In this article, recommended hair transplant surgeon Dr. Parsa Mohebi shares his expert advice regarding stress and hair loss.
Many of my hair loss patients who come for their first consultation associate their hair loss to the beginning of a stressful event or season in their lives. Several of these individuals explain they began to notice thinning hair when they moved to a different city or country, went through a divorce, or had difficulties at work or in their personal lives. The situation always revolved around some type of emotional trauma or sudden change of life’s routine pattern. Usually, they have been right in their assessment that these types of events have the potential to accelerate hair loss.
Looking at the situation more critically, hair loss would not have occurred to these same individuals if they were not genetically predisposed to balding. For example, someone at the age of 20 or older, may have the hair loss gene which will cause male or female baldness. From the age 20 and older, if they are involved in a major surgical procedure, a traumatic event, or stressful situation, it can accelerate the hair loss process. So the loss expected to be seen in 10 years could come around much earlier.
Trauma, stress, other medical conditions, or major surgeries may cause hair loss in individuals not prone to lose hair, in the form of hair shedding. This is due to a signal their scalp hair received to push them to the resting phase, or telogen phase. However, the condition is merely temporary, and the missing hair will grow back after the passing of the stressful circumstance, or treatment of the medical condition.
In cases such as these, patients have a condition called telogen effluvium where stress causes a significant number of hair shafts to fall out. We need to remember patients do not lose these follicles permanently and new hairs are produced in just a few weeks to months.
It is my recommendation for individuals in this situation to see a hair restoration specialist and get a full microscopic evaluation completed. From there, a doctor might be able to tell whether or not the individual is experiencing early stages of androgenic alopecia (patterned baldness) or the hair has been lost due to stress.
If baldness is a recent occurrence, medication or other hair loss treatments may help. If there is a case of telogen effluvium without being predisposed to pattern baldness, the individual may simply have to wait and the hair will grow back in only a couple of months.
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