for alopecia areata, consult this page on the Alopecia UK website.

Because trichotillomania is often related to anxiety or OCD , the most effective treatment is thought to be psychological therapy, for example CBT . If you think you might have trichotillomania, please discuss this with your GP.

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Stress And Hair Loss Causes

Stress induced hair loss can either be acute or chronic.Acute Hair all from stress occurs as a response to a high-stress incident. In this case, hair loss occurs 2-3 months after the catalyzing event. Examples include major surgery, car accident, high fever, emotional trauma, and even crash dieting. This type of stress induced alopecia will begin to regrow within 3-6 months after identifying the stress trigger.Chronic stress is an ongoing and will result in continuous excessive hair shedding. Hair fall from chronic stress may indicate an underlying medical condition such as a thyroid issue, medical illness, or poor nutrition. Chronic stress-related hair loss will cause general hair thinning all over the scalp. Once the stress triggers or condition is under control, hair should start to grow back. Anxiety hair loss occurs from ongoing chronic stress that takes an extreme toll on a persons mental, emotional, and psychological wellbeing.

Q: What Are Some Treatments To Reverse Stress

How Stress and Anxiety Can Cause Hair Loss

A: Stress-induced hair loss usually reverses on its own. In the meantime, you can try:

  • making healthy changes to what you put in your body and on your scalp
  • switching meds for medical or mental health treatment that may be causing acute hair loss

What if your relationship is great, your job peachy, but your hair is still falling out? In this case, you may want to talk with your dermatologist about other possible reasons for hair loss. These could include:

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How Can I Get My Hair Follicles To Reopen

  • Massage. Massaging the scalp stimulates the scalp and may promote hair thickness when used in conjunction with hair oils and treatments.
  • Aloe vera is a plant that contains aloe vera juice. Hair loss has historically been treated with aloe vera.
  • Coconut oil is a type of oil that comes from the coconut.
  • Viviscal.
  • Myths Associated With Stress Hair Loss

    Misunderstanding your hair problems can be dangerous, so lets dispel the most common myths about stress hair loss.

    • It appears immediately. Stress hair loss takes anywhere from 6-12 weeks to appear, based on hair growth cycles. Your hair goes into a resting stage to protect itself when under stressful situations, as most studies suggest. Once your hair cycle returns to normal, it pushes the hair out to grow new strands. It is possible for hair loss to appear up to three months after that stressful event.
    • Minor stress can cause hair loss. A stressful event can be physical like surgery or trauma. It can be emotional, like a divorce or loss of a job. Stress can also be hormonal, like switching birth control or recently having a baby. Anxiety hair loss doesnt usually happen because you are stressed about your morning commute.
    • Any hair loss is stress-related. Stress does not equate balding. Just because you see your hairbrush covered in day-old hair or you are sweeping up more hair than usual these days does not mean it is stress-related. It may be damaged hair breaking off. Make sure you are not damaging your hair if you want to maintain thickness.

    Photo Credit: Unsplash

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    What Exactly Is Stress

    Stress is a normal psychological human reaction that occurs when you experience emotional or physicial changes during the challenges of everyday. These external stress-causing factors are so-called stressors. Your body reacts to these stressors by releasing hormones that make your brain more alert, tense your muscles and increase your pulse. These physiological stress responses are not negative by themselves.

    It turns out acute stress is your bodys way of protecting itself and can be very positive in certain situations. For example, if you have an important test coming up, stress can actually help your body work harder by entering its fight-or-flight response.

    Long-term stress that lasts for weeks or even months has an impact on the physical, emotional, and behavioral well-being of human beings. Stress becomes problematic when there is no relief from the stress. Long-term stress also negatively impacts the immune system and the neurotransmitters, i.e., dopamine, gamma-aminobutyric acid , norepinephrine, and serotonin. These neurotransmitters are linked to mood and anxiety. Neurotransmitters work with receptors in the brain to influence and regulate a wide range of processes such as mental performance, emotions, pain response, and energy levels. Numerous clinical studies have shown that inadequate neurotransmitter function has a profound influence on overall health and well-being.

    Managing And Treating Stress

    Stress can cause hair loss: Here’s what you can do to stop it

    If stress is leading to hair loss, its important to work out whats causing your stress and take steps to reduce it including seeing a doctor for help if youre struggling to cope.

    As well as getting advice from a doctor, there are various ways you can manage stress yourself and get stress relief. To start with, you might find it useful to talk to a friend, family member or someone else you trust about whats bothering you.

    Practising calming breathing exercises can help, as can making time for exercise and other activities you enjoy.

    Read more about ways to quickly relieve stress.

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    Can Hair Loss From Stress Grow Back

    The other point of comfort about telogen effluvium is that its not permanent.

    The hair loss is just temporary, and it will eventually recover to its pre-effluvium volume, but it is a long process. It can take months for the shedding to subside.

    It can take months or years after that for the lost hair to regrow at a slow rate of about half an inch per month.

    Hair may not entirely recover to its original density in some cases. For one thing, telogen effluvium can reveal other forms of long-term baldness .

    Additionally, total hair density is predicted to decline with age, and telogen effluvium could be persistent and linger for years in certain people .


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