Hair Thinning – Telogen Effluvium

Mention hair thinning and pattern baldness is what comes to mind for most people. This is not surprising since both male and female pattern baldness are the leading causes of hair loss in men and women. But pattern baldness is not just the only cause of hair thinning in women, there’s also telogen effluvium (TE).Hair Thinning - Telogen Effluvium

What Is Telogen Effluvium?

Telogen effluvium is a type of hair loss characterised by diffuse hair thinning on the scalp. The thinning may occur all over the scalp or on selected areas. Unlike in pattern baldness, telogen effluvium, said to be the second most common cause of hair loss, rarely leads to a receding hairline. In addition, hair loss is usually more pronounced in the crown area than on the sides and back of the head.

Why does telogen effluvium happen? TE takes place because the number of hair strands entering the telogen (the hair’s resting phase) exceeds the number of hair follicles which are growing. When this happens, you are losing more hair than you are growing.

Experts are yet to find out why this happens to the hair. What is clear though is that, unlike pattern baldness, TE is not hereditary.

According to experts, there are certain triggers which can bring about this condition. For one, pregnancy, with the hormonal changes that go with it, can lead to telogen effluvium. Meanwhile, crash dieting and having an imbalanced diet may cause deficiency in zinc, iron, Vitamins B6 and B12 and other nutrients and minerals essential in hair growth. The nutritional deficiency can trigger TE.

There are also claims that prolonged exposure to high level of stress leads to telogen effluvium. In addition, physiological trauma due to an accident, a surgery, a high fever and other diseases may cause a shock your system and make hair follicles prematurely entre the telogen phase. Certain medications for hypertension or birth control may also trigger this hair loss problem.

What Are the Symptoms of Telogen Effluvium?

Losing a handful of hair, more than what is normal which is around 100 to 150 strands a day, is the most common sign of telogen effluvium. Hence, if you have this condition, you may see more hair on your pillow or hair brush. In some cases, scalp tenderness is present.

As mentioned earlier, hair loss in telogen effluvium is diffused in most cases. However, there are a few times when thinning is concentrated in just one area. Fortunately, this type of condition does not usually lead to complete hair loss. Hence, you do not have to worry about going bald.

It is important to note that symptoms do not appear until two to four months after the trigger happened or surfaced. So, if you are experiencing excessive hair loss, try to look back if you’ve experienced any of the said triggers above to find out if you are suffering from TE.

Can You Heal from Telogen Effluvium?

Telogen effluvium is not a permanent condition. In most cases, the normal hair growth cycle goes back to normal in six months. Meanwhile, the hair’s appearance (its previous volume) may be restored in a year.

While telogen effluvium resolves on its own, it is still imperative that you see a dermatologist or a hair and scalp professional ASAP. This is necessary to find out what is truly causing your excessive hair fall.  Furthermore, early diagnosis also enables you to address the problem early which is the key to successfully treating any form of hair loss.

Treatment plans for telogen effluvium include changes in lifestyle. This can include having a nutritious and balanced diet, properly caring for the hair and reducing the patient’s stress levels.

Generally, telogen effluvium is not something you should worry about, but it is also a condition you can’t ignore. This is because TE can become a chronic condition if the trigger is not removed. When this happens, TE can lead to permanent hair loss. So, if you are excessively shedding hair, please see a dermatologist right away!

Is your hair thinning because of telogen effluvium? Our dermatologist and trichologist can help you determine the cause and reverse the problem. Call us at 01 6793618 today!