Could your hair loss be caused by stress?

Hair loss, which can affect up to 70 per cent of men and 50 per cent of women at some stage of their lives, is usually related to a genetic or medical condition. However, nutrition as well as lifestyle factors such as stress can also have an impact on hair loss conditions, in particular for people with a genetic predisposition to it, says trichologist Kate Dawes from Medical Hair Restoration.

People often come in to see me who are finding that all of a sudden their hair is falling out all over the place. This sudden hair loss, rather than a gradual hair loss is often due to stress.

After talking to the patient for a while I usually find out that they are going through, or have been through a trauma, such as a relationship breakdown. Often, conditions such as alopecia areata or telogen effluvium can be aggravated by stress.

Female hair loss patients referred to her are requested to ask their general practitioner for a comprehensive series of blood tests. The blood tests required are: FBC full blood count, Se Ferritin, TSH- Thyroid Stimulating Hormone, BSL Blood Sugar Level, FSH Follicle Stimulating Hormone, E2 Estradiol & ESR.

Further background is sought to ascertain how long the patient has been suffering hair loss, if the hair loss is noticeable to other people, if it falling out by the roots or breaking and if the loss is patchy or generalised.

Kate also asks patients if there has been any trauma, stress, fever, major operations, child birth or medication in the last two years. It is also important to find out if the patient has a family history of hair loss. Many patients often come in to see her during the recovery phase and all they need is reassurance that their condition will improve. We also consider food supplements and adjunctive therapies to assist relaxation.