Sometimes emotional or physical stress can lead to hair loss, which is a serious concern for most people and something they wish to reverse. However, due to the length of the hair growth cycle, people often only begin losing their hair weeks or months after the stressful event has occurred, and the hair loss can continue for several months afterwards.

Luckily, hair will usually grow back on its own once the source of stress has been removed, but there are several things you can do to help the process along. By easing your stress and taking good care of your hair, you can reduce the effects of hair loss.

1- Familiarize yourself with the types of stress-related hair loss. There are three main types of stress-related hair loss as follows:

  • Telogen effluvium: With telogen effluvium, stress may send a number of hair follicles into a resting phase, stopping the hair from growing. Several months later, the hair attached to the affected follicles may start to fall out suddenly, in greater volume than normal. This is possibly the most common type of stress-related hair loss.
  • Alopecia areata: With alopecia areata, the immune system turns on the hair follicles and causes hair to fall out, sometimes in large chunks. There may be several factors causing this type of hair loss, and stress is suspected to be one of them.
  • Trichotillomania: This condition is very different than the previous two, as it involves a person compulsively pulling out their own hair from their head, their eyebrows, or other areas of their body. A person usually develops this condition as a method of coping with stress, anxiety, depression, loneliness, or boredom.

2- See a doctor to confirm a diagnosis. With each type of hair loss, the exact link between the hair loss and stress is somewhat unclear.

  • While stress will sometimes cause the hair loss directly, other times, the stress makes an existing condition worse. In some cases, the hair loss will cause the stress, rather than the other way around.
  • Although most instances of hair loss will not require any significant medical attention, in some cases the hair loss is not the result of stress (as you might believe), but is in fact a symptom of a more serious underlying issue. Therefore, it important that you see your doctor rather than self-diagnosing.
  • Some of the more serious conditions which can lead to hair loss include hypothyroidism, autoimmune diseases such as lupus and polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). With hypothyroidism and PCOS there are treatment options available which can help hair to grow back. However, with autoimmune related hair loss, the loss is often permanent.

3- Realize that hair will usually grow back on its own. If hair loss is indeed caused by stress, the major focus of treatment should be on minimizing or eliminating that stress.

  • Once the stress is reduced, hair should grow back on its own with no need for drugs or other treatments.
  • The important thing is to have patience. The growth cycle of hair takes time, and it can be a number of months before you see a significant improvement.
  • Just do your best to avoid stressing about the situation, as this will only make things worse. Have faith in your ability of your hair follicles to renew the hair, and you’ll be fine.

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