There is little doubt that one of the major possible causes of hair loss in women is stress. But the kind of stress that we are talking about here is not the common day to day kind of stress that we all experience. The kind of stress that can cause hair loss in women is usually the result of some kind of sudden and extreme shock. Sudden and severe emotional trauma or severe physical trauma is usually needed in order to create the effect of sudden hair loss in women.
Some kinds of mental and emotional stress that can typically lead to hair loss in women can occur as a result of the death of a family member or loved one; the ending a relationship through divorce or death; an extreme financial trauma such as a bankruptcy or losing a house. And this stress doesn't even need to be occurring to the person suffering the hair loss, but they could be occurring to someone that they love or are very close to.
As far as physical stress and trauma that could cause hair loss in women is concerned, some examples could be severe and long-term illness, surgical procedures and sudden and extreme physical trauma such as a car accident or heart attack.
The scientific name for this sudden hair loss in women is “telogen effluvium". In this specific hair loss condition hair follicles that a healthy and growing hair at the normal rate become massively impeded, resulting in the severe slowing down of hair growth. The hair follicle then begins its resting phase, where hair growth is stopped altogether. In this phase the hair is relatively weak and falls out easily.
What can be confusing with this particular kind of hair loss in women is that the results of the stress are not always immediate. Sometimes several months can pass after the traumatic event before any hair loss begins to occur.
Oftentimes the woman who is experiencing their hair loss has forgotten the past dramatic event, and begins looking for answers to the sudden hair loss in events that are happening in her life right now. Unfortunately the answers are not in what's happening now but in what happened several weeks or months before.
This in itself can create stress as there may be nothing occurring in a woman's life right now that could in any way lead to her losing her hair.
Irrespective of when the true cause of the hair loss occurred, once the hair loss cycle has begun the hair can fall out at an alarming rate leading to even more stress for the woman who is losing hair, perpetuating the vicious cycle.
So in answer to the question can stress lead to hair loss in women, the answer is yes. But the stress needs to be something so far out of the ordinary that it can shock the body to the point that a woman's hair can fall out.
As with any kind of sudden hair loss it is always best to seek the appropriate medical advice. A proper case history taking and diagnosis will often identify the cause of the woman's sudden hair loss, which in itself can relieve a significant amount of stress and any affect that stress may be having on the re-growth of the woman's hair.
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