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Wellness

Wellness -Your Questions Answered by a PA-S

I would like to begin by thanking all of our Her Campus @ RIT Instagram followers for submitting questions during my Instagram takeover last week. I am currently in my third year at RIT and my first year of the didactic phase of the BS/MS Physician Assistant program. Throughout my studies I have learned enough to give advice about some medical questions. I got the idea for this column after fielding numerous medical questions from friends and family over the course of this year. This being said, I am excited to open my knowledge up to our Her Campus readers as well. In this article I will be answering two questions that I received during my Instagram takeover last week. I hope this helps and I wish you all well! 

 “Why is my hair falling out?”

To begin, let’s differentiate between normal hair loss and significant hair loss. For a woman in her 20’s it is normal for her to lose about 50-100 strands of hair a day. This being said, losing clumps of hair is abnormal and you should consult with your Primary Care Provider if you are experiencing this. However, if you feel like your hair loss has increased, but it is not coming out in clumps it could signify many different things. 

The most common cause of hair loss in college age students is stress. This stress can be anything from a mental stressor to a physical stressor like illness or change in medications. Also, with bathing suit season approaching quickly, diets can put additional stress on the body and lead to hair loss. States of severe stress force the body to prioritize it’s functions and hair production is not deemed a necessary function. Therefore, it is common to notice an increase in shedding approximately three months after severe stress and this increased hair loss can last for as long as three to six months. Usually, once the stress passes normal hair growth cycles resume. Although it sounds cliche, if stress is the cause, using new stress management techniques or treating physical ailments can help decrease hair loss. 

Another cause of increased hair loss in college students is a hormonal imbalance. In women, the hormone involved could be a decrease in estrogen levels or an increase in progesterone levels. Common culprits leading to these alterations include a change in birth control pill or method such as using the implant, shot, or vaginal ring. In this case, a visit to your OBGYN to assess your birth control method can decrease hair loss. If increased hair loss is accompanied by symptoms like new hair growth on the face or body, difficulty losing or gaining weight, irregular menstrual periods, sensitivity to temperature changes, and or hormonal acne, different hormones may be involved. If these symptoms sound familiar, a visit to your Primary Care Provider is necessary. However, if those symptoms do not accompany your hair loss, multivitamins, vitamin D supplements, hair-skin-and nail vitamins, plenty of water, and stress management may help alleviate your symptoms. 

“How can I effectively destress?” 

Feeling overwhelmed while attending college, amidst a global pandemic, and without any breaks from school is very common. We are all looking for ways to stay sane. This being said, I have found some methods that help me stay balanced. Exercise is my biggest stress reliever. In fact, exercising causes the brain to release endorphins which elevate mood. Also, practicing mindfulness has helped me maintain perspective throughout stressful situations. Talking to friends or family about stressors can make them seem smaller and less threatening as well. Lastly, I have found that making lists of things I can control and conquer helps me focus on stressors that I can change instead of worrying about things that are out of my reach. The semester is more than halfway over and we will get our long overdue break very soon! 

To those who asked questions, thank you and I hope my answers helped. To those who are reading, thank you for taking time out of your busy day to read this article. I wish you all well and am always open to answering any questions.

Jesse is a writer for Her Campus at RIT from Wall Township, NJ. She is a Physician Assistant BS/MS student. Jesse is passionate about all healthcare; including women's healthcare and global health. She previously served as the Chapter Representative for the Physician Assistant Student Association and as a Student Justice for the University Appeals Board at RIT. Jesse is currently the Secretary of the Global Health Association on campus and works for RIT Study Abroad in the social media department.
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