Does Stress Cause Hair Loss and Weight Gain?

Stress is not only about emotional problem because it also can cause some physical problems. Does it also cause weight changes (especially weight gain) and even hair loss? The answer varies from person to person, but ‘yes’ there is a chance for this mental problem to cause these symptoms. What else you need to know? Just keep reading on this section!

The link between stress and hair loss

Did you know that most of people can shed their hair for about 50 -100 of hairs per day – and this occurs naturally?! And if compared with the total of your hairs for about more than 100,000 hairs on your scalp, shedding 50-100 hairs a day should not be a problem, this will not cause noticeable thinning on your scalp.

Overall your chance of having more hair loss a day increases as you age. This is the major reason of why abnormal hair loss is more common in elderly people (both in men and women).

How about the role of stress in causing hair loss? Is there a link between both conditions? Yap… stress can affect the strength of your hair. The most common type of hair loss associated with stress is telogen effluvium. Fortunately it is mild condition of hair loss problem. Though it may make your hairs to lay dormant and stop growing, but they usually will back and grow in the next 6-9 months.

Another type of hair loss that can be triggered by excessive stress is alopecia areata. If compared with telogen effluvium, it may be more severe condition. Because it can lead to hair loss of the entire scalps or even hairs of your body! And in many cases, medical intervention is often required to treat it!

stress_illustrationStress and with some of the following conditions can be a great combination to trigger more hair losses:

  1. Taking certain medications, particularly such as medications to treat hypertension, depression, problems of heart, arthritis, and cancer.
  2. Having certain health conditions that affect the strength of hair such as scalp infection, alopecia areta, or problems of thyroid. Some lupus types and lichen planus also can affect the mechanism of your hair regeneration.
  3. Having a family history of hair loss problem. This may be the most significant factor that affects your risk.
  4. Hormonal changes. For instance, women who just delivery a baby are easier to have hair loss (post pregnancy hair loss).
  5. Experiencing a physical shock such as a high fever or having a sudden weight changes.
  6. The way of how you maintain the health of your hair. If you have a habit of often pulling your hair or combing your hair improperly, you are at greater chance of getting more hair loss.

Does stress cause weight gain?

During stressful period, you are more likely to lose your control of what you eat. You may experience loss of appetite or elevated cravings. If this occurs frequently, you are at high risk of developing weight changes (either weight loss or weight gain).

To lower your risk of gaining weight abnormally during stress, your stress management plays a key role. The following are some helpful ideas to cope with stress and weight gain:

  1. First, learn signs of your stress and its trigger factors. Gather the information about this issue as much as possible so thus you can prepare yourself about what you should do when these symptoms flare up.
  2. Get used to always ask yourself what is your goal when eating. This can help control what you eat during stressful period.
  3. If the temptation of eating come (in the situation of when you are not hungry or beyond of your regular meals ‘breakfast, lunch, and dinner’), find a distraction to cope the problem!
  4. Maintain the normal cycle of your major meals and never skip your breakfast! Skipping breakfast can put you at greater chance of eating a very large meal at lunch. Moreover, this is also bad for your insulin sensitivity (insulin is crucial hormone to help maintain your blood sugar).
  5. If necessary, make a record of your eating habits so thus you can analyze the patterns!
  6. Take an alternative therapy (such as cognitive behavioral therapy) that can teach you to gain more problem-solving skills!
  7. Practice some stress release therapy such as massage, meditation, or yoga!
  8. Keep moving – get plenty of physical activities most of weeks by having regular exercise! See also the correlation between exercise and stress on this section!
  9. Build a good relationship with others!
  10. And maintain your sleep cycle in order to get plenty of sleep every day!

If these home remedies don’t help enough to improve your weight gain problem due to stress, consider finding help by visiting your doctor. He /she may recommend you to take psychotherapy session (talk therapy).

  • Becky Harralson

    Generally, hair loss in patches signifies alopecia areata. Alopecia areata typically presents with sudden hair loss causing patches to appear on the scalp or other areas of the body. If left untreated, or if the disease does not respond to treatment, complete baldness can result in the affected area, which is referred to as alopecia totalis.