Is stress and anxiety causing you to experience hair loss?
If you have begun to encounter hair loss symptoms that appear to have come out of nowhere, they could have been caused by stress or anxiety.
This type of hair loss can feel like a ‘catch 22’ situation due to stress causing hair loss and hair loss causing further stress. This seemingly never-ending cycle is thought to be caused by how your body responds to stress and anxiety.
When you are under stress or are left feeling anxious about various situations, your body jumps into action and produces a hormone called cortisol, more commonly known as ‘the stress hormone’. Although this is a completely natural response, when the situation you are in doesn’t improve and you’re left feeling stressed or anxious over a long period of time, this can cause your cortisol levels to become depleted.
Studies on stress related hair loss have concluded that both high and low cortisol levels, can have a significant impact on your body’s hair growth cycles.
Low Cortisol Levels have been linked to fatigue of the adrenal gland (the gland that produces hormones). Adrenal fatigue has not been officially classed as a ‘medical condition’ due to lack of definitive evidence to support theories however, many health professionals believe the condition to still exist.
The theory suggests that when you experience prolonged stress and anxiety, your cortisol levels and other hormone levels will fall. As the body struggles to regulate, the hormones that are directly responsible for hair growth, such as testosterone, are altered and cause hair loss.
High Cortisol Levels have also been linked to hair loss, due to the body prioritising hormone production over other hormones. The issues caused by both high and low cortisol levels are similar in nature and symptoms. The common denominator for these two contradictory problems is that they are both affected by stress and anxiety.
Types of stress related hair loss
Symptoms may appear in different forms and extremities, however the most common types of hair loss connected to stress are as follows;
Alopecia Areata – A fast-moving, quick loss of hair that usually involves larger clumps coming from your scalp.
Trichotillomania – A type of condition where the sufferer pulls their own hair out, sometimes without being aware of their own actions,
Telogen Effluvium – A type of condition where your hair growth cycle is incorrectly adjusted by the body, causing more hairs to fall out than usual,
All of the mentioned types of hair loss are caused or worsened by prolonged stress and/or anxiety. The ‘keyword’ you should focus on is ‘prolonged’. You are unlikely to lose hair over single events that cause stress, and according to WebMD you should ‘be aware of situations where you are losing sleep, appetites change, etc as these cause your stress hormones to work overtime.
Many who experience hair loss are unaware their body is experiencing stress and only when symptoms are apparent to they begin to address the underlying issues. Being aware of common stressors can help you proactively manage you stress levels prior to hair loss becoming apparent.
Common stressors to watch out for include:
– Changes in your nutrition such as a strict, low-calorie diet,
– Hormonal changes following childbirth like lower levels of estrogen,
– Undergoing major surgery,
– Severe illness,
– Infections that require medication,
– Body temperature changes such as high fevers,
It is also worth noting the common delay between particularly stressful events and symptoms of hair loss becoming apparent. This is due to a natural delay that occurs in hair growth cycles between your stopping growing, and the point at which hair actually falls away. This delay has commonly become known as the ‘3-month rule’ and in most cases, you can trace back the hair loss 3 months, and find the stressor causing symptoms.
Dealing with stress related hair loss.
Unfortunately, when it comes to stress and anxiety related ailments, there is no such thing as a ‘quick-fix’. There have been many studies conducted on stress related hair symptoms, and the general consensus appears to be that the sufferer should focus on trying to reduce stress levels and deal with issues that have led to the symptoms being experienced.
As previously stated, many sufferers did not recognise signals that their body was experiencing prolonged stress, and did not understand how this could impact them. Proactively managing your stress levels, especially when you are particularly susceptible, can help you avoid stress and anxiety related symptoms.
There are many ways which you can reduce stressors in your life, some of the common recommended strategies include;
– Getting active and taking part in some physically demanding activities,
– Taking ownership of the issues causing you stress,
– Put in place steps to take control of your problems,
– Engage with others such as friends, family members, support groups, etc
– Give yourself time to ‘switch-off’ and enjoy some ‘you time’
– Challenge yourself and push yourself to achieve new goals and give yourself aims,
– Avoid unhealthy habits such as smoking, caffeine and alcohol,
– Accept things you can’t change and move past them,
Types of Treatment
Although pro-actively managing your stress levels are a fantastic way to avoid hair loss symptoms appearing, sometimes you will experience symptoms and will need to seek out further treatment.
We specialise in providing support and treatment to those who are experiencing a multitude of hair loss symptoms and our expert team are on hand to provide advice, diagnose symptoms and recommend treatment.
As specialists in Dermotrichology (the study of the hair and scalp), we have a variety of affordable treatments designed to treat hair and scalp problems and tackle hair loss symptoms.
Our treatments and services offer full-service hair and scalp packages from diagnosis through to treatment. These include;
– Hair consultations, to enable us to diagnose severity of symptoms, causes, and recommend appropriate treatment,
– Kapyderm products, from the leasing supplier of specialist hair and scalp treatments,
– Low-level laser therapy, providing fast, effective and pain free treatment at our specialist hair loss clinics,
– At-home laser treatment, such as the iHelmet designed to provide you with a convenient way to treat your symptoms anywhere,
– Genetic hair testing, designed to test your predisposition to hair loss through analysing your DNA.
Contact us today to find out how our team of experts can help you.