Telogen Effluvium is the medical term for hair loss caused by extreme stress. Changing jobs, giving birth, or even flu shots can be enough to trigger this type of hair loss. Of course, everyone occasionally gets shower hair balls, so how do you know if you lose too much hair? If you think you are losing twice as much as usual – and this lasts for two weeks or more – stress can be the culprit, says Lindsey Bordone, MD, a dermatologist at ColumbiaDoctors in New York.
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Also likely related to stress: losing hair in small pieces the size of a room, which is characteristic of alopecia areta (although this sometimes leads to complete baldness). This is a condition in which the immune system attacks hair follicles, and while the exact cause is still under debate, stress is a well-known trigger for flare-ups. "As blood pressure rises under stress, blood sugar bursts under stress, and eczema flares up with stress, it seems logical that alopecia may worsen with stress," explains Bordone.