Does Divorce Cause Hair Loss in Women?


If you're in the middle of a contested divorce in Pasadena, you might feel like pulling out your hair. But a new study says if you're a woman, the stress of divorce might actually cause you to lose your hair - no pulling required.

New research finds that next to genetics, the loss of a spouse through either divorce or death is the highest cause of midline hair loss. Study author Dr. Bahman Guyuron, the chairman of the Department of Plastic Surgery at Case Western Reserve School of Medicine, says the link between divorce and hair loss is easily explained.

"Most likely, stress is the aspect of a troubling divorce that appears to lead to hair loss among women. The stress of going through a divorce may not be as troublesome for a male as it is for a female. They (men) may jump from one relationship to another relationship a lot faster," he told The Huffington Post in an interview. "(Women) take relationships more seriously and perhaps they are more uncomfortable for a longer period of time because of a divorce. It takes its toll on them a great deal more than on males."

The study also found that excessive drinking and/or smoking also increase the risk of hair loss in women. Women who were exposed to the sun for increased amounts of time were also at a higher risk for hair loss.

Dr. Doris Day, an attending physician in dermatology at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City, said these findings are on track with what doctors believe about hair loss.

"It's complicated, but it's not a shock to suggest that various kinds of stress can lead to hair loss," Day says. "Or that men and women don't experience stress in the same way, so that their hair loss patterns may be different. And in the end, I am a big proponent of the idea that it's how you handle the stress that can make a difference. The mind-and-body connection is incredibly powerful. It helps to try and keep perspective, put the big things that happen in life, the major milestones, in their place and keep an open mind."

The results of the study are scheduled to be presented at the American Society of Plastic Surgeons' annual conference in Denver on Sunday.