9 Stressful Life Events that Cause Hair Loss in Women

an obviously angry woman

You used to have shampoo-commercial-worthy hair. But at the peak of your career and family life, your beautiful crowning glory started to thin out.You desperately tried hair-thickening products that didn’t seem to work. Frustrated, you’re now on a hunt for an effective hair loss treatment for women.

Even though it affects both genders, hair loss is more distressing for women. A 2012 National Institutes of Health study reveals that 29% of women who experienced hair loss had symptoms of depression. Indeed, losing your hair can seriously hurt your emotional well-being.

To know how to prevent hair loss, get to the root of the problem first. Start by defining the life events that may bring forth thinning hair to women.

Can stress really lead to hair loss among women?

stressed woman at work

Being a career woman is a tough job. On top of juggling your responsibilities at home and work, you also have to look great to impress potential clients and employers, including having healthy hair.

Hair loss is your body’s response to stress. When stressed out, your body stops growing hair to focus its resources on healing and recovery. This causes your hair to fall out.

What factors increase stress and hair loss in women?

1. A Life Event that Stirs an Intense Emotional Turmoil

a woman with tears in her eyes

Are you going through a rough patch lately? Your fallen hair strands would show it.

Stressful life events cause hormonal changes that interrupt your hair’s growth cycle. This hair loss phenomenon is called telogen effluvium, which starts shortly after the life-altering event and goes on for months. However, you can grow your hair back as soon as the stress is under control.

2. Habitual Hair-pulling is an Alarming Thing

a woman sitting alone at a table

Stressful situations drive some women to pull their hair out repeatedly, resulting in bald patches. Called trichotillomania, it’s an impulsive way to deal with negative feelings such as anxiety, frustration or exhaustion. If you’re experiencing this, consider getting a hair loss treatment that involves behavioral or cognitive therapy.

3. The Change of Motherhood Called Postpartum Stress

mother with her baby
Hormonal changes cause a new mother’s hair to thin out. During pregnancy, hormonal levels are higher, preventing female hair loss. But after delivery, hormonal levels go down, and so does mom’s hair.
Hair shedding starts 3 months after childbirth and lasts until your baby’s first year. But if this bothers you, a volumizing shampoo and conditioner as a hair loss solution may do the trick. You may also opt to seek a professional hair loss treatment.

4. Diseases that Weaken the Immune System

woman blows her nose into a handkerchief

Unbearable work demands and pressure can take a toll on your health. When you’re sick, your body experiences hormonal imbalance that destroys hair follicles. Many illnesses and infections can cause hair loss in women, including the following:

  • Anemia
  • Diabetes
  • Fungal infections
  • High fever
  • HIV
  • Hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism
  • Pituitary gland disorders
  • Prolonged flu
  • Syphilis

These hair loss causes can temporarily lead to thinning of hair. Your hair will start growing again when your body has recovered from an illness. However, when these health conditions get more serious, hair fall may worsen, too.

5. Overwhelming Dosages of Aggressive Medications

a thermometer and medicine

Stress has a domino effect on female hair loss: it makes you sick, and so, you’ll have to take medicines to get better. But then some of the medicines you’re taking might cause your hair to fall out.

Hair loss can be a side effect of certain medications, which can damage the hair follicles and interfere with the normal hair growth cycle.

These medication types are among the common hair loss causes:

  • Antibiotics
  • Anti-clotting drugs
  • Antidepressants
  • Antifungal drugs
  • Antihypertensive drugs
  • Anti-seizure drugs
  • Chemotherapy drugs
  • Cholesterol-reducing drugs
  • Gout medications
  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs
  • Retinoids and other vitamin A-based drugs
  • Steroids
  • Weight-loss drugs

Check your medications and consult your doctor who may prescribe alternative medications that won’t lead to hair loss.

6. Taking Birth Control Pills has Side Effects

birth control pills

When you take high-androgen oral contraceptives, you’ll be prone to losing hair.

But losing hair due to birth control pills is just temporary—your hair growth will normalize as soon as your scalp adjusts to the new hormonal levels in your body. But if you’re uncomfortable with your thinning hair, you may talk to a hair and scalp expert or consider other birth control methods that don’t affect the body’s hormonal levels.

7. Stress-eating May Affect Hair Growth

a table full of fatty food

You want to look your best to give your career and confidence a boost. So you go to great lengths to achieve a slim figure fast. But then your hair suffers as a result.

A low-calorie diet may help you shed a lot of pounds quickly, but it can also deprive you of nutrients that keep your hair healthy.

Monitor your diet—it may be missing one or more of these vitamins and minerals:

  • Vitamins A, B6, B12, C, D, and E
  • Beta-carotene
  • Calcium
  • Iodine
  • Iron
  • Magnesium
  • Niacin
  • Pantothenic acid
  • Selenium
  • Zinc

8. Sudden or Extreme Weight Loss May Bring Forth Hair Loss

woman loses a lot of weight

Have you lost a lot of pounds and hair lately? Hair loss can come with rapid or excessive weight loss, regardless if it’s caused by fad diets, eating disorders, emotional or physical stress, severe illnesses or weight loss surgeries.

9. Smoking Intensifies Excessive Hair Loss

young woman smoking a cigarette

To relieve stress from work, you take quick yosi breaks. But instead of helping you relax, smoking does the opposite.

Smoking impairs your blood circulation, which is essential to bringing nutrients to your hair. This, and the chemicals in cigarette, are bad for your hair follicles and can lead to premature hair loss.

If you’re tired of seeing fallen hair strands everywhere, quit that toxic habit.

What to Do When Stress Strikes and Hair Fall Turns From Bad to Worse

Reduce stress and prevent hair shedding with a lifestyle overhaul. Also, reach out to friends and loved ones who can support you during tough times.

Being stressed out shouldn’t mean you can’t help yourself regain your lost hair and confidence. Take that first step to managing stress and hair loss by getting to the root of the problem with hair experts like Svenson.

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