You’ve been stressed out for too long and now it seems like there are more hairs on your pillow in the morning and your shower is getting clogged. Are you losing hair because of the stress you’ve been under?
It is possible. Hair loss can be a side effect of stress and is called telogen effluvium. When this happens, your hair is not able to go through its regular cycles and jumps right into telogen, the resting phase, which happens right before a new hair begins to grow. This means your hairs are more susceptible to falling or being pulled out and there’s no hair to immediately replace it.
That said, normal shedding happens all the time and is part of the regular hair cycle. If you’re stressed out, you might think the problem is worse than it actually is. Losing up to a hundred or more strands a day is normal, but hair coming out in clumps could be a signal of stress-related hair loss.
5 Signs of Hair Loss From Stress
If you’re worried that you’re losing hair because of stress, pay attention to these signals to see if that’s the cause or if it’s just natural hair loss. It may take you a few months to notice the hair loss, so you’ll need to think about the last three months or so.
1. Amount of hair: Start keeping track of the hair you’re seeing, it could be natural hair loss.
2. Additional work or school responsibilities: This can be a big stressor and can cause hair loss.
3. Sudden diet changes: If you’ve started or stopped a diet or changed your eating habits drastically, this can stress out your body and cause hair loss, especially if you’re not getting the right nutrition.
4. Emotional stress: An extended period of emotional turmoil or grief can be stressful enough to cause hair loss.
5. Physical stress: Physical stress like an injury or surgery, especially major surgery, puts your body through a lot of stress. There’s usually a lot of emotional stress involved as well, which can cause hair loss.
Ways to Stop Stress-Related Hair Loss
The good news is that stress-related hair loss is usually only temporary—once you’ve removed the stress from your life, your hair will start to grow back. Be patient, as it will take a while to notice it’s growing back, possibly as much as three months.
Reducing stress levels is the best way to deal with this hair loss, but how do you do that? Here are some steps to take:
1. Identify what is causing stress: Can you remove or alleviate the stressor from your life? Or can you find a way to make it less stressful?
2. Exercise: Endorphins released during exercise make you feel better overall and they can distract you from your concerns.
3. Sleep: Stress can cause sleeplessness and not enough sleep can exacerbate stress. Learn some relaxation techniques for bedtime to help you manage night-time stress.
4. Eat healthy: Eating on the run and stress-eating are common when life feels overwhelming, but fueling your body inappropriately can lead to even more stress. Focus on healthy food choices to feel better. This may also include hair vitamins to help increase nutrition.
5. Counseling or therapy: Some stressors are too significant to handle on your own and require help. Therapy or mental health counseling might be what you need to learn to manage your feelings of stress.
While you’re working to reduce stress from your life so you can fight hair loss, remember that worrying about hair loss is going to cause you undue stress. It’s a vicious cycle, but remember that you’re the one at the wheel.
Other Reasons You Could Be Losing Hair
Of course, hair loss is not always a sure sign of stress. However, it’s worth noting that stress-related hair loss may not be caused by stress alone. Often, stress is making another problem that much worse.
Shedding cycle: As we mentioned before, hair goes through a cycle and losing it is part of that cycle. Expect to lose around 100 hairs a day – it’s normal.
Hormonal: Both menopause and pregnancy are big hormonal changes for women and can cause changes in your hair.
Immune disorder: Some immune system problems can cause hair loss as your body attacks its own hair follicles.
Haircare products: The chemicals you put on your hair can cause a variety of bad reactions, such as allergic responses, clogged pores, fungus and more.
Temporary illness: Sometimes a brief illness can wipe out your body, and, while it’s focused on recovering, you lose hair.
Medical treatment: Chemotherapy is notorious for causing hair loss, but other medications and medical treatments can disrupt hair growth too.
Some hair loss on a daily basis is normal and it’s nothing to be concerned about. But if you feel you’re losing too much hair you might have a condition called telogen effluvium, which means hair loss due to stress.
Pay attention to changes in your life over the past several months to see if any of them could have caused you stress. If it is a stress related issue there are things you can do to help alleviate the stress and get your body back into shape.
If the hair loss continues, you should seek medical help as there might be an underlying cause that’s more serious and unrelated to stress.
READ NEXT >> 3 Best Breathing Techniques for Relaxation, Sleep & Stress Relief