Stress and Hair Loss


| 6 Comments
My grandma always used to tell me not to become too stressed because my hair would fall out. It would scare me because I love my hair, but I never really believed her.  Now, during my freshman year of college with a lot of changes occurring, I have been feeling stressed and this made me wonder, does stress really cause your hair to fall out?

Before I continue, it is important to note that it is normal to lose anywhere between fifty and one hundred hairs a day because of hair's cycle.  Just because you see some hairs in the drain or your brush doesn't mean you are "losing hair." 

I happened upon several articles on the Internet that conclude that stress can potentially cause hair loss.  I was a little nervous after confirming the relationship.  Dr. Daniel K. Hall-Flavin, M.D., explains that certain conditions that can stem from high stress levels can have the symptom of hair loss.  The conditions that Hall-Flavin describes include alopecia areatatelogen effluvium, and trichotillomania. Each are thought to be caused by high stress.To quickly summarize each condition, alopecia areata is sometimes caused by severe stress causing white blood cells to attack hair follicles and stop growth.  Telogen effluvium is caused by stress and places growing hairs in a resting state where they are susceptible to falling out at a later time.  Trichotillomania is when stress causes the person to have an uncontrollable to pull out their own hairs.  Scary stuff, I know. This should give us all motivation to pay strict attention to our stress levels. Sudden hair loss can also be a sign of serious medical conditions such as thyroid problems. 

Unfortunately, hair loss causation does not stop at stress.  ABC News researched hair loss in women and discuss that in addition to stress, hair loss can occur after pregnancy, dramatic weight loss, major surgery, and it can also be hereditary or caused my certain medications.  Fortunately, ABC also offers some prevention and treatment options in their article.  Reducing anxiety and paying attention to your stress levels is important and if medication is potentially the cause, talking to a physician is recommended. With hereditary hair loss, the process can be slowed by applying minoxidil.  
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6 Comments

I found this particularly interesting because, although my hair is extremely thick, my dad has been balding since I was a little girl. I never thought too much about it, except that I would worry my children will inherit his genes and be bald, too. I was interesting as to why he was balding, and has been for as long as I can remember. So, I looked up some of the symptoms of trichotillomania however, unfortunately, that does not seem to be the case. I looked up the other possibilities mentioned too, however those too seemed unlikely. I'm not sure that baldness runs in my family, but I am sure that Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) does. My grandfather, sister, me and my dad all have it. So, it got me to thinking. Maybe my dad's hair loss is due to his OCD? Maybe all of his daily stress from it is causing him to lose his hair. So, I'm wondering if it is purely stress that could be causing his hair loss, or is there some OCD/hair loss link that I'm just not finding? If my kids do not have OCD, will this prevent them from balding? I guess it comes down to either correlation of causation, and in this instance I'm just not sure which it is. Does my dad happen to be bald and have OCD, or is he bald because of his OCD? I researched for the answer, and unfortunately could not find anything, but it definitely does make me think.

I found this particularly interesting because, although my hair is extremely thick, my dad has been balding since I was a little girl. I never thought too much about it, except that I would worry my children will inherit his genes and be bald, too. I was interesting as to why he was balding, and has been for as long as I can remember. So, I looked up some of the symptoms of trichotillomania however, unfortunately, that does not seem to be the case. I looked up the other possibilities mentioned too, however those too seemed unlikely. I'm not sure that baldness runs in my family, but I am sure that Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) does. My grandfather, sister, me and my dad all have it. So, it got me to thinking. Maybe my dad's hair loss is due to his OCD? Maybe all of his daily stress from it is causing him to lose his hair. So, I'm wondering if it is purely stress that could be causing his hair loss, or is there some OCD/hair loss link that I'm just not finding? If my kids do not have OCD, will this prevent them from balding? I guess it comes down to either correlation of causation, and in this instance I'm just not sure which it is. Does my dad happen to be bald and have OCD, or is he bald because of his OCD? I researched for the answer, and unfortunately could not find anything, but it definitely does make me think.

I am glad you wrote about this, embarrassingly enough last semester I noticed that one of my eyebrows was not growing in as thick as the other. I went to the doctor to get it checked out and I was diagnosed with alopecia. The frustrating part is there really is no explanation as to why alopecia happens. Stress has been linked but it is not always the reason. I had thyroid tests done and they came back negative. The next question they asked was about my diet. I am a vegetarian and I have been my entire life. When I went to college, my mother made sure I took my vitamins with me to make sure I got the proper nutrience. It turns out I had been taking too much iron in my supplemented diet that was causing my eyebrow hair loss. http://www.irondisorders.org/symptoms this website helped me look at the symptoms that led me to stop taking the iron supplement. I believe that hair loss could be a combination between stress and nutritional diet.

I tried to find a connection between hair loss and OCD but unfortunately the only information I could find was a link between OCD and trichotillomania, which is not the case with your dad. It could possibly just be male-pattern baldness or stress, but I found no sources stating that hair loss is a direct symptom of OCD.

I also have had health issues relating to nutrition in the past so I found the iron disorders quite interesting. I get migraines that have several different triggers but sudden changes in diet and if I eat too much cheese or chocolate can trigger a crippling migraine, much like how too much iron can cause hair loss. Very interesting.

I am always losing hair and now it makes a little bit more sense..I am a lot more stressed now then i ever was before. On the other hand though, there are many other reasons why we lose hair as you stated in your initial post. I started to question if hair can fall out because hair dye and bleach. It is found that if you over process your hair and dye it an excessive amount of times without leaving much time in between each dye then it is likely to fall out. (Not all of it) The hair will not just fall out but a lot of the time it will "break" because of too many chemicals that were left in for a long period of time. This is why when you go to the hair salon the stylist only dyes the roots for the full amount of time and then applies the rest of the dye to the rest of the hair right before you wash it out. Bleach is obviously the worse thing you could do to your hair because of the large quantity of chemicals in it. So, when you are looking to dye your hair from dark to blonde...think again.

I am always losing hair and now it makes a little bit more sense..I am a lot more stressed now then i ever was before. On the other hand though, there are many other reasons why we lose hair as you stated in your initial post. I started to question if hair can fall out because hair dye and bleach. It is found that if you over process your hair and dye it an excessive amount of times without leaving much time in between each dye then it is likely to fall out. (Not all of it) The hair will not just fall out but a lot of the time it will "break" because of too many chemicals that were left in for a long period of time. This is why when you go to the hair salon the stylist only dyes the roots for the full amount of time and then applies the rest of the dye to the rest of the hair right before you wash it out. Bleach is obviously the worse thing you could do to your hair because of the large quantity of chemicals in it. So, when you are looking to dye your hair from dark to blonde...think again.

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