The hair follicles on your scalp cycle through stages of resting and growth. Typically growing for two or more years, resting for a few months, and then beginning again. At any given time, 80-90% of hair follicles on a healthy scalp are in this growing phase called the anagen phase. The rest are in the resting phase – or Telogen phase.
In a person suffering from Telogen Effluvium, the anagen phase has slowed and 30% (or more) of a person’s scalp hair is in the telogen phase. Telogen effluvium symptoms are expressed as excessive shedding and hair thinning.
Extreme physical or emotional stress is a key trigger… but there are many things that may cause an episode of Telogen Effluvium:
• Illness or fever
• Extreme emotional trauma, such as the loss of a loved one or job loss
• Starting, stopping, or changing hormone medications
• Sudden rapid weight loss
• Entering menopause
• Abnormal thyroid hormone functions or a change in thyroid medication
• Pregnancy, delivery, or miscarriage
• Poor diet
You might notice yourself shedding more hair than usual. Of course, this can be confused with other causes of hair loss.
Compared to androgenetic alopecia, telogen effluvium is mostly described as excess shedding and hair thinning overall – as opposed to receding hairlines or total baldness. A doctor should be able to determine your cause of hair loss with a simple examination.
How Long Does Telogen Effluvium Last?
Fortunately, most cases of Telogen Effluvium are short-lived. Acute telogen effluvium generally begins three months after a triggering event and your hair will return to its usual growth cycle within six months – though it may take a year to eighteen months before your hair returns to its Pre-TE appearance. Chronic telogen effluvium is a more persistent condition and can fluctuate for a period of years.
The key to telogen effluvium treatment (if possible), is to remove the sources of stress that caused the incident in the first place. Of course, if it continues you should contact a hair loss expert. Getting a blood test may help determine if any underlying medical condition might be the cause. You could also take care of yourself with vitamin supplements… though a vitamin deficiency is something that should also be addressed in a doctor visit. You might also try treating scalp issues with medicated shampoos.
Telogen Effluvium doesn’t typically lead to complete baldness… though you may be losing more hair than usual, and hair may appear thin. Though in the early stages the amount of shedding can seem quite severe, and hair may come out in handfuls.
If you’ve been noticing thinning hair and aren’t sure of the reason, Austin Hair Restoration Clinic offers a free consultation to determine the cause of your hair loss and whether you are a good candidate for a hair restoration procedure. We use the minimally invasive ARTAS® Robotic Hair Transplant System, a procedure that produces exceptional results and will get you back to your day-to-day life in just a few days. Contact us today for a free consultation.