The sinking feeling of discovering an unusual amount of hair on your pillow or in the shower can be incredibly uncomfortable. For many, the immediate question is: why is this happening? One of the common culprits behind such experiences is telogen effluvium

While the sudden hair shedding and thinning can be emotionally taxing, often, a lack of clear, comprehensive information about the condition often exacerbates this distress. 

What is telogen effluvium? Understanding its causes, symptoms, and treatments can equip you with the knowledge to manage and potentially overcome this challenging phase.

What is Telogen Effluvium?

Telogen effluvium is a scalp disorder where hair prematurely transitions into its growth cycle’s telogen phase (natural shedding stage). This leads to increased hair shedding, often stemming from metabolic, hormonal stress, or specific medications. 

Fortunately, it’s predominantly a temporary condition. With the right approach, the hair can often resume its regular growth patterns within a few months.

What Are the Symptoms of Telogen Effluvium?

The primary indicator of telogen effluvium is an increased rate of hair shedding. This could manifest as more hairs found on one’s pillow, more strands circling the shower drain, or a clump clinging to a brush.

Alongside this shedding, individuals might also perceive a general thinning of hair across the scalp, with some areas, like the crown or temples, appearing particularly affected.

What Causes Telogen Effluvium?

Multiple triggers can initiate this condition. These include:

  • Physical or emotional shock: Life events such as accidents, bereavement, or significant changes can prompt this condition. 
  • Medications: Certain drugs, notably some antidepressants, strong antibiotics or vaccinations or high-dose vitamins, might result in hair shedding.
  • Hormonal changes: Life stages like post-pregnancy or entering menopause can lead to telogen effluvium.
  • Severe illness or surgery: Significant surgeries or severe illnesses can trigger an abundance of hairs to transition into the telogen phase.
  • Underlying health conditions: Disorders such as thyroid imbalances, significant infections, or iron or Vitamin D deficiency can also contribute.

How Long Does Telogen Effluvium Last?

The timeline is varied and depends on multiple factors. Typically, the excessive shedding can continue for 6 to 9 months. However, once the underlying cause is addressed, the shedding usually reduces, and by the end of this period or soon after, hair density starts returning to its previous state. Individual experiences with telogen effluvium can, of course, differ based on various factors.

How Is Telogen Effluvium Diagnosed?

Dermatologists or trichologists generally handle the diagnosis. A ‘hair pull’ test might be conducted, where a collection of hairs are gently tugged to determine the shedding rate. Trichologists will also look for signs of synchronised regrowth of new hairs. Alongside these physical tests, the patient’s recent life events and medical history play a role in pinpointing telogen effluvium. In some cases, additional tests may be necessary to rule out other hair loss conditions.

What Is the Treatment for Telogen Effluvium?

Treatment largely depends on the cause, but there are several measures, both medical and natural, that can be considered:

  1. Change or Discontinue Medication: If a specific medication is identified as the culprit, consulting with a healthcare professional about an alternative prescription might be beneficial. It’s crucial not to stop any medication without a doctor’s guidance.
  2. Hormonal Treatment: For those who experience telogen effluvium due to hormonal changes, like post-pregnancy or menopause, hormone replacement therapy or other hormonal treatments might be considered after consultation with a healthcare specialist. 
  3. Nutritional Support: Ensuring a balanced diet is essential. Iron, amino acids, vitamin D, and zinc are crucial for hair health. Iron deficiency, for instance, is a common trigger for hair loss. Consider getting a blood test to check for deficiencies and then supplement under a doctor’s guidance. Foods such as spinach, eggs, and lean meats can be beneficial. 
  4. Gentle Hair Care: Use a gentle shampoo and conditioner designed for thinning hair. Avoiding excessive brushing, heat treatments, and harsh hair products can reduce additional stress on the hair. 
  5. Reduce Stress: Given that stress is a notable trigger for telogen effluvium, engaging in relaxation techniques such as meditation, deep breathing exercises, and regular physical activity can be beneficial. 

Always remember to consult with a Trichologist before starting any treatment to ensure it’s appropriate for your specific condition and circumstances.

Can Telogen Effluvium Be Prevented?

Preventing telogen effluvium often centres on understanding and, where possible, managing the stressors and conditions that can trigger it. While it’s not always feasible to predict or control every possible cause, there are several proactive measures that individuals can take:

Dietary Considerations 

A balanced diet plays a vital role in hair health. Ensure adequate intake of vital nutrients such as iron, zinc, and essential amino acids, which have been shown to support hair growth and reduce hair shedding. Foods such as leafy greens, nuts, beans, whole grains, and fish can provide these essential nutrients.

Stress Management

Chronic stress is a known contributor to telogen effluvium. Engage in regular stress-relieving activities such as meditation, yoga, or even simple walks in nature. Studies have suggested that managing stress through these methods can potentially improve overall hair health.

Avoiding Over-styling 

Excessive hair treatments, heat styling, and chemicals can weaken hair and contribute to shedding. While it might not directly cause telogen effluvium, such practices can exacerbate the condition. Adopt a gentler hair care regimen, opting for natural drying instead of regular heat treatments and minimising the use of chemical products.

Regular Health Check-ups

Routine medical check-ups can catch potential triggers early. Conditions like thyroid imbalances or iron deficiencies, known to be associated with telogen effluvium, can be identified and treated before they significantly impact hair health.

Educate Yourself About Medications

While it’s not always possible to avoid medications that can trigger hair shedding, being informed about potential side effects allows you to discuss alternative treatments or supportive measures with healthcare providers.

Postpartum and Hormonal Changes 

Women who have recently given birth should be aware that postpartum hair shedding is common and can mimic telogen effluvium. Consulting with a healthcare professional can help in understanding and managing postpartum hair changes.

In all scenarios, while prevention is the key, early detection and intervention can significantly influence the course and impact of telogen effluvium.

Is Telogen Effluvium Permanent?

A beacon of hope in the realm of telogen effluvium is its typically temporary nature. Most individuals find their hair returning to its usual volume and texture within a few months, especially once the root causes are addressed and managed. However, if the triggers persist or remain unidentified, the condition might prolong, and hair density can drop significantly.

Hair loss, especially due to conditions like telogen effluvium, can be a journey riddled with anxiety and uncertainty. Yet, understanding its nuances and equipping yourself with accurate information can make the path clearer and more manageable. 

At Fulham Scalp & Hair Clinic, our commitment is to be a guiding light in this journey, ensuring each individual’s holistic hair health.


leena solimanleena soliman
06:19 17 May 23
Came here when I had some issues and they were able to help massively! They are not like other claimed trichologist that want to scare you and take your money, they are backed up with their qualification and experience. Reasonably priced consultation, treatment and products!
zoe Innzoe Inn
17:24 15 Feb 23
From my first consultation, I knew this was the right place for my hair.Teresa and Eleanore are very caring. The treatments are also very relaxing and my hair adores their products!
19:01 01 Dec 22
Thank you so much Fulham scalp and hair clinic for restoring the health of my scalp and my hair.Straight talking, no nonsense, friendly and professional advice and if you follow it you’ll see results.They really know their stuff and I highly recommend.
Nico PopNico Pop
18:42 13 Jan 22
Booked the initial appointment as I have damaged hair due to bleaching and I had an itchy scalp on a very small region at the back of the scalp. As a healthcare professional myself I did not expect the trichologist to have a magic wand and cure me in one session. 3 appointments ( almost 3 months) in and buying all products recommended (7 of them - the calming scalp cream is missing in the picture) , my scalp became extremely flaky and itchy to an extent that It kept me awake at night. When informed the trichologist my experience, the only recommendation was to trial the Cade oil shampoo... which caused me further discomfort and irritation.I had to stop using all their products as I couldn't stand the itchiness and inflammation anymore (although used the cade oil shampoo several times). Who would've thought that going to a trichologist you will end up with and super irritated and itchy scalp?!Very disappointed with the overall experience, I felt the focus was mainly on selling their products, booking for treatments and not necessarily helping me with my concerns, especially that the professional did not have any concers re my condition, 400£ later I ended up booking an app with the Dr in order to solve the issues caused by their products.
03:56 06 Jun 19
I really hated my experience at Fulham Scalp & Hair Clinic and I would not recommend it at all. The reason why I visited was because I had concerns about changes I saw in my hair, particularly the amount of hair I was losing at the sides (edges).I booked an appointment which comprised of a consultation + 1st treatment. I had the consultation with the owners daughter who asked me about my hair routine, health, products and also took a sample of my hair to look at underneath a microscope. During the consultation the main points she explained to me were that blow drying my hair was bad, the hair needed to be washed more often and hair grease and oils were very bad for my hair despite the fact I have been using them my whole life and I had a good amount of hair. After the consultation she then washed it with their own branded hair products, steamed it did some light therapy and then braided it. She then told me that I would have to come back at some point for a trim and that her mother (the owner) was the only one that could do it. At the end she gave me some basic instructions about using the hair products, and I also purchased some of their products.A few days using their products I experienced a very high level of dryness to my scalp even though I was using A LOT of products everyday my hair would be extremely dry after a couple of hours. When I called them about it the receptionist answered and said the clinic was really busy and that I should try and use coconut oil despite not even being a qualified trichologist, and the trichologist warning that oils were bad for the hair! At my next appointment for the trim I was treated by the owner, she made remarks about how dry my hair was (even though I was following the instructions and using ONLY their products), and how as a black person I should be proud of my hair and wear more natural hair styles, and throw away the blow dryer. She washed my hair and then trimmed it! Which I had never heard of in my life especially with afro hair because it can shrivel up to virtually nothing so when you cut even what seems like the tiniest bit it is actually a lot, but she insisted that it was the "correct" way. During the trim I found it really humiliating and embarrassing because in the styling room I was sat next to another lady who was also having her hair treated and I just really hated every moment of the owner trimming my hair and also lecturing me in it's damaged state like that. Over the course of 3 months following the instructions, steaming my hair everyday, and washing it once a week and using the products my hair just got worse and also breaking, knotty,shedding, weaker, thinner, and shorter than it was originally at my first consultation. I was really upset, especially as when I contacted them about my concerns they kept saying my hair was just "adapting".I eventually discontinued their advice and products,It didn't happen overnight but my hair eventually gradually got back to how it used to be, by doing the "bad" things such as blow drying, using greases and oils and washing it less often. I feel that Fulham Scalp & Hair clinic are not very knowledgeable in a wide variety of hair types particularly Afro hair. They preach and say blow drying, greases and oils, weaves,wigs and not washing your hair often are bad for the health of your hair yet there are thousands of videos on YouTube which contradict these "theories". I feel they cater more to people with looser hair types and not coarser hair types, the products they sell are also very expensive especially as they do not even contain a lot in them mostly comprise of menthol and water. They also seem to care more about their old customers and do not even ask for feedback from new customers, are really hypocritical of your hair choices even though they wear their hair pin straight. Don't waste your money here, if you are having hair problems think closer to, lifestyle change, stress etcI wasted almost £300 here with no results, think carefully before visiting this clinic, do your own research first!!!

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