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.
Stress And Hair Loss: The Basics
Contrary to popular belief, stress is not linked to male pattern baldness the form of hair loss that causes you to permanently lose hair around your hairline, temples and the crown of your scalp.;
However, stress can trigger and potentially worsen a form of temporary hair loss called telogen effluvium.;
Telogen effluvium affects your hair by interrupting the natural hair growth cycle.;
Normally, there are four different growth phases during the hair cycle as it grows from below the skin to its full length, then falls out to be replaced by a new hair:
The first phase is the anagen phase, during which the hair grows to its full length.
The second phase is the catagen phase, during which the old, fully grown hair follicle detaches from the skin.
The third phase is the telogen phase, also known as the resting phase, during which a new hair starts to grow from the follicle to replace the old one.
The fourth phase is the exogen phase, during which the old hair falls out, with the new hair growing in its place.;
Just like your skin and nails, your hair is constantly undergoing this growth cycle. Weve covered each phase of the hair growth cycle in more detail in our guide to the hair growth process.;
Each phase of the hair growth cycle varies in length. Hairs usually stay in the anagen phase for up to six years during which they grow to their full length.;
About 90 percent of your hairs are in the anagen phase at any time, meaning that most of your hair is constantly growing.;
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.
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Does Stress Increase Dht
Stress causes the increase of androgens thereby, increasing the secretion of hair-loss related chemical called DHT .
Hair loss related to stress usually falls in the categories of telogen effluvium, trichotillomania and alopecia. Topical medications, good diet, stress management and a good hair care routine restores hair loss caused due to stress.
Common Symptoms Of Stress
If youre experiencing hair loss due to stress, youll usually notice the classic symptoms of hair loss:
Extra hairs on your pillowcase and bedding
More stray hairs on your shower or bathroom floor
Lots of stray hairs in your shower drain catch
Less density and a thin look to your hair, especially under bright light
Hair loss is often subtle, meaning you might not notice it day to day until you look at yourself in a mirror or see your hair in a photograph.;
If youre worried that you might have hair loss due to stress, it may help to take regular photos of your hair to track any changes in thickness over time.;
You can also try counting the hairs that you lose. Its normal to lose about 100 hairs per day. If you have telogen effluvium, you may lose an average of about 300, making it easy to detect a change in your hair shedding.
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How To Manage Stress
Its very distressing when you feel you are losing your hair and it can cause intense suffering and can affect your social functioning and ability to work.
Dr Lee said: Hair loss has severe psychological effects including loss of self-esteem, poor body image, loss of confidence, depression, and anxiety.
Women with high-stress levels are 11 times more likely to be suffering from hair loss than women with normal stress levels.
See your doctor if you are concerned about hair loss sooner rather than later.
The doctor will ask questions and is likely to arrange blood tests to rule out common causes such as iron deficiency, or a low thyroid hormone level.
There are a range of different types and causes of hair loss, and once a diagnosis is made, the best treatment can be offered. You may need to see a consultant dermatologist.
You may prefer to arrange to see a hair specialist a trichologist. This is not available on the NHS. You can find a qualified trichologist here.
Looking for somewhere to start? Dr Lee has revealed five ways to deal with stress-related hair loss.
Nutrient And Mineral Deficiencies
If you are experiencing hair loss, its a good idea to ask your doctor to run full nutrient, micronutrient, and mineral tests to detect any possible deficiencies. Just like iron deficiency can cause hair loss, zinc deficiency can also lead to hair loss.
Zinc deficiency can affect your immune system as well so if you are commonly sick, are tired, or experience rashes like dermatitis, you may want to get your zinc levels checked, Dr. McConnell says.
If youre wondering why your hair is falling out, dont get discouraged by all the potential causes. At Parsley Health, we often help women with hair loss to identify the root cause and find the right treatment plan. Working on a lifestyle that supports overall good health with proper nutrition, exercise, and potentially adding some anti-inflammatory supplements can go a long way while you work with your health providers to investigate the problem and kick hair loss for good.
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How To Prevent Hair Loss Due To Stress
This article was medically reviewed by Sarah Gehrke, RN, MS. Sarah Gehrke is a Registered Nurse and Licensed Massage Therapist in Texas. Sarah has over 10 years of experience teaching and practicing phlebotomy and intravenous therapy using physical, psychological, and emotional support. She received her Massage Therapist License from the Amarillo Massage Therapy Institute in 2008 and a M.S. in Nursing from the University of Phoenix in 2013.There are 15 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page.wikiHow marks an article as reader-approved once it receives enough positive feedback. This article received 13 testimonials and 86% of readers who voted found it helpful, earning it our reader-approved status. This article has been viewed 858,704 times.
Sometimes emotional or physical stress can lead to hair loss, which is a serious concern for most people and something they wish to reverse. However, due to the length of the hair growth cycle, people often only begin losing their hair weeks or months after the stressful event has occurred, and the hair loss can continue for several months afterwards. Luckily, hair will usually grow back on its own once the source of stress has been removed, but there are several things you can do to help the process along. By easing your stress and taking good care of your hair, you can reduce the effects of hair loss.
You Have A Thyroid Condition
Thyroid conditionslike hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidismcan cause a range of hair issues, according to the American Academy of Dermatology.;
Those include: thinning or missing eyebrows , soft and fine hair with lots of shedding, thinning hair, and less hair on other body parts.;
Of course, if you have experienced hair loss with a thyroid issue, the best bet is to speak with your doctor about treatment possibilitiesbut usually, treating the underlying cause first is essential to treating any other associated issues.
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Styling Habits And Treatments
Sometimes abnormal hair loss is caused by aggressive styling or harsh treatments, and when you run your fingers through your hair, excessive hair falls out. Traction alopecia is a form of hair loss triggered by ongoing stress to the hair. This loss is caused by styles that pull the hair too tightly for extended time periods, such as tight braids, weaves, cornrows or the frequent use of curlers. Harsh chemicals and heat treatment can also lead to this form of hair loss. Most often, eliminating the pulling or the stress to the hair will allow the hair to regrow.
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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Habits And Lifestyle Changes
Changing your lifestyle and habits can often help to reduce stress. If you often feel stressed, try using the techniques below to limit your exposure to sources of stress and manage stress when you experience it:
If your hair loss is caused by chronic stress, understanding and coping with the stress in healthier ways may help you to regrow some or all of the hair that youve lost.;
This is something that youll need to discuss with your healthcare provider.;
Heres How The Hair Growth Cycle Works:
Ok, its science-y but very cool, basically each hair follicle on our scalp undergoes three stages of a life cycle, explains Dr Wong.
AnagenThis is the active growing phase, which can last between 2-7 years during which the hair becomes longer and thicker.
CatagenAfter anagen, the hair follicle moves into the short transitional phase called catagen when the hair fibre stops growing, followed by the resting phase telogen which lasts around 3 months.
TelogenDuring telogen the old hair is gradually pushed up towards the skin surface before it is then shed naturally and replaced with a new emerging anagen hair.
On a typical head of hair each follicle is at a different stage at different times so you probably wont notice it happening. Very cool. This cycle continues repeatedly throughout our lifetime and each hair follicle is cycling independently of neighbouring follicles meaning that human hair growth is asynchronised, says Dr Wong.
Its important to note that hair loss is a very common problem for women much more so that people realise. “Research shows that at least 1 in 3 women will suffer from hair loss or reduced hair volume at some point in their lifetime,” says Anabel Kingsley. So, if you are losing strands, it’s important not to freak out, your mane willrecover. In the meantime, here’s everything you need to know…
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Rule Out Any Hormonal Deficiencies
Make sure you dont have any hormonal deficiencies such as hypothyroidism and make sure these are properly treated.
If you are menopausal, you may want to consider HRT.
Dr Lee added: Follow a varied, balanced, nutritionally complete diet this means plenty of protein, along with fruit and vegetables as these contain high levels of antioxidants.
This is vital to help combat oxidative stress that affects hair growth and you should also ensure levels of iron, folate, and B12 are adequate
If you need to follow any kind of restrictive diet, consider taking vitamin and mineral supplements.
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.
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How To Stop Hair From Falling Out In The Shower
As a hair expert, I am often asked why some people experience so much hair loss in the shower. Often, the question comes from men asking about their partner, and the answer is that women tend to have longer strands and more hair falling out to;get stuck in the drains!
If you feel like you shed hair excessively in the shower, there are a few simple things you can do to when seeking how to stop hair from falling out naturally, in addition to supplementing your diet.
Despite the diversity of hair loss causes, there is one universal truth about hair loss:
you can improve the health of your hair by making changes to your nutritional intake.
Hair Loss When Brushing
Brushing your hair is some kind of trauma that can affect your hair. When combing, you should be careful to reduce the breakages that are likely to take place.
Combing and brushing disrupt your hair follicles and this in turn affect its growth. When brushing your hair, you should consult with your hairdresser to get the right combing techniques to avoid any unnecessary strain.
According to dermatologists, brushing bristles can create a lot of friction. It is recommended that you use a comb with a plastic and wide spread needle. Apart from that, reduce the number of times that you brush your hair.
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Youre Hard On Your Hair
Sometimes itâs your styling routine thatâs to blame when your hair starts to break or fall out. Using too much shampoo, brushing or combing your hair when itâs wet, rubbing hair dry with a towel, or brushing too hard or too often can all strain your strands and make them break. Two big cause of breakage include braids that are too tight and weaves that weight down the hair.
Hair Tends To Return To Normal On Its Own
When the cause of your hair shedding is due to a fever, illness, or stress, hair tends to return to normal on its own. You just have to give it time. As your hair grows back, youll notice short hairs that are all the same length by your hairline. Most people see their hair regain its normal fullness within six to nine months.
If you suspect that your hair loss is caused by something more than telogen effluvium from stress or a fever, talk with a hair-loss expert, a dermatologist. You can find one at, Find a dermatologist.
Related AAD resources
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How Extreme Stress Causes Hair Loss
Indeed, science supports the notion that significant emotional stress may be linked to at least one type of hair loss: telogen effluvium. Here is what you need to know about this common type of stress-induced hair loss.
Excess hair shedding may be a sign of telogen effluvium.
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.;
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