25 Reasons Your Hair Might Be Falling Out

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Having excessive hair fall out, or shed, can be upsetting and stressful. However, it is common, and in most cases, it is also temporary.

There are multiple reasons (including physical and psychological) that can cause you to shed more hair than usual.

This article looks at what happens when hair falls out excessively, why this can occur, and where to seek treatment.

A female pulls strands of hair out of a hairbrush

Catherine McQueen / Getty Images

Hair Shedding vs. Hair Loss

Hair shedding is different than hair loss, which is when hair stops growing. Reasons for hair loss include male or female pattern baldness, certain medications, and harsh chemical hair products. Depending on the cause, hair loss may or may not be temporary.

When Your Hair Falls Out, What’s Considered Abnormal?

Losing around 50–100 hairs daily through combing, brushing, washing, and styling is normal. When excessive hair shedding occurs, it's known as telogen effluvium. Someone with telogen effluvium can lose 300–500 hairs daily.

Telogen effluvium is common, seen more frequently in women, and usually happens two to three months after a triggering event. It typically doesn't last more than six months, but if it does, it's considered chronic.

Although telogen effluvium doesn’t typically lead to baldness, it may lead to hair appearing thin, especially around the temples and crown of the head.

The Hair Growth Cycle

The hair growth cycle has three phases:

  • The anagen (growth) phase, which can last for years
  • The catagen phase, which lasts for about 10 days and occurs when hair stops growing and separates from the follicle
  • The telogen (resting) phase of two to three months, after the hair falls out

Telogen effluvium occurs when large numbers of hair follicles push into the resting phase.

25 Reasons Your Hair Might Be Falling Out

Physical, mental, or emotional stress, along with certain medications, can cause larger-than-normal amounts of hair follicles to push into the resting phase of the hair cycle. When this occurs, as much as 70% of scalp hair can fall out, often in handfuls, around two months after the trigger.


Medical events and conditions that can lead to hair falling out include:

Hair shedding due to an illness such as COVID-19 typically improves three to six months after recovery. However, in the case of hormonal or nutritional imbalances, deficiencies, or medical conditions affecting the scalp, hair shedding is likely to continue if the underlying condition is not treated.

Body Changes

As with medical conditions, physical changes that stress the body, especially if they cause hormonal changes, can lead to excessive hair shedding. This usually happens a few months after the stressor occurs and stops when the body's hormone levels have readjusted.

Bodily changes that can cause hair to fall out include:

Excessive hair shedding after childbirth is very common due to the hormonal changes a woman undergoes. It usually starts two months after giving birth, peaks four months after that, and stops when the body's hormones readjust, with the hair regaining its normal fullness in six to nine months.

Psychological Changes

Events that cause great emotional stress can cause hair to shed excessively, usually a few months after the stressful event. Examples include:

  • Going through a divorce or breakup
  • Losing a loved one
  • Losing a job or home
  • Recent surgery
  • Recent severe injury

Excessive hair shedding can become long-term if you continue to experience high levels of stress for an extended period.


Excessive hair shedding is a side effect of some medications. Medications that may cause hair to fall out include:

Never stop taking medications on your own. Always talk to a healthcare provider before discontinuing any medication.

Excessive hair fallout from taking medication is usually temporary. Hair may stop shedding when you stop taking the medication. If you believe medications are causing your hair to fall out, talk to your healthcare provider about changing dosages or finding an alternative medication.

Steps to Take to Initiate Treatment

Talk to your healthcare provider if an abnormal amount of your hair is falling out. You may need to see a dermatologist (a doctor specializing in skin, hair, and nails) who can tell you whether you are experiencing hair shedding, hair loss, or both.

If your hair is falling out more than normal, it's important to determine the cause; in some cases, you may need a blood test or other tests. Most of the time, no treatment is necessary, and your hair will return to its normal growth cycle.


An excessive amount of hair fallout is known as telogen effluvium. This can have many causes, including medical conditions, physical and psychological causes, and certain medications. In most cases, telogen effluvium is temporary and resolves without treatment. However, you may need to work with your healthcare provider to find and treat any underlying conditions that are causing your hair to fall out.


10 Sources
Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. American Academy of Dermatology Association. Do you have hair loss or hair shedding?

  2. Malkud S. Telogen effluvium: A review. J Clin Diagn Res. 2015 Sep;9(9):WE01-3. doi:10.7860/JCDR/2015/15219.6492

  3. NYU Langone Health. Types of hair loss.

  4. American Osteopathic College of Dermatology. Telogen effluvium hair loss.

  5. American Academy of Dermatology Association. Hair loss: who gets and causes.

  6. Nebraska Medicine. 7 strange symptoms of COVID-19 including rashes, COVID toes and hair loss.

  7. Harvard Health Publishing. Thinning hair in women: why it happens and what helps.

  8. MHR Clinic. How to reverse hair loss from medications – blood pressure.

  9. Robbins Headache Clinic. CGRP questions/answers.

  10. Brain and Life. How to deal with hair loss caused by medication.

By Cathy Nelson
Cathy Nelson has worked as a writer and editor covering health and wellness for more than two decades. Her work has appeared in print and online in numerous outlets, including the Detroit Free Press and The Detroit News.