Stress. It's a tricky little bodily phenomenon that can wreck your health and productivity if you let it take over. What causes stress? A lot of things actually, from bad posture to sleep deprivation to being an actual alien from deep space sent here to conquer the Earth.
Stress is what happens when your body’s natural reaction to a situation or event that you find unsettling, over stimulating, or demanding--in other words, when the demands of your life exceed the resources you have to cope with them. We all feel stress at times, and in small amounts it's not necessarily bad for you. It can remind you to pay attention and motivate you to solve problems. But it's important to manage stress so that it doesn't become overwhelming. Stress becomes a problem when it gets out of control and interferes with your daily life. Then it may be making you sick.
When we're under stress, we may encounter a host of physical and emotional symptoms: racing pulse, muscle tension or weakness, headaches, upset stomach and chronic pain. These are some of the short-term manifestations of stress; long-term effects include high blood pressure and heart disease.
Stress and hair loss go hand in hand. Although not as severe as cardiovascular disease, obesity, and mental illness, hair loss is one of the more common consequences of stress, and it happens to leave most of its victims embarrassed, concerned, and isolated. Fortunately, hair loss due to stress is temporary if you take the appropriate measures. Here are 5 factors that cause hair fall due to stress and what you can do to get your hair back.
- Hormonal Stress
Hormones are all around us. They drive our daily rhythms and coordinate a multitude of functions in the brain, heart, organs and glands, as well as in muscles, bones and skin. They regulate metabolism, growth and development, body temperature and even behavior.
The "big three" — estrogen, progesterone and testosterone — are the ones that cause the most problems when they're not working right. These three hormones are typically what doctor’s test first when assessing your hormonal health, because they stimulate most of the other glands in your endocrine system
When women reach menopause, their body undergoes a series of changes that may lead to symptoms of hair loss due to stress. A drop in estrogen levels means that the scalp isn't getting enough nourishment and stimulation, which can lead to thinning hair and bald spots.
- Physical Stress
Physical stress is a common cause of hair loss. The relationship between the hair follicle and the body is very close and can be affected by a whole range of physical conditions and events. Excessive levels of cortisol in your body can occur when you experience physical trauma such as a car accident or sports injury. This kind of stress triggers your body to release too much cortisol, which irritates the hair follicles, causing them to become inflamed and stop growing healthy new hairs.
- Infections and illness
Many of us are unaware that when we experience physical stress, this is often the biggest trigger for hair loss. Chronic diseases, like diabetes and heart disease, and autoimmune disorders (lupus and thyroid problems for example) are often linked to hair thinning and balding. Did you know bacterial and viral infections can also negatively impact your ability to grow new hair? These diseases and illnesses, put the body under increased levels of stress, which in turn draws disproportionately higher amounts of vital nutrients, oxygen, and healing cells than they are normally distributed in the body. This in turn leads to nutrition for hair follicles being compromised resulting in hair loss!
- Chronic Stress
Chronic stress is a state of prolonged activation of the body’s stress response systems, along with negative cognitive and emotional changes. While acute stress responses have beneficial effects on cognition, immune function and behavior, chronic stress has been linked to depression, anxiety, memory loss and cognitive decline.
You'd think with the current work from home scenario for a lot of us, we are spared from the effects of chronic stress. Unfortunately, that's not true. You see, while it is true that working at home allows you to stay away from the stressors at the office and get some peace and quiet, it also means there are fewer opportunities for release.
People with chronic stress often lose their hair thickness and health and struggle to get it back because their bodies are chronically in a crisis mode.
- Emotional Stress
We are emotional beings. We use our mind and heart in all our decisions. Our bodies are inseparable from our minds and emotions. Thus, it should be no surprise that emotional stress can also lead to problems like hair loss. Many people will find they lose a significant amount of hair following an emotionally traumatic event, such as divorce, loss of a loved one, and major life changes. Hair loss related to this type of stress is known as telogen effluvium, which is a temporary condition where people lose hair about 3 months following an emotional event.
Treatment for hair loss due to stress
Hair loss triggered by physical or emotional stress usually stops on its own after the stressful situation has ended. Here are some things you can do to promote regrowth until the stress-related hair loss subsides:
- Avoid more exposure to the source of the stress if possible. If your job is causing you anxiety and is leading to hair loss, try talking with your boss about changing your schedule or trying a new position within the company.
- Ask your doctor about remedies for hair loss.
- Medications used to treat conditions related to stress—such as hypertension (high blood pressure), anxiety, depression, migraine headaches and menopause—can slow hair growth or stop it altogether. Talk with your doctor before starting any new medications to make sure they don't contribute to hair loss.
- Nutrition – eat foods rich in vitamins B, C and E (nutmeg, green leafy vegetables, avocado, and broccoli), biotin (eggs, sesame seeds) and iron (spinach). Your diet should also be high in protein.
- Exercise – regular exercise helps boost blood circulation which delivers nutrients to your scalp and keeps it healthy. It also helps reduce stress levels and improves overall health which is essential if you're suffering from a physical condition that might be causing your hair to fall out.
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