You may have heard that stress can cause hair loss, and it’s true.
The condition of our hair can be a strong indication of how well we’re adapting to a certain situation in life.
Excessive physical or emotional stress can cause one of two types of hair loss. In most cases, stress-induced hair loss is temporary but hair loss treatments can help in addressing the symptoms whilst the cause is being dealt with.
Telogen Effluvium appears as generalised thinning throughout the whole scalp and occurs when sudden or severe stress such as a divorce, a lost job, a death in the family, or even childbirth causes an increase in the shedding of the hair. Telogen effluvium is a condition most often seen in women presenting with thinning hair, due to the fact that other precipitating events are more often experienced by women. The reason for so much hair fall is because an excessive amount of hair follicles are pushed into the resting (telogen) stage at once after being held in the growing (anagen) phase of their lifecycle longer than usual.
Telogen Effluvium can be confusing because although some people may notice hair loss during extreme periods of stress, it is more likely that the hair loss will first be noticed after the stressful period has passed. The hair stays in the resting phase for about three months before they’re shed. However, stress induced hair loss is usually temporary in nature and in most cases, once the cause is eliminated the hair growth pattern will return to normal within six months and new hair growth will be visible. It’s all to do with the basics of hair growth.
“Telogen effluvium will often correct itself but it can take months,” Leonora Doclis, senior trichologist at The Belgravia Centre says. “Treatment for the loss of hair can help to minimise the damage, particularly if there is a tendency toward female pattern hair loss whilst the body is dealing with the crisis.”
Alopecia areata is a more extreme form of hair loss, characterised by the sudden appearance of patchy, smooth bald spots over the scalp. No one knows much about what causes alopecia areata but it is classified as an autoimmune condition where white blood cells attack the hair follicles, and can be triggered by stress. Although people who develop the condition may have other autoimmune disorders such as a thyroid condition.
Hair loss due to alopecia areata might cure itself or it might progress, possibly even leading to complete baldness over the head (alopecia totalis) or even over the whole body (alopecia universalis), however both of these cases are extremely rare. The effects can be seen overnight but hair may grow back. It can grow back on its own, but treatment may also be required.
“The rule of thumb is that if it hasn’t grown back in six months, then it’s time to consider treatment,” explains Leonora.
Treating Stress-Induced Hair Loss
The best way to deal with stress-related hair loss is to learn how to manage your stress levels before they affect your hair growth patterns. However, this is easier said than done – particularly if the stress is physical and caused by something out of your control, such as an underlying illness – and sometimes the added stress of losing your hair is just too much to cope with.
There are hair loss treatment options for stress-induced shedding, but the first step before treatment – if needed – can begin, is to get a professional diagnosis. It is possible for one or more hair loss conditions to present simultaneously so it is vital to know exactly what is causing the problem in order to tackle it most effectively.
One point worth noting here is that stress and temporary conditions such as Telogen Effluvium can be particularly significant for anyone with a genetic predisposition to Male Pattern Baldness or Female Pattern Hair Loss – even if it has not yet become active. These hereditary conditions can be worsened or have their premature onset triggered by both these factors, however, they can also be treated, with clinically-proven, MHRA licensed and FDA approved medications being well-established for these conditions.
At Belgravia our hair specialists will carry out an assessment and provide not only a diagnosis, but also recommendations for a tailored treatment course based on their findings and the individual client’s medical profile. Ongoing monitoring and advice is important so that progress can be checked and the treatment adjusted if necessary. When it comes to hair loss caused by stress, it is also important to try to solve the underlying problem for general health reasons as well as treating your hair loss.
The Belgravia Centre is the leader in hair loss treatment in the UK, with two clinics based in Central London. If you are worried about hair loss you can arrange a free consultation with a hair loss expert or complete our Online Consultation Form from anywhere in the UK or the rest of the world. View our Hair Loss Success Stories, which are the largest collection of such success stories in the world and demonstrate the levels of success that so many of Belgravia’s patients achieve. You can also phone 020 7730 6666 any time for our hair loss helpline or to arrange a free consultation.