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Can stress cause hair loss?

stress-hair-loss

We all experience stress, though levels and types of stressors are different for everyone. The trauma from major stress can cause hair loss. This is typically determined the cause after ruling out other potential causes. The medical term for this is “Telogen Effluvium” (TE).  This form of alopecia is when hair loss occurs due to stress, shock, or a traumatic event.

Hair loss may not become apparent for three to five months after a stressful event depending on where you are at in the hair cycle. During a single hair cycle, growing hairs convert into shedding hairs. Both are different processes within the hair growth cycle.

TE is typically temporary and hair should start to grow back once the stressful event has resolved and the hair follicles resume a normal cycle again. Hair growth after TE can take several months to return.

How is TE diagnosed?

Telogen effluvium can be diagnosed by a doctor through various tests such as biopsy, physical exam or pull test.

A “pull test” is when the provider wraps their thumb and index finger around about sixty hairs and gently pulls upwards. A positive pull test would remove 3 or more hairs.

Other causes of TE

High stress is usually the common factor for TE but other common causes of hair loss include low iron, thyroid irregularities, crash diets and medications.

How can I prevent TE?

TE can sometimes be difficult to prevent because it is hard to prepare the body for stressful or traumatic situations. However, many medical causes for hair loss can avoided. Medical causes listed above are iron deficiencies, crash diets (sudden weight loss) and thyroid irregularities are all things that can be monitored or treated right away.

How can TE be treated?

While you are waiting for the hair cycle to return to normal there are a few therapies that can be helpful. Rogaine or Minoxidil are topical over-the-counter medications that treat hair loss. Supplements rich in hair growth vitamins are also helpful. We recommend taking Nutrafol supplements for at least 3 months.

To learn more about stress-induced hair loss and treatments, please call (801)776-2220 or contact us HERE.

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