It cannot be denied that stress causes havoc with the human body, and some of the physical symptoms can be pretty challenging. Hair loss is a common bodily reaction to stress, and healthcare practitioners know well that their patients consider it one of the most difficult symptoms of stress to accept. That’s why it is so vitally important to manage stress carefully, and that means doing everything you can to bring stress levels down. Losing your hair inevitably causes even more stressful feelings, so preventing this from becoming a vicious circle is paramount.
In the current climate, so many people are feeling their stress levels rising through worry over the pandemic or economic situation. Although this can result in many different physical stress symptoms, if your hair is falling out it is a sure fire sign that you need to lower your stress levels as soon as possible. You certainly are not alone if COVID-19 has caused enough stress to bring on hair loss, but fortunately nobody needs to consider stress-related hair loss a major cause for concern.
Although there is no evidence to suggest that contracting COVID causes hair loss directly, the COVID-19 “Long Hauler” Symptoms Survey Report found that hair loss was a common side effect for those who experiencing long-term COVID symptoms. Doctors believe that this is happening due to physical and emotional stress related to acquiring the virus. The good news is that it is reversible.
In this article we will take a look at why stress causes hair loss, what you can do about it, and what else might be causing you lose some hair.
Why is stress causing your hair loss?
Whether you are recovering from COVID 19 and are under physical stress or you’re worried about any aspect of your life and experiencing emotional stress, the body won’t differentiate. There is a hair loss condition called telogen effluvium, and it is simply your body’s natural reaction to stress. When under such stress, after a few months your body hair switches to the resting phase (also known as the telogen phase) of its hair growth cycle, which results in losing hair.
So generally speaking, if you’re losing hair through stress, it’s because your body is focusing more on maintaining other essential bodily functions. When your hair is shedding because of telogen effluvium, you can expect to lose around 300 to 400 strands of hair each day. This is quite a lot more than the normal amount of approximately 100 hairs. Furthermore, this can go on for around 6 months - but rest assured there is no need to worry. The condition is reversible because as soon as you lower your stress levels, your body can start to recover its former balance.
What to do when you’re losing your hair
Coping with hair loss can be as simple as changing perspective and a few simple daily habits. The first thing to note is that because of the temporary nature of telogen effluvium, one way or another your hair is coming back; you are certainly not going bald. Of course if you lose a noticeable amount of hair, you might need to wait a while for your hair to regain its original lustre and fullness… but it will happen – even if it takes a year. It can be very helpful to keep this in mind so that the hair loss itself does not become a new source of stress.
Another important method of preventing hair loss is to remove as many stressors as you can from your life. Even if the world outside is not changing in a hurry, how you perceive it and what you do from day to day can make all the difference. For instance, although you need to spend more time at home you do not have to focus constantly on the problems that are causing your stress.
It can help to commit to some of the following ways of reducing stress each day:
- Limit (or totally stop) watching negative projections in the news for a while
- Get out of the house as much as possible and into fresh air and nature
- Take regular calming exercise (such as yoga) inside or outside the house
- Find ways to calm yourself, like reading or meditation
- Spend a portion of every day doing something you enjoy
- Develop a healthy lifestyle and diet to give your hair the nutrients it needs
- Cut down on stress-inducing habits like caffeine addiction or smoking
What about other causes of hair loss?
You may have telogen effluvium caused by stress, but in order to be sure this is the cause, you may need a Doctor’s diagnosis. Your Doctor will want to eliminate other possible reasons for hair loss, likely through a blood test that can rule out thyroid issues and nutritional deficiencies, for instance. They might ask questions about stressful factors or events in your life in order to ascertain that stress is the cause of your hair shedding.
Whatever the cause of your hair loss, it certainly won’t be helped if you are feeling stressed out.
Stress causes hair loss, and that is a proven fact. So the bottom line is that you need to do all you can to stay calm and balanced in all areas of your life. Time changes everything, since nothing stays the same forever… and that includes the causes of your stress as well as the results of world events or ailments. It helps to keep this in mind so that you can focus on positive solutions, safe in the knowledge that eventually you are going to feel better and your hair is going to grow back.