I sometimes hear from people who are grappling to come up with a cause for their sudden and problematic hair loss. Sometimes, they literally wake up in the morning and notice hair shedding all over the place when only the day before, things were absolutely normal with their hair and their scalp. And when the shedding doesn’t stop within a few days or weeks, the reason for the shedding can become quite important because it might give you some indication as to how long it might last or how you can slow or stop it. Sometimes, there hasn’t been illness or any health problems that would have caused this. So, it’s normal to look for less common and less visible causes like things that might have a psychological or stress driven component.
I heard from a woman who said: “last month, my hair started shedding horribly. I haven’t been ill, had a baby, or had any surgeries or medical procedures. I haven’t changed my medications and I don’t have any health issues that I am aware of. So, I’m not sure what might be causing this. But I know it’s not just seasonal shedding because it is severe and it has lasted for more than five weeks. I’m wondering if this could be caused by stress, sadness, or unhappiness. Because two weeks before the shedding started, my fiancé and I broke up. I was and still am devastated. I wasn’t eating or sleeping properly. Is it possible that the stress or the sadness from my break up could cause the shedding?. Can hair fall be caused by a broken heart?” I will tell you my take on this in the following article.
My Opinion On Stress, Unhappiness, And Shedding Or Hair Loss: I have to stress that this is only my opinion. I’m not a doctor, medical expert, or hair loss specialist. But, I have been through bouts of telogen effluvium and chronic telogen effluvium myself and I do believe that stress or strong emotions can cause shedding. I do realize that some folks, even experts, disagree with my opinion. In fact, my own dermatologist told me that only physical (and not emotional) stressors to the body contribute to hair fall. In fact, many specialists believe this.
However, many people (particularly women) who have gone through this strongly disagree. If you spend any amount of time on hair blogs or forums, I’m sure you will read people comment that stress makes their hair problems worse. In fact, it’s not at all unusual for people to believe that stress or turmoil kicked off their shedding in the first place because there just doesn’t appear to be any other trigger. But how is this possible? I don’t have a definitive answer by I have some theories, which I’ll discuss now.
Stress releases hormones like cortisol. And hormonal changes are a common cause of shedding. Also, often when you are stressed or upset, you don’t eat properly or regularly. Dietary changes or sudden weight loss can contribute to hair loss. Sometimes, your sleep is affected when you are unhappy or experiencing high amounts of turmoil. This too can affect hormones which can cause problems. And plenty of people believe that emotional stress takes a physical toll on the body.
So do I believe that your body can see or experience emotional stress in the same way that it does physical stress in terms of hair loss? Yes, I do. Mostly, I believe this based on my own experience and the experiences of others. But I also believe that emotional changes can bring about physical changes in your body which are documented to cause hair shedding.