Female Pattern Hair Loss & Stress

Approximately 49% of women will be affected by hair loss throughout their lives, with female pattern hair loss (FPHL) being the most common cause of female alopecia.

Your hair could be falling out because hair naturally thins out as we age and this often happens gradually. However, if it is really noticeable or or if you suddenly notice your hair is falling out, then there is likely to be something else going on. While hair fall occurs most of all at two specific times in a woman’s life – during/following menopause and following pregnancy, these are more “normal” or natural causes of hair fall/ hair loss.

A common combination is menopause and poor diet or low nutrition often caused by women in menopause taking on crash diets or ketogenic diets to eliminate their menopause weight gain. So menopause is not the direct cause of hair loss in all women during menopause, but when combined with crash dieting, poor nutritional input, or strong genetic predisposition, (all of which are known to contributors to female hair loss) it would appear on the surface that menopause is the sole cause.

One of the main contributing factors (and not a cause of female hair loss on its own – necessarily), is stress. For the past sixty or seventy years, women have taken on professions once exclusively male dominated. Yet still women are child-bearing and child-raising. Combine this with the contraceptive pill and the resulting hormonal effect, full time work, family juggling as well as the long term stress effect, and you find women of all ages with all kinds of new ailments such as chronic weight gain, heart disease and hair loss. Not that these were unheard of previously, but they have become far more prevalent in the past thirty years than they ever were.

You might think that hair loss being a sign of stress is a bit of an old wives’ tale, like if you swallow chewing gum it will stay in your stomach for seven years, but actually, it’s totally true (about the stress, not the gum). In fact, hair loss in women is one of the common symptoms of stress.

Big life events like the loss of a loved one, a divorce, money problems and work pressure can all cause an amount of stress significant enough to cause hair loss. Your body does zillions of things every day to keep you alive and functioning and when you get stressed, it needs to divert resources from non-essential functions and send them over to your work problem/divorce/whatever has got your worried to make sure you survive your rough time. Like taking that money that you would’ve spent at the movies and paying your rent with it.

Stress does not cause hair loss in everyone. Nor will it always cause hair loss in those who are susceptible to stress induced hair loss. You may go through a tough budget period and decide you’ll still go to the movies, but you won’t order take away for a while. You may get stressed and get headaches but keep your hair. It’s all a bit unpredictable. The one predictable thing is, however, that stress is no good for your body and making time in your life to keep yourself zen as much as you can is of massive, long-term benefit for both your well-being and your hair.

It’s probably ‘mission impossible’ to eliminate stress from our lives, and that too is a good thing. Health stress keeps us safe, healthy and productive. However, working on strategies to maintain stress levels to a ‘healthy level’ is not only going to help with hair loss but has impacts and influences on all our body systems and psychological well-being.

Don’t keep talking about it! Book into that yoga class, catch up with your girlfriends for a glass of vino or curl up on the couch more often with your favourite book. However you take time to relax and reduce your stress, you’ll be the winner, every time.

Shop 2, 138 Lords Place, Orange NSW
(02) 6360 4004

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