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What is Telogen Effluvium?

Telogen effluvium is a type of hair loss affecting the scalp diffusely and occurs while the hair is in the ‘telogen’ or ‘resting’ phase of the hair growth cycle. The causative factors pushes the hair in telogen phase prematurely and sometimes upto 70% of hair can go into telogen phase leading excessive hair loss. Telogen effluvium can be either acute or chronic depending on the cause and the severity of the problem.This type of diffuse hair loss usually takes place 8 to 12 weeks after the causative factor that triggered it, so you may not always connect the two. If you notice excessive hair loss, look back a couple of months for possible factors and it could probably be Telogen Effluvium related hair loss.

Telogen Effluvium can result in hair loss of more than 200 strands per day.
Telogen Effluvium

Normally, it is ok to shed up to 100 hairs a day provided they are growing back. However, telogen effluvium can result in as many as 300 hairs being shed in a day.

People with Telogen Effluvium don’t  completely lose all scalp hair but in severe cases it can progress and and eyebrows and pubic hair may also get affected.

What causes Telogen Effluvium?

Telogen effluvium can be caused by various factors like,iron deficiency, ferritin insufficiency, post delivery, pregnancy, stress, acute illnesses or high fevers, protein deficiency, rapid weight loss, intestinal infections, major surgery or emotional trauma etc. Androgenetic Alopecia in men and women may also present with Telogen effluvium in the early stages. Most hair loss from medications is this type and causes include retinoids, beta blockers, calcium channel blockers, antidepressants, and NSAIDS (including ibuprofen).

Sometimes temporary increase in the number of telogen hair follicles and shed hair is probably due to changes in hormones. This temporariness is in response to changes in daylight exposure. Studies in mink and other mammals show that daylight exposure significantly alters prolactin levels and that prolactin has a significant effect on molting. As with mink and other mammals, humans probably have much the same molting response. Such hair loss should be temporary.

Treatment of Telogen Effluvium:

Treatment for Telogen effluvium depends on the causative factors. Temporary causes like post partum or after an illness or surgery will resolve with time. The more permanent ones like stress, or thyroid illness or hormonal imbalance and nutritional deficiencies have to be treated to control the excessive hair shedding. Its advisable to the visit the Trichologist for a thorough diagnosis and blood tests to find out what may be the exact cause of the hair loss if the hair loss does not resolve on its own in 4 weeks. Sometimes topical blood flow enhancers and mesotherapy and supplements help the recovery faster in Telogen Effluvium cases.

Male and Female Pattern thinning also mimics Telogen Effluvium in most cases in the initial stages and may look like chronic Telogen Effluvium before it starts showing patterned thinning and hence hair loss should not be ignored for longer period if waiting and watching has not helped.

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