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Stress and Hair Loss – Are They Related?

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

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 female hair loss cases, 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.

Hair Loss Due to StressTelogen 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 of 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

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,” Leonora said.

Treating Stress-Induced Hair Loss

Stress and Hair LossThe best way to deal with stress induced 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 and sometimes the added stress of losing hair is just too much to cope with. Treating hair loss with proven and effective treatments can help soften the blow whilst you try to get the rest of your life back on track.

Propecia and minoxidil are the only products to be FDA approved for hair loss, meaning there have been vigorous clinical trials carried out to prove their effectiveness and efficacy beyond doubt.  The effective treatment of stress-induced hair loss requires a combined approach and hair growth boosters can further augment the effectiveness of hair loss treatments. 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 Europe’s largest hair loss clinic, successfully treating thousands of people every year. Established in 1991, Belgravia’s goal is to provide the most effective treatments and professional service at the best price. For a free consultation contact the centre on 020 7730 6666 or email the centre for more information. Hair loss treatment courses are also available online upon completion of an online diagnosis.

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