A recent study found that most women who experience hair loss gain weight in the years leading up to their hair loss. It’s easy to see why this might be the case; many people choose high-calorie comfort foods when under stress, which can lead to weight gain over time. While there may not be a direct cause and effect relationship between hair loss and weight gain, there are certainly plenty of factors that come into play here, so let’s take a look at some of them!
Hair loss can also be caused by trauma to your head. If you have experienced a sudden blow to your head, such as an injury in a car accident or even a fall, you may notice some hair loss.
The same is true if you have undergone any surgical procedure on your scalp or forehead. You may experience hair loss during these times because your body redirects blood flow away from damaged areas, which can mean less blood for your hair follicles.
Many medications, including anti-inflammatory pain relievers such as aspirin, ibuprofen, or naproxen, may cause hair loss. Although there’s currently no scientific evidence to support that these drugs lead to permanent hair loss (as opposed to temporary shedding), it is possible.
If you’re worried about your medication and losing your hair, consult a physician for advice. We also recommend speaking with a dermatologist if you’re concerned about hair loss. The doctor can determine if your scalp disorder is hereditary; if so, they may prescribe minoxidil (Rogaine) to stimulate hair growth.
Hair loss is often related to poor diet, which makes sense: Diet affects your overall health, contributing to hair loss, says Dr. Michael H. Dermer, founder of New York Dermatology Group in New York City.
For example, if you don’t eat enough protein, it can thin hair because hair is mostly protein. Iron deficiency can also cause weak and brittle hair that falls out more quickly than healthy locks.
One of the main reasons hair loss and weight gain may be related is high levels of certain hormones. When high levels of male hormones (DHT) are present in women, they can cause hair loss.
When DHT binds to your hair follicles, it causes them to shrink, which can lead to thinning or a total lack of hair growth. If you experience hair loss from hormone imbalance, you may need to take medications that block male hormones from binding with hair follicles.
If you’re overweight, excess fat cells in your body produce more estrogen and lower testosterone levels. These changes in your body affect hair growth; higher estrogen makes your body think it needs less hair, while low testosterone doesn’t allow you to grow as much hair as you might like.
According to Women’s Health, stress can mess with your hormones, making you more likely to store fat in your belly.
When you’re stressed, you have an increased chance of thrusting or throwing your body into starvation mode, so it hoards calories, even if there’s plenty around, Dr. Axe says.
In addition to eating more easily digestible carbs and less healthy fats when we’re upset or stressed (which is a surefire way to gain weight), stress also makes us less active. So what do we do? We eat more! To keep focus at bay, try meditation or yoga.