Stress causes hair loss?
Some medical experts will tell you that hair loss and stress are not connected - even going so far as to suggest the idea is simply a myth. Others will tell you that there is scientific evidence to back up the fact that a connection between hair loss and stress exists.
So why do members of the medical establishment seem to have completely opposite opinions about the two?
Well, the answer is in understanding exactly what stress means, and how different forms of stress can affect the body in different ways. You're late, the kids have been arguing all morning, the house is a mess...sound like your stress? But is the concern associated with these day-to-day things really going to cause your hair to fall out? VIVANDI Trichology’s answer - unless it's unusually extreme - is no, because what you're experiencing is emotional stress... the normal strain on the mind and body associated with dealing with the typical pressures in life.
In some ways, this type of stress may be helpful... it forces us on to complete tasks and overcome difficulties. It makes us feel content once done. But sometimes this stress can become overwhelming which is the time it starts to have an impact on health.
When stress levels become too high to tolerate, we start to feel 'run down'. We might not sleep very well at night. We might not eat properly. Our levels of stress hormone may increase significantly. We might even end up taking some sort of calming medication to handle the stress.
And it's at this point that significant emotional stress can develop into physiological stress... a form of stress that will trigger hair loss or poor hair growth. There are various life 'events' that can trigger physiological stress.
One is extreme emotional stress as we've discussed, but VTC think that other triggers include...
starting/stopping oral contraceptives or other meds
big changes to the diet, particularly switching to a very low calorie diet, or one with little protein
losing over 15lb in weight
serious infection or illness
low estrogen levels
eating disorder, particularly one that leaves the body lacking in certain nutrients
major blood loss
The effect isn't instantaneous, though - something that's often misunderstood when it comes to hair loss. It can take from three to six months for the hair to start falling out after the stressful event has occurred - so it's always a good idea to think back to any major events that occurred in YOUR life 3 to 6 months ago if you're experiencing new hair loss now. Call VTC for a hair loss consultation to discuss your concerns, our Hair Expert will assess the cause and course of action to combat this +971 4335 3336.
Hair loss may continue for a further 3 to 6 months after you first notice a problem but WHY Does Physiological Stress Cause Hair Loss?
There's been some interesting research done on this topic, but - put simply - the body seems to divert its 'resources' away from the hair and to wherever else they are needed in times of physiological stress. Dermatologist Flor A Mayoral, MD, FAAD explained at the American Academy of Dermatology SKIN Academy in 2007 that the body sometimes needs a break from growing hair to concentrate on recovery and healing.
Dr Mayoral added that "hair loss is a normal response to stress" and that "stress may be the primary reason for unexplained hair loss".
When Stress Causes Hair Pulling
One type of stress-related hair loss that mustn't be overlooked is trichotillomania.
This is a relatively rare condition where people can't help repeatedly pulling their hair - a problem usually triggered by stress. Whilst you would likely be aware if this condition was affecting you, it IS worth considering whether your stressful feelings are causing you to pull on your hair more than usual, to repeatedly twist it, or to keep rubbing your scalp. Any of these habits could cause some degree of hair loss.
So If Stress HAS Caused Your Hair Loss, When Can You Expect the Hair to Grow Back?
Stress-related hair loss is usually temporary - when the cause of the stress stops or goes away, so does the hair loss, although it can take 6 months or so until your hair feels as full as it did originally. Ways to Deal With Your Hair Loss and Stress: VTC recommend massages, exercise, a balanced diet, relaxation CDs, meditation etc
If your hair loss is caused by physiological stress like, as surgery, extreme dieting etc, removing the 'stressor' is as simple as allowing your body to recover from the procedure, modifying your diet, etc. Your hair, too, should then recover.
But if your hair loss is caused by severe emotional stress that's affecting your overall health - stress that simple lifestyle changes won't fix - then you may want to think about seeking counseling or mastering some personal development techniques.
Here are some tips for dealing with stress and creating a calmer, happier, healthier you
Treat yourself to a massage or ask your partner to do it for you.
Exercise every day for around 20 minutes. This releases “positive" chemicals called endorphins which can even reverse the effects of stress.
Eat a balanced diet, full of simple, healthful foods. Avoid processed foods loaded with chemicals, or sugary foods that may affect your mood. Choose the 'brown' version of foods like bread, pasta and rice so you know you're getting the whole grain instead of a stripped down, nutritionally deficient substitute!
Invest in a few relaxation CDs and listen to them as you enjoy a soak in the tub each evening.
Call VIVANDI Trichology Center for more information +971 4 335 3336