I once heard a breast cancer survivor who said that the chemotherapy sessions she had did not scare her much more than the thought of losing her hair. And, she was talking about hair falling out in clumps. While it is normal to shed around 50 to a hundred strands of hair each day, seeing one’s hair thinning or going partially into baldness can be a frightening situation for many, if not most, women. But don’t fret yet if you are shedding more than 100 strands because dermatologists also say that a normal person can shed up to 250 strands when hair is washed. But they do not, however, advise that you should not wash your hair at all because it will eventually fall, anyway.
Women are almost as likely to lose hair as men do; although, it is can seem to be more prominent in men. Normally, women would notice the problem in their 50s or 60s, but it can happen to younger women, too, for a variety of reasons, one of which is chemical or medical treatment for an ailment. Women can suffer hair fall after childbirth, during or after menopause, when exposed to nuclear radiation, having nutritional deficiency, stress, or due to other factors. Hair fall after childbirth is a common occurrence because of women’s hormonal changes after pregnancy. This temporary problem usually happens around three months after delivery and should return to normal condition within six to twelve months. Meanwhile, women in their menopausal period may experience hair loss as their estrogen levels drop and other hormones, such as the dihydrotestosterone (DHT) get imbalanced, consequently affecting hair growth. Other women may also suffer from hair loss due to their exposure to X-rays, nuclear radiation, anti-cancer treatments, insufficient nutrition, pneumonia, typhoid fever, flu, or stress. Yes, stress can be associated with hair loss. But this do not necessarily have to be permanent if and when you keep your stress level under control.
There are at least three types of hair loss that can be directly linked to high stress levels, namely: alopecia areata, telogen effluvium, and trichotillomania.
- Alopecia areata is an acquired skin condition that involves white blood cells attacking the hair follicle, consequently causing hair to fall out and preventing it to grow. Although, some findings trace that this disease can be inherited from ancestors, alopecia areata may be due to severe stress, abnormality in the immune system, and other factors.
- Telogen effluvium is a scalp disorder marked by diffuse hair shedding resulting from emotional or physical stress. Hair may fall out suddenly by just combing or washing your hair. However, if promptly tended to, you can recover naturally within six months.
- Trichotillomania is rather a mental disorder characterized by an irresistible urge to pull out hair from the scalp, eyebrows, or other areas of the body. It is more common in adult women and among children, who have to deal with negative or uncomfortable feeling, such as anxiety, tension, stress, fatigue, frustration, or loneliness.
If you notice that you are shedding more strands of hair than normal, make sure to consult with your doctor. It might be a sign of an underlying health condition that needs medical attention. But you can already start using natural or home remedies to prevent your hair from further falling out. Among the best remedies is the virgin coconut oil.