“My hair won’t stop falling out” “I’m so stressed, every time I take a shower and see clumps of hair on the tile” “I’ve tried all the hair loss products, none of them worked” Sound familiar?
Why so much hair loss?
Hair loss, also known as alopecia, is a common health concern. I’ve seen more patients for hair loss this past year than I have in my entire career as an ND. Hair loss can often be triggered by major life events, and 2020 was certainly that.
What are the different types of hair loss?
There are several different types of hair loss including:
- Alopecia areata
- Androgenic hair loss (often due to PCOS)
- Postpartum hair loss
- Idiopathic hair loss
- Telogen effluvium
What are some common causes of hair loss?
- Chronic dieting and insufficient caloric intake
- Micronutrient deficiencies, most notably iron, B12 and vitamin D
- Thyroid disorders
- Autoimmune conditions
- Stress, stress and more stress
- Postpartum hormone changes
- High levels of androgens
- Certain medications
As you can see, hair loss is complicated! It is often multifactorial, meaning there are several factors involved. Getting to the root cause of hair loss (no pun intended) requires thorough investigation, blood work and intensive history taking to truly understand what is going on.
The role of stress
Let’s talk stress, it’s been a year. This pandemic has placed an enormous source of stress on everyone in so many ways. As previously mentioned, research has shown a strong link between emotional stress and hair loss. Unfortunately, hair loss is also very distressing and has a huge psychological impact on the individual; this creates a vicious cycle of stress and further hair loss. Stress seems to play a major role in both the initial triggering and maintenance of hair loss, specifically alopecia areata.
Having said that, many patients feel frustrated when they are told their hair loss is ‘just stress’ without any further explanation. When treating a patient for hair loss, I often utilize blood work, dietary recall, family history and lab testing to further pinpoint the cause of their hair loss.
Natural treatment options
In terms of treatment, we must treat hair loss both internally and externally. This means fuelling our body with adequate protein, reaching for foods rich in antioxidants and increasing our consumption of healthy omega-3 fatty acids. Stress management is also key, which can be achieved through lifestyle changes and supportive supplementation. This doesn’t necessarily mean generic hair loss supplements, but targeted micronutrient therapy, adaptogens for stress and herbs to reduce inflammation in the body. If hair loss is severe, I will often do a topical prescription to help with the re-growth of the follicles.
Let’s Work Together
You don’t have to live with hair loss for the rest of your life, it is absolutely something that can be managed and treated. Let’s take the anxiety out of your morning shower routine and get you back to a better place mentally and physically. Book your 15-minute discovery call now to learn more about how I help my patients get their health back on track.