Telogen effluvium and extreme emotional stress

Specific Conditions

Emotional stress and hair loss is a common combination and can take some time for the hair to come back to normal. The hair follicles do not receive the nutrients they require because the body is in panic mode and supplies the most important functions first, meaning  the hair roots cannot be held and so hair loss is seen.

Telogen effluvium is the loss of hair in the final phase of the hair cycle of which there are three. Anagen is the first or growing stage where the hair can stay for up to seven years growing at a rate of approximately one centimetre a month. The second stage is catagen or transitional phase when the hair is cut from the blood supply ready to go to the final stage or rest period known as the telogen before the hair falls out.

When there has been severe stress the hair can prematurely enter this phase meaning more hair will fall out than is normal and causes the hair on the head to become thinner. The hair can come out in clumps can be seen when washing and combing the hair.

Emotional stress can be hard to cope with and as the body tries to ensure that all the organs are fed with the minerals and vitamins it needs to function it will deliver to the most important organs first. The skin might be the largest but it is not the most important.

Often with stress there is loss of appetite, lack of sleep and the body and mind find it hard to cope with everyday living. A good balanced diet is needed to help boost the minerals, nutrients and vitamins the body needs to work properly. Finding the cause of the stress is important as this is the key to bringing the body back to normal.

There is a reason for everything, it is just not as easy to find a ‘cure’. Emotional stress may occur after a bereavement, for instance, and only time will heal. It is important during these times to follow a good diet but unfortunately, some find it hard to eat at this time and so weight is lost, hair becomes dull and thins and the body and mind become tired.

At these times the help of a doctor should be sought or further illness could occur. Relieving stress and anxiety is easier when vitamins and minerals are in abundance and there has been enough sleep to help the body rejuvenate itself.

One of the first signs of stress or illness of any type can be seen in the condition of the hair and skin. These outer extremities are the last to receive the nutrients and so will receive fewer nutrients if the body’s circulation system has insufficient to go round. However, once the stress or illness is under control the hair will start to grow again.

Extreme stress or emotional stress can cause some individuals to literally pull their hair out. This will cause permanent damage to the hair follicles and prevent further hair growth. The constant ‘twiddling’ of hair is known as trichotillomania and is often seen in someone with a nervous disposition as it is a comforter but it will eventually have a detrimental effect on the hair follicles. As the hair becomes tighter it will pull on the scalp so damaging the hair follicles which will no longer be able to hold the hair shaft in place. The follicle will go into its dormant stage and not produce new hair leaving bald patches.

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The primary causes of telogen effluvium