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Is Stress Causing You to Go Bald?
by April Maguire
We've all heard that stress can make you lose your hair. On the surface, it seems like a pretty far-fetched claim. After all, how could living with daily stressors cause such a stark physical reaction? On the other hand, such a widely held belief must be grounded in some kind of truth, right?
So can stress cause you to go bald? As it turns out, the answer is a little more complicated than a simple yes or no.
Different Types of Stress
It doesn't matter who you are, life is pretty stressful. Between going to work, paying bills, maintaining personal relationships, caring for loved ones and dealing with whatever curveballs life throws your way, there are a ton of daily responsibilities that could cause you stress. Fortunately, however, these aren't typically the kind of stresses that can cause your hair to fall out.
The reason that these types of stressors are generally benign, at least as far as your hair is concerned, is that they don't elicit a physiological response. Sure, living with daily stress isn't necessarily fun, but it doesn't affect your body enough to cause your hair to fall out.
However, there are stressors that can evoke this type of response. If, for example, you've recently lost a loved one, you've been in an accident or you're going through divorce, this type of extreme stress could be enough to cause changes to your body. During particularly trying times, the hormones in our bodies change, which could interrupt the hair cycle. Moreover, in severely stressful periods, we're likely to eat and sleep less, both of which can also result in physical changes, such as hair loss.
Throwing the Body Off Balance
Typically, this hair loss occurs because the change in body chemistry upsets the hair's normal growth cycle. Contrary to what you may think, your hair doesn't continuously grow all the time. Instead, it goes through three distinct phases – growing, resting and shedding. Stress-related hair loss occurs when the resting phase is prolonged and a new hair doesn't begin to grow in its place.
We can actually see similar effects through other physiological changes. For example, women sometimes experience hair loss after starting a new oral contraceptive. Also, giving birth has been shown to throw off the hormones within the body enough to cause hair loss. Additionally, infections have been known to cause hair to stop growing.
But if you're experiencing stress-related hair loss, there is good news. Most of the time, this type of hair loss is short-lived. Once enough time has passed, your body's physiology will return to normal, and your hair should begin growing normally again.
If you or someone you know would like to learn more about hair loss and how to treat it, please feel free to schedule a consultation or contact one of our representatives today!