Why Does Stress Cause Accelerated Hair Loss
William Rassman, M.D.1 Hair Loss Causes
Stress is acknowledged to accelerate MPB. My question is how much stress would it take to increase hair loss to a noteable degree. Would everyday stress, for example the stress in which everybody would at least arrive at in work or home cause an acceleration or when you mean stress do you mean a really long drawn out period of total stress. What is responsible in stress which causes acceleration in MPB, raised testosterone?
Medicine is a descriptive science, and the observations that stress contributes to hair loss is something we have observed. I do not believe everyday anxiety is stressful enough to cause hair loss, but I also do not know how to calculate the degree of stress a person has in their lives. People tell me that theyve noticed their hair falling out with divorce and other severe relationship or family problems, financial problems, and so on. These are the types of long, drawn out stresses that can cause hair loss. If you think about the saying Im pulling my hair out that many people use when under pressure, that describes the stress people are talking about.
Stress Hair Loss: Heres What You Can Do
Medically reviewed by Kristin Hall, FNP
Noticed more hairs on your brush, pillow or around the shower drain than normal? Dealing with hair loss is never fun, especially when youre not sure whats causing it.
Most male hair loss is the result of androgenic alopecia, or male pattern baldness a form of hair loss thats triggered by a genetic sensitivity to DHT. However, its also possible for a range of other factors to cause and contribute to hair loss.
One of these factors is stress. If youre feeling overly stressed due to work, your personal life or anything else, its possible that this stress could contribute either to mild thinning of your hair, or significant hair loss.
Most male hair loss results from androgenic alopecia, or male pattern baldness a form of hair loss triggered by a genetic sensitivity to DHT.
However, its also possible for a range of other factors to cause and contribute to hair loss.
One of these factors is emotional stress. If youre feeling overly stressed due to work, your personal life or anything else, its possible that this stress could contribute either tomild hair thinning, or significant hair loss.
Below, weve explained how and why stress can cause you to lose hair. Weve also looked at a range of treatment options that can help you regrow any hair you lose due to stress.
Other Symptoms That Help With Diagnosis
You may also experience a range of other symptoms if your hair loss is caused by an underlying condition.
- Hypothyroidism may cause anything from fatigue to weight gain, muscle weakness to joint swelling.
- Ringworm may cause scaly and painful gray or red patches on the scalp.
- Celiacdisease may cause anything from mouth ulcers to headaches, skin rashes to anemia.
- Hodgkinsdisease may cause symptoms like fever, night sweats, and swelling of the lymph nodes.
Your doctor will take into account the other symptoms youre experiencing besides hair loss to help pinpoint the cause. This may involve anything from a physical examination to blood tests to scalp biopsies.
Some conditions, like celiac disease, may be genetically inherited. If you have a family history of a condition that leads to hair loss, be sure to mention it to your doctor.
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Stress Can Also Affect Your Sex Hormones Which Will Affect Hair Growth
If youre under stress for a long enough period of time, all your progesterone is going to fuel cortisol production. Your periods can become irregular, and your estrogen levels will fall, which will affect hair growth. Because your estrogen levels fall, more testosterone is free, which can accelerate hair loss, especially in the male pattern, which is in the front and on your crown.
Can Emotional Stress Cause Hair Loss
Ever heard phrases related to hair falling out in reference to someone being really stressed? It turns out this phrase might be more significantly rooted in science than we originally thought
Many people underestimate the effects of stress on the body, brushing it off as a strictly emotional condition. But stress can manifest in the form of serious physical symptoms including increased shedding or hair loss. If youve experienced some form of emotional or physical stress in the last six months, and youve noticed some increased hair shedding or what looks like the beginning of male pattern baldness, theres a chance you could be experiencing stress-induced hair loss.
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Why Do People Lose More Hair In The Summer
There are a few explanations given by dermatologists as to why hair loss increases during summer and fall. In the study, it concludes that the trend suggests that hair loss in the population is significantly correlated with seasonality, and that hair loss occurs most frequently in the summer and fall.
Lack Of B Vitamins Can Cause Hair Loss
Lacking certain vitamins and minerals may also lead to thinning hair or hair loss in women. Some dermatologists believe that not eating enough red meat or following a vegetarian diet may affect hair loss.
Red meat and other animal foods are rich in iron, a mineral that supports hair and body growth. Women are already prone to iron deficiency due to blood loss during menstruation, so not taking in enough iron in the diet may lead to deficiency.
Eating disorders, like anorexia nervosa, may also lead to vitamin deficiencies and thinning hair. In particular, deficiencies thought to affect hair include those in zinc, amino acid L-lysine, B-6, and B-12.
Also Check: How Much Biotin Should I Take For Thinning Hair
Get Enough Sleep And Stress Less
The third thing that you need to do in order to reduce stress-related hair loss is get enough sleep. If youre not getting deep sleep, youre not in that restorative phase long enough to grow new tissues, which includes hair. You need at least seven to nine hours of deep sleep in the dark every night.
If youre sleep-deprived, somethings got to give, and your hair is not crucial to your survival. So the nutrients and the resources are going to go to vital organs like your heart, kidney, liver, brain before it goes to your hair. You want to make sure that youre getting deep sleep to reduce your adrenal stress response and help grow healthy hair.
If you have any questions about stress-related hair loss, you can join me in my Hormone Support Group. I do Facebook Lives on a regular basis to answer your questions.
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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You Have Polycystic Ovary Syndrome
Polycystic ovary syndrome is another imbalance in male and female sex hormones. An excess of androgens can lead to ovarian cysts, weight gain, a higher risk of diabetes, changes in your menstrual period, infertility, as well as hair thinning. Because male hormones are overrepresented in PCOS, women may also experience more hair on the face and body.
Treating PCOS can correct the hormone imbalance and help reverse some of these changes. Treatments include diet, exercise, and potentially birth control pills, as well as specific treatment to address infertility or diabetes risk.
Can Ptsd Make Your Hair Fall Out
Those with PTSD will find that their stress hormones never return to normal levels and that their bodies choose to conserve energy and nutrients for essential functions of the body, preventing hair from regrowing once it is shed.
Those with PTSD suffer from being stuck in a fight-or-flight mode permanently, where loud noises or sudden changes in lighting can cause them to panic or become extremely distressed.
The effects of existing in fight-or-flight mode do not just affect their behaviour, but also the internal hormonal levels in the body. If the body is stuck in fight-or-flight, it will choose to preserve any nutrients for essential core functions of the body. As the hair is deemed non-essential, hair follicles do not get the nutrients they need to produce hair follicles. This means the hair will shed without being replaced, ultimately causing hair loss.
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Losing Hair From Stress What You Should Know About Hair Loss And Chronic Stress
2 Minute Read
Medically Reviewed by Primary Care
If youre finding more strands of hair than usual on your pillowcase and in the shower drain, you may be wondering if anxiety is to blame.
Youve probably heard about a possible link between stress and hair loss, but is there any truth to that claim? Whether youre feeling frazzled by work or are overwhelmed by emotional events such as divorce or a death in the family, its natural to feel concerned about how stress can affect your body. Heres what you should know about stress and hair loss.
How To Prevent Hair Loss Due To Stress
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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How To Hide Hair Loss During Treatment
Treatment of the causes of loss of hair may take some time, but life cannot be paused. You can use extensions to continue to look stylish, go to work, and have beautiful hairdos. There are many ways to increase chevelure volume and length with hair extensions now. You can use ponytail or halo extensions that are easy to put on and will be almost invisible in your hairstyle.
If you notice that more hair remains on the comb than before, this is an alarming sign and a reason to sign up for a consultation with a trichologist. Also, the doctor may choose other procedures aimed at strengthening hair follicles and active hair growth.
You Have Female Or Malepattern Baldness
You might already know about malepattern baldness, a type of hair loss caused by a combo of genes and male sex hormones that usually makes the hair on a man’s head recede at the temples, leaving an Mshaped hairline.
But hormone-related hairloss for femalesor femalepattern baldnessis also a thing, according to the US National Institute of Health. This type of hair loss occurs when the hair follicle shrinks so much over time that it doesn’t grow new hair. In women, the symptoms of femalepattern baldness includes a widening of the center hair part, and, sometimes, coarser hair on the face.
The only FDAapproved treatment for female and malepattern hair is minoxidil , but if that doesn’t work, your doctor may prescribe oral medications such as finasteride that can halt hair loss or even cause some to grow surgery to transplant or graft hair is also an option.
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Stick To A Consistent Nutritionally Healthy Diet
In terms of diet, we recommend that you do not skip meals. Try to eat at regular intervals, with healthy snacks as necessary. Well-formulated nutritional supplements can also be very helpful, providing your body with a boost of essential vitamins and minerals. These may also aid in immune system function.
Why Does Hair Fall Out In July
Hair loss is one of the most common problem that people experience during monsoon. Humidity during the monsoon can make your scalp oily. This makes you go for a head bath more than usual, which can rob your hair off its moisture. This in turn gives you dull hair, dandruff and hair fall.
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You’ve Been Super Stressed Or Ill
Stress or illness can cause hair lossit’s a process known as telogen effluvium, or the excessive shedding of hair induced by stress, Michelle Henry, MD, a dermatologist based in New York, previously told Health.
“Our bodies perceive mental stress the same way it perceives physical stress, and any dramatic stressor on the body can cause hair growth to become arrested,” Dr. Henry said. “And when hair growth is arrested, it sheds.” Specifically, when the body is stressed it released the hormone cortisol, which can then affect the hair follicle and result in shedding or hair loss. That shedding typically occurs at least three months following a stressful event, Angelo Landriscina, MD, a Washington, DC-based dermatologist, previously told Health.
Of course, preventing stress is the easiest way to help prevent stress-induced hair lossbut that’s not always an easy thing to do. If you experience hair loss of any kind, it’s wise to check in with your dermatologist. Should they determine that your hair loss is stress-related, your derm may recommend a treatment called minoxidil, a vasodilator that improves circulation around the hair bulb at the base of the hair follicle, to help grow hair back that you’ve lost. Also important: having patience and allowing time for hair growth.
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.
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Why Doesnt Rationality Seem To Matter Anymore
Harvard University researchers have identified the biological mechanism by which chronic stress impairs hair follicle stem cells, confirming long-standing observations that stress might lead to hair loss.
In a mouse study published in the journal Nature, the researchers found that a major stress hormone puts hair follicle stem cells into an extended resting phase, without regenerating the follicle or the hair. The researchers identified the specific cell type and molecule responsible for relaying the stress signal to the stem cells, and showed that this pathway can be potentially targeted to restore hair growth.
My lab is interested in understanding how stress affects stem cell biology and tissue biology, spurred in part by the fact that everyone has a story to share about what happens to their skin and hair when they are stressed. I realized that as a skin stem cell biologist, I could not provide a satisfying answer regarding if stress indeed has an impact and more importantly, if yes, what are the mechanisms, said Ya-Chieh Hsu, the Alvin and Esta Star Associate Professor of Stem Cell and Regenerative Biology at Harvard and senior author of the study. The skin offers a tractable and accessible system to study this important problem in depth, and in this work, we found that stress does actually delay stem-cell activation and fundamentally changes how frequently hair follicle stem cells regenerate tissues.