If you find yourself staring at large amounts of hair on hair on your pillow then panic is a reaction that is likely to occur. If this shedding continues for more than a few weeks or several months, then you will likely find yourself fearing that you are on your way to a life of baldness. Maybe you also see it on the floor of the shower too. Or perhaps your hair is brushing out in clumps. With all the stress you have in your life right now the last thing you need is hair loss, right? It is a commonly held belief that stress can contribute to hair loss, but just how true is this? We give you the low-down on the relationship between hormones, health and hair loss to motivate you to balance your lifestyle and keep your locks, luscious.
The Physiology of Stress
Stress tends to creep up on us. It starts with a to-do list and then….well that to-do list just continues to grow. Just when we think we are getting to the bottom of it, more tasks are added. Whether we are actually required to do these tasks as part of our job, or if we place these demands on ourselves out of habit, the result is the same- we end up frazzled, tired and even depressed.
For unknown reasons, one type of response that the hair follicles have to severe stress is to shut down and turn off hair growth. You would usually notice hair loss as a consequence of this type of reaction somewhere between 2 and 4 months after the stressful event occurs. Excessive hair comes out by the roots in long strands, usually with white tips at the end. In most cases when the source of the stress has passé, your hair would usually stop shedding and the growth return to normal within 8 to 12 months. Occasionally, this shedding can continue for several years or more for unknown reasons.
Stress can also have an impact on those who are predisposed to hereditary hormonal baldness.
Cortisol, a chemical produced by the adrenal glands, is meant to motivate the body to carry out short-term goals. In particular, it is meant to support you in dealing with a dangerous situation or genuine threat. It works by making use of fats and proteins, turning them into accessible energy, as well as raising your heart rate. When it kicks it, it’s all systems go! It is however not meant to be a continued state of being. The prolonged presence of cortisol in the bloodstream can have a negative effect on your overall health and is one of the root causes (pardon the pun!) of hair loss.
Cortisol Hormonal Interplay
Cortisol is in essence, a stress hormone. It has a very delicate interaction with the other hormones in the body such as adrenalin and testosterone. When we have high levels of cortisol coursing through the body this leads to an increase in adrenaline, testosterone and in particular, a hormone known as dihydrotestosterone or DHT. The interplay between cortisol, adrenalin and DHT leads to a depletion of collagen and insulin as well as a decrease in bone density and to the dismay of many men and women, hair loss.
DHT and Hair Loss
An over-stressed body that is in a constant state of cortisol/adrenaline overdrive will eventually suffer from adrenal fatigue. This condition is no fun at all, leaving us feeling weak, depressed, anxious and vague. Adrenal fatigue affects both men and women however the key hormone, DHT, reaches higher levels in men.
High DHT levels have a direct effect on hair follicles, causing them to slow down the hair growth process and eventually even die. Thus stress and in turn high DHT levels can result in premature balding, a condition much more common in males. In shortening the growth cycle of hair causing hair follicles to cease production of new hair, DHT is the culprit to fear!
When our hair growth cycle starts to slack off there really is a no reversing this process. As they say, prevention is better than cure. When it comes to stress and hair loss, prevention is the only option as cure (unless you care to opt for costly surgical transplants) is pretty much out of the question.
Preventing Hair Loss
So how can you prevent hair loss? It really isn’t about nasty, expensive gimmicks or potions. The good news is that it really just comes down to taking good care of yourself. This means living with balance and balance comes down to numbers:
- 8 hours of sleep a night
- 3 healthy balanced meals a day
- 30 minutes of gentle exercise a day
- 4-6 glasses of fresh water each day
In addition to the above there are minerals and vitamins that are excellent for hair growth- and health in general. These include zinc, silica and essential fatty oils. Rich sources of these general health minerals and fatty acids are:
- Pumpkin seeds
- Egg yolks
- Wheat germ
So there you have it folks. Hormones, stress and hair loss can cause you to lose your hair. I hope this information will motivate you to take a good look at your daily schedule and make room for healthy grocery shopping and some down time to relax rest and recover.
If you would like information about Dr. W’s Healthy Hair 365, my new vitamin supplement formulated to support hair growth and reduce shedding of hair, CLICK HERE!!! to find out how to order it online. If you would like to call for more information, you can do so at 281 395-7770.