Stress causes hair loss in women

health May 21, 2021
Photo by shahin khalaji / Unsplash

Nowadays everyone loses hair. According to the American Academy of Dermatology, it’s normal to lose between 50 and 100 hairs a day. This shedding is quiet normal and temporary, but continuous stress may result in long-lasting hair fall. Stress and hair loss can be related.

A normal head contains about 120,000-150,000 strands of hair. Typically, people shed about 100 hairs a day

It is hard to imagine modern life without stress. People who live in cities and towns are exposed to several stressful situations every day such as deadlines at work, irritation with traffic, complicated relationships, financial problems and news we see on TV. This constant psychological tension negatively affects human health causing various problems including hair loss.

It is the fact that women take care of their hair more thoroughly and notice hair loss quicker than men.

Stress causes hair loss. Stress also causes hormonal imbalance and it may lead to serious problems with hair.

The most common causes of stress that lead to hair loss in women are

Physical stress: surgery, illness, anemia, rapid weight change.
Emotional stress: mental illness, death of a family member.
Thyroid abnormalities.
Medications: High doses of Vitamin A, Blood pressure and Gout medications.
Hormonal causes: pregnancy, birth control pills, and menopause

Emotional stress and hair loss are closely connected. Emotional stress can also lead to physiological stress. Due to stress, person may not take food properly, loses weight or not sleep well. All of these things cause physiological stress and an imbalance in body system. The body simply shuts down the production of hair during periods of stress.

Under stress, the body systems start working incorrectly. Capillaries on scalp contract and do not nourish the hair follicles with the needed amount of blood.

Short-term, everyday stress is not going to affect the body in such a way that the hair falls out.

If stress is chronic, hair bulbs become weak and after some time fall out. In addition, new hair that grows on their place will also be weak and unhealthy.

Temporary stress badly affects the health. It causes immunity disorders and does not allow the hair to grow shiny and strong.

Anxiety on a cloudy day (I).
Photo by Elsa Tonkinwise / Unsplash

Three types of hair loss are associated with high stress levels. They are:

Telogen effluvium. In this type, stress pushes large numbers of hair follicles into a resting phase. Within a few months, affected hairs fall out suddenly when simply combing or washing the hair.

Trichotillomania.It is an irresistible desire to pull out hair from the scalp. Hair pulling can be a way of dealing with negative or uncomfortable feelings, such as stress, tension, loneliness, boredom or frustration.

Alopecia areata –Due to severe stress, immune system attacks the hair follicles — causing hair loss.
The most common type of hair loss seen in women is androgenetic alopecia, also known as female pattern alopecia or baldness and it is most commonly seen after menopause.
When the above causes of stress are reversed or altered normal hair growth returns in women.
Our body has a tendency to regenerate itself, so in most cases, if stress is lessened, hair will restore within 6-8 months.

Hair loss could be a sign of underlying illnesses, such as diabetes and heart disease. It can have negative effects on social life and may also lead to depression. So hair loss should not be neglected.

Stress related hair loss can be reduced by promoting hair growth and reducing hair shedding. This can be done by following simple methods such as Meditation, a good laugh, listening to music, a brisk walk, dancing or jumping jacks.

All these help promote mood-boosting brain chemicals, enabling to deal better with stress.


A. Sandhya

M.Sc Zoology

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