Stress and Female Hair Loss: What You Need to Know


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From a global pandemic to signs of a looming economic recession, to most of us, stress likely feels inevitable. Layer on top of that a difficult job or tough relationships and stress becomes about as likely as a Love is Blind binge — we don’t want to take part, but we just can’t help it. 

We all know that stress can take its toll on our mental health, but it can also affect our physical selves. It can lead to symptoms ranging from insomnia and fatigue, to headaches, a weakened immune system and hormonal havoc. 

But on top of all of that, it can affect our hair. If you’re wondering, “Does stress cause hair loss?” the answer is a biiiig yes.

In this article, we dive into how stress can lead to hair loss, what you can do to help treat stress-related hair loss and — maybe most importantly — what you can do to stop the stress in your life from getting so bad it makes your hair fall out.

Stress and Female Hair Loss: Everything You Need to Know

From a global pandemic to signs of a looming economic recession, to most of us, stress likely feels inevitable. Layer on top of that a difficult job or tough relationships and stress becomes about as likely as a Love is Blind binge — we don’t want to take part, but we just can’t help it. 

We all know that stress can take its toll on our mental health, but it can also affect our physical selves. It can lead to symptoms ranging from insomnia and fatigue, to headaches, a weakened immune system and hormonal havoc. 

But on top of all of that, it can affect our hair. If you’re wondering, “Does stress cause hair loss?” the answer is a biiiig yes.

In this article, we dive into how stress can lead to hair loss, what you can do to help treat stress-related hair loss and — maybe most importantly — what you can do to stop the stress in your life from getting so bad it makes your hair fall out.

(Related: Can Women Use Finasteride For Hair Loss?)

How Does Stress Cause Hair Loss? 

For many women, hair loss does have a hereditary component and is influenced by hormonal and genetic factors — like sensitivity to dihydrotestosterone (DHT).  

But in some cases, external factors — like stress — can affect hair, causing everything from thinning hair and a wider part, to a receding hairlinehair falling out in clumps or even patches of complete hair loss.

If you’re dealing with a toxic boss or recently suffered an illness (like Covid) and you’re noticing more hair at the bottom of your shower drain, you may not be imagining things. 

This type of hair loss is called telogen effluvium, which can disrupt your hair’s natural growth cycle.

Your hair growth cycle involves three different phases, and each hair follicle is at a different point in the cycle at any given time. These phases include the anagen phase (or growth phase), the catagen phase (or transition phase) and the telogen phase (or resting phase).

Telogen effluvium often comes on suddenly and is triggered by a stressful event — like the death of a loved one, a sudden physical illness or crash dieting.  

When this stress occurs, hair in the anagen phase can prematurely enter the telogen phase, causing hair loss. People notice abrupt, diffused hair shedding that affects their entire scalp.

An easy-to-notice example is pregnancy. 

Sure, everyone talks about the “pregnancy glow,” but for many women, even though hair seems extra lush, full and ready for styling while pregnant, things can change postpartum

In the first few months following childbirth, you may notice some significant hair shedding — whether due to hormonal shifts or the underlying stress and lack of sleep that comes with caring for a newborn. That is telogen effluvium.

Even if you’re not caring for a newborn, emotional stress can play a role in anyone’s life. 

Our bodies are triggered to release different hormones, like cortisol and adrenaline, when we experience stress. Whether it be from one too many burpees or a wrenching heartbreak, too much stress can trigger hair loss in the form of telogen effluvium. 

Another type of stress-related hair loss is a hair-pulling disorder known as trichotillomania. It can also be triggered by anxiety and stress, causing some individuals to pull their hair out. 

Symptoms of Stress Hair Loss

The last thing most of us want to see is a clump of hair swirling around the drain — it can quickly turn the upbeat Miley Cyrus we were singing into a full-on downward Adele spiral.

If you’ve been dealing with drain trauma, an unusual amount of strands of hair falling on your pillow (or on the brush after combing) or seeing more of your scalp (especially in bright lighting), you may be experiencing stress hair loss. Here are some common signs of stress-induced hair loss in females:

Diagnosis of telogen effluvium is usually made by a dermatology professional if you shed more than 100 hairs daily or if you don’t quickly regrow the hairs you lose as a result of stress-induced hair loss. 

(Related: How To Stop Hair Loss For Women)

Does Hair Loss from Stress Grow Back?

If you’re here because you’re experiencing stress-related hair loss firsthand and want to know how doomed you are, we have good news: your hair can make a comeback stronger than Rocky Balboa. 

There’re a couple of key steps you can take to restore your crowning glory:  

  • Focus on getting your stress under control

  • Find the right hair loss medication

Just know this: after you’ve treated the root cause of your telogen effluvium, it’s normal for your hair to take three to six months to start growing back.  So, be patient. 

Now, let’s dig into the stuff you really want to know: what exactly can you do to grow your hair back after loss from stress?

Female Hair Loss Treatments

If you’ve found yourself Googling effective hair loss treatments, you’ll typically find two to three medications mentioned more than any others,

  1. Minoxidil. A topical or oral medication, minoxidil will likely be your healthcare provider’s first suggestion. It’s believed to work by increasing the speed at which your hair follicles go into the anagen phase, promoting faster, more effective hair growth. It’s commonly used to treat telogen effluvium. We bet you’ve heard of the common over-the-counter form of minoxidil called Rogaine®. 

  2. Spironolactone. Studies have shown that this once-daily pill can help treat female hair loss and promote new hair growth. A prescription medication, spironolactone blocks androgen production that decreases the amount of DHT, the hormone that causes hair follicles to shrink and hair shafts to become thinner and finer. Like finasteride, spironolactone is typically used to treat androgenetic alopecia but may not be helpful for telogen effluvium. Talk to your dermatology provider to determine if this medication may be right for you.

  3. Finasteride. In its oral, FDA-approved form, finasteride isn’t approved for the treatment of hair loss in women. But as a topical treatment, it’s an easy-to-use spray that helps reduce levels of DHT on the scalp, which is considered, the key hormone responsible for female pattern hair loss. Keep in mind that finasteride may be helpful for those with androgenetic alopecia, but it typically doesn’t work for telogen effluvium. 

This article originally appeared on and was syndicated by

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25 Weight-Loss “Tricks” You Should Stop Immediately

25 Weight-Loss “Tricks” You Should Stop Immediately

When it comes to diet and nutrition, we all want to find “the answer” that will fix our alleged problems. As a result, we often latch onto crazy diet ideas that, in the moment, sound like the perfect solution. But these too-good-to-be-true “solutions” can hurt more than help us in our attempts to achieve weight loss and gain healthy habits.

Here are some of the most common diet myths exposed.


The protein-pushing keto craze sure makes it seem like carbs should be avoided at all costs. But do grains deserve their bad reputation?

“People often say that carbs are fattening,” says Kristin Kirkpatrick, MS, RD, LD. “But complex carbohydrates, like whole grains, are not ‘fattening’ foods.’”

In other words, avoid refined carbohydrates like white bread, rice and processed snacks, but keep those whole grains for a healthy balance.

Getty Images | Sean Gallup

While diet sodas may be a better alternative than their full-sugar counterparts, medical studies are starting to show that the artificial sweeteners may actually cause us to eat more calories later in the day. If you want to keep the fizz and ditch the artificial sweetener, try flavored carbonated water instead.

Getty Images | Scott Olson

Like carbs, the type of fats we eat makes a difference. That, in combination with how many calories we eat each day, determines our body weight. Trans fats, typically found in many fried foods, can cause cardiovascular disease. However, saturated fats do not have the same effect and can, in fact, help keep us satisfied longer, leading to fewer calories consumed.

Getty Images | Lisa Lake

Maybe you’ve only been eating the egg whites to avoid raising your cholesterol. Well, maybe you don’t have to anymore.

“Unless you are genetically predisposed to high cholesterol or cardiovascular disease, eating the eggs AND yolks can actually help you,” says Darin Hulslander, CEO and owner of DNS Performance and Nutrition. “For one, yolks are high in antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals. Egg yolks also elevate high-density lipoproteins, which are the ‘good’ proteins that can help remove plaque from the arteries.”

If you count calories, you might think losing weight is as simple as staying under a certain number every day. Unfortunately, this is not necessarily true. You can eat 200 calories of lean protein or 200 calories of chocolate, but the body processes each differently. Depending on what you eat, your body can store or burn more calories. So, use those calories wisely!

Getty Images | Joe Raedle

Reading headlines such as “red meat could lead to cancer” is frightening. And while some studies indicate there is an association with red meat consumption and cancer, it’s important to note that this doesn’t mean it causes cancer. Eating red meat in moderation is not dangerous.

Getty Images | Justin Sullivan

The American Heart Association recommends that people consume less than 1,500 milligrams of sodium (salt) each day. Excessive sodium can lead to high blood pressure. However, this doesn’t mean we have to eat bland food. Use salt in moderation and, if you have high blood pressure, talk with your doctor on the best guidelines for your individual needs.

Getty Images | Justin Sullivan

Sure, peanut butter is a good source of protein and fat. However, you need to be careful about what kind you put in your pantry. Many national brands of peanut butter are filled with extra sugar, fats and preservatives that counteract any health benefits. Check the label and pick up a jar with as few ingredients as possible to get the healthiest version of this favorite snack.

Getty Images | Justin Sullivan

Calories can’t tell time. The time of day of when you eat only matters if you tend to overindulge at the end of the day and eat too many calories. If you happen to eat a late dinner or snack but stay within your normal calorie range for the day, it should all even out in the long run. However, many people mindlessly eat at night because they are bored or tired, and this is what leads to weight gain.

Getty Images | Robin Marchant

This is the one case where all calories are pretty much alike. Multiple studies show that eating the same amount of calories in either a few larger meals or more frequent smaller ones have the same outcome on the body. In other words, this is a case where 1,000 calories in a day are the same, no matter how often you eat during the day.

Getty Images | Steffi Loos

With labels like “Lean Cuisine” and “Healthy Choice,” it’s easy to think that pre-packaged frozen meals are not only convenient but also a better choice to help us in our diet goals. This isn’t always the case. Many of these pre-packaged meals contain too much sodium, which can lead to water retention and bloat. Also, many offer too few calories, which can lead to hunger later on in the day. Check the labels carefully and make sure you’re making the best choice.


When looking to avoid processed carbohydrates, many people reach for wheat or multigrain bread over white. But be careful! Make sure you’re picking up 100% wheat or whole grain bread. Otherwise, you could be just be getting mostly white bread with a little wheat flour mixed in — or even just food coloring to make it look brown!

Getty Images | Spencer Platt

This nutrition myth has been around forever, but it’s just not true for most people. Medical studies show that among extremely active people such as marathon runners and skiers, taking at least 200 milligrams of vitamin C every day can possibly cut the risk of getting a cold in half. But for most people, taking daily vitamin C did not seem to actually reduce the risk of getting a cold.

Getty Images | Jack Taylor

Wouldn’t it be great if there were such a thing as a negative-calorie food? You know, the kind that burns more calories when we eat it than it has? Sadly, there is no such thing, even when it comes to something as healthy as a piece of celery.

“Regardless of the [calories] in the food, you’re always going to be able to get something out of it,” says Stephen Secor, a professor of biological sciences at the University of Alabama.

Getty Images | Sean Gallup

Organic is simply how ingredients are grown, usually pesticide-, herbicide- and insecticide-free. An organic label does not mean it’s healthier than non-organic foods. Even things like sugar, granola bars and boxed mashed potatoes can be organic. So, don’t rely on an organic label to tell you if something is automatically better for your diet.

Getty Images | Sean Gallup

While cutting out gluten from your diet can help if you have celiac disease, it isn’t really a factor in weight loss.

“Unless you suffer from celiac disease, there’s not much scientific support to back the claim that eating gluten-free is healthier or a smart strategy for weight loss,” says Ashvini Mashru MA, RD, LDN. “Cutting gluten out of your diet most often leads to a reduction in overall calories, simply due to the sheer amount of grain-based foods that we eat on a regular basis.”

Getty Images | Jason Kempin

Fewer calories consumed means weight loss, right? Not so fast!

“In fact, studies have proven it to be the opposite: skipping meals promotes weight gain,” says Cheryl Forberg, RD, nutritionist for “The Biggest Loser.” “When we skip a meal, by the time we eat, we’re so hungry we consume too much, too fast and choose the wrong foods.”


Foods like asparagus and lemons are known as natural diuretics. And while these kinds of foods may not hurt when it comes to holding onto excess water, eating large amounts of them will not help get rid of belly bloat or weight.

Getty Images | Miles Willis

Your daily cup of coffee may give you a good dose of caffeine, which is a stimulant to your body. However, that caffeine jolt does not boost your metabolism enough to be a weight loss cure-all. Also, depending on what you add to your coffee (cream, flavorings, sugar), you could be adding extra calories to your day. So if you love a cup of joe, keep it basic and black, if possible.

Getty Images | Bryan Thomas

This is a short-term fix with many long-term problems. By severely cutting daily calories for extended periods of time, your entire metabolism can change to actually hold onto weight! Also, your body needs adequate nutrition to stay healthy. If you want to lose weight and keep it off forever, you need a modest calorie restriction plan that you simply continue and never stop.


You cannot outrun a bad diet. It’s as simple as that. Exercise is great for our cardiovascular health and for building good muscle tone. And yes, it does help regulate our weight. But the amount of exercise you have to do to counteract a few extra slices of pizza isn’t sustainable or reasonable. So work in a healthy diet plan along with your regular workouts for optimal results.

Getty Images | Hagen Hopkins

In a pinch, these convenience items are helpful in maintaining a healthy diet. But things like shakes and nutrition bars are not meant to be long-term replacements for healthy meals. Check the ingredients for artificial sweeteners if you buy these items. Your best bet: Make these at home and use them occasionally.

Getty Images | John Sciulli

Yes, some people should probably cut back on sugar in order to make their diet healthier. But naturally sweet foods such as fruits are sources of important vitamins and minerals. The sweets to avoid are those with added sugars and syrups.

Getty Images | Scott Olson

Good news! While fresh vegetables are always a healthy option, so are most frozen varieties. Over time, fresh vegetables can lose nutrients, while frozen ones can retain them longer. Make sure you pick up frozen vegetables without added sauces, cheese or sodium to keep them as close to fresh as possible.

Getty Images | Sean Gallup

Can you imagine life without ice cream, cookies or cake? You don’t have to in order to follow a healthy eating plan. In fact, planning to have some of your favorite treats occasionally can ensure you don’t feel deprived and end up splurging later on.

This article originally appeared on TheDelite and was syndicated by MediaFeed.

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