Does Stress Cause Hair Loss?

Have you ever had a parent or teacher tell you that you were making their hair fall out? This comment comes from the idea that too much stress can actually make your hair fall out. But can that really happen? While a little bit of stress won't send your hair falling out in clumps, the two can be related. According to Mayo Clinic, three types of hair loss have been linked to elevated stress levels: telogen effluvium, trichotillomania, and alopecia areata.

Telogen effluvium refers to the phenomenon of hair follicles entering a resting phase due to significant levels of stress. After a few months, the affected hair strands often fall out suddenly. Trichotillomania is the urge to pull out your hair and can be triggered by things like stress, loneliness, and frustration. Alopecia areata can be caused by many factors, and stress is believed to be one of them. This condition occurs when the body's immune system targets hair follicles and causes hair to fall out. While it is not very common, stress can indeed cause hair loss.

Other effects of ongoing stress

While some stress is natural and healthy, chronic stress causes a variety of negative health issues. Stress causes physical, emotional, and behavioral symptoms (via Cleveland Clinic). Physical symptoms include aches and pains, increase heart rate, fatigue, dizziness, and high blood pressure. Some people also deal with stomach problems, a weakened immune system, and sexual dysfunction. Emotional symptoms of stress include anxiety, irritability, depression, and panic attacks in more serious cases. Behavioral symptoms include avoiding responsibilities, increased nervous behaviors, and changes in appetite.

If you have been experiencing chronic stress, don't give up hope. There are many ways to manage your stress levels. Regular exercise has been shown to be very beneficial, as well as relaxing activities like meditation and yoga. If you are having a hard time dealing with stress, speak with your healthcare provider. Some medications can help, as well as professional practices like therapy.