Stress and Hair loss: Are They Related

If your hair is thinning or falling out, you are probably anxious to find out why. Is hair loss due to stress, heredity, or some other factor? The answer is “yes” to all three.

Male and female-pattern baldness are normally inherited conditions. These tend to cause hair loss in men on the top of the head. The sides and back of the hair may remain in many cases. In women, female-pattern baldness tends to occur on the top of the head, with gradual thinning of the hair.

Numerous treatments may help slow hair loss in these conditions, or some turn to hair transplantation. Many simply accept the hair loss, which especially in men is quite common. In women, such hair loss is less socially acceptable. Women may turn to use of minoxidil or to hair transplantation to replace thinning hair.

That brings us to the imminent question, whether or not stress can cause hair loss? You see, stress is so often referred to as the major cause of baldness, that many people believe this to be accurate. The fact is that stress is a cause of baldness, so you can blame your job or your sporting team if it makes you feel better, but it is not the major cause. Although stress is a cause of baldness, it is seen only as a contributing factor, because there is one cause that affects most hair loss sufferers.

Baldness can be caused by many factors, with more than 50% of males enduring some form of balding or thinning by middle age. Women also suffer from hair loss, and around 35-40% of women will suffer some type of balding or thinning by age 60. The most common cause of hair loss is Pattern Baldness. Pattern baldness alone affects more than 40% of the male population. Pattern balding is easy to explain – it is a genetic disposition – it develops naturally.

Noticing The Stress Related Hair Loss Connection

Hair loss due to stress can occur as late as three months after you have suffered a particular stressful period therefore it may not be easy to connect the stress and hair loss occurrence but you may want to ensure when you go through a stressful period that you provide the same and sometimes extra care to your hair in order to maintain your locks.

If you are experiencing hair loss all of a sudden think back and consider what you have encountered that may have affected you enough to change your lifestyle and/or eating habits that may in turn have affected your hair.

The way men and women experience Pattern Baldness is very different. Men tend to endure thinning hair in certain sections or patches of the scalp and that’s why many instances in men result in the ‘monk’ effect, i.e. balding on top, with hair still growing at the sides and back. Women tend to lose hair equally across the scalp, so instead of having a visibly bald patch, a woman can actually lose more hair than a man, but still appear to have a full head of hair.

Pattern Baldness is by far the most likely cause f hair loss, but there are a number of other known causes. The other causes of balding are credited for such small percentages of occurrences, and in many cases are the easiest to prevent, detect or even reverse. Other known causes of balding are hormonal imbalances (especially in women) illnesses, lousy diet, inferior hygiene, drug abuse and last but not least, stress. Again, stress is an indisputable known cause of balding. Not a major cause, but it ranks in the top few causes.

Stress related baldness has a scientific name – Telogen Effluvium. This type of baldness can also be caused by experiences such as trauma, childbirth, puberty, major surgery and even severe chronic illness. Telogen Effluvium is characterized by abrupt hair loss caused by an interruption in the normal hair growth cycle. Stress and trauma cause large numbers of hair follicles to concurrently enter a stage of rest. After some time, the hair follicles will enter a stage of growth, and the old hair will be ejected out of the follicle by a new hair that is formed beneath it. The result is a period of hair shedding, and is usually self correcting, but if the stress is ongoing, then this type of hair loss can become chronic and eventually lead to more prevalent balding.

Other Hair Loss Factors:
There are other factors that can also cause hair loss, including but not limited to:

* Illness
* Hormonal changes
* Pregnancy, childbirth, and birth control pill usage
* Nervous habits
* Chemotherapy

If your hair is thinning, or you’re experiencing baldness and it seems abnormal (i.e. if you’re in your teens or 20s, if it’s an odd pattern, etc.) it’s a good idea to see your doctor to determine the cause.