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Health: Stress And Hair Loss In Women

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- Stress may really be going to your head. Younger women are suffering from hair loss because of stress.

She's only 25, but Jenna Milazzo has a relentless schedule that she says has taken a toll.

“I've noticed in the past six months just some thinning of my hair up here around the face a little bit. It’s a little troublesome for me to say the least,” she says.

Milazzo was so worried about her hair loss, she went to a doctor who specializes in hair restoration.

Doctors say a growing number of younger women are complaining about thinning hair. Dr. Robert Dorin, a hair restoration specialist, says, “…about 15 or 20 percent, mostly females, are complaining of hair loss that’s probably due to stress.”

“I just never had that much hair come out in the shower in my brush; it was so out of the ordinary I could tell something was wrong,” Jenna says.

Dr. Robert Dorin says Milazzo is suffering the consequence of a busy lifestyle.

“What we're talking about is stress hair loss, stress causing hair loss,” he explains.

And in a seemingly vicious cycle for Milazzo and other women, the stress they experience because of losing their hair can sometimes make things even worse.

“A woman coming in with luscious, thick hair and now all of sudden, it has less volume, or they see it thinning, and to watch it fall before their eyes is quite anxiety building,” Dr. Dorin says.

But there is hope. Reducing stress is a vital first step, along with improving your diet and getting more sleep. In addition, Rogaine has been effective, and there are even FDA approved laser treatments that can help stimulate dormant hair follicles.

Jenna says, “I think it will be ok as long as I get help and I stop it before it gets too bad. I would be panicking if I waited too long, and I saw a really thick part of actual bald spots. I don’t see that yet, but I definitely want to stop it before it gets too bad.”

Excessive heat from blow dryers and flat irons can also cause hair loss. Experts say vitamins B and D, along with zinc, might help some.

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