Why is my hair falling out? Here’s how to treat excessive hair shedding.

Hair falling out can be a major stressor.

Excessive hair shedding is a condition known as telogen effluvium. This form of alopecia — the general term for hair loss — occurs when you shed more hair than expected in the normal hair loss and growth cycle. It’s normal to lose about 100 hairs a day. But with telogen effluvium, you may lose 300 strands of hair daily, according to the Cleveland Clinic.

So, what causes hair to fall out? We talked to Dr. Deirdre Hooper, a board-certified dermatologist based in New Orleans, to find out.

Am I experiencing excessive hair shedding?

Before we can answer why hair falls out, it helps to have a good idea of what telogen effluvium is. Telogen effluvium is a common type of alopecia and is temporary. The individual hairs on someone with this condition are healthy, but the person has less hair than they used to, says Hooper.

This form of hair loss is distinct from others. Androgenetic alopecia is a different type of hair loss known as male pattern baldness in men and female pattern hair loss in women. This occurs when the individual hairs are unhealthy and thinner than they used to be, says Hooper.

There is also a distinction in how these two forms of hair loss present. Telogen effluvium occurs as “heavy shedding and rapid loss” of hair, while androgenetic alopecia occurs as “slow thinning,” according to the Cleveland Clinic.

Why is my hair falling out?

Telogen effluvium occurs after a severe stressor or a change to the body. Examples include psychological stress, hormones, diet and medications, says Hooper. This type of hair loss tends to start two to three months after exposure to a trigger, according to the Cleveland Clinic.

How do I stop my hair from falling out?

Oftentimes, telogen effluvium resolves on its own. “When it’s stress-induced [hair loss], sometimes just getting over the stress gets your hair better,” says Hooper. “You don’t have to rush to do a whole lot of treatment,” she adds.

Hooper recommends waiting three to six months for the stress-induced hair loss to resolve on its own. If the hair loss is still an issue after this period, then you should see a board-certified dermatologist, she explains. They can also tell you if there is a different issue going on. Sometimes it takes several months to get an appointment, so it might not hurt to schedule one as soon as you notice the issue.

There are also treatment options if you want to act immediately. You can try the medication minoxidil (commonly known as Rogaine) or the hair-growth supplement Nutrafol, Hooper says.

Keep in mind that it will take time to see results. “You really need to give any trial six to 12 months, exclamation point, to see if it works,” Hooper says. She later adds, “It’s not a quick process, which is super frustrating, I know.”

How much hair loss is normal? This is what experts say.

This article originally appeared on Cincinnati Enquirer: Why is my hair falling out? And how to stop my hair from falling out.