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.

 

M Hamilton
M Hamilton
2023-11-10
Great clinic very knowledgeable staff, after one treatment I have seen a great difference in the condition of my scalp. All products are made on site and although expensive you know you are paying for quality
Emma Halsey
Emma Halsey
2023-10-31
Recently my scalp became very itchy and flaky. I noticed my hair was falling out too. I went to the GP several times but my scalp condition did not change. I decided to visit Fulham Salp and hair clinic. The team at the clinic are lovely. They explained what was happening to my scalp and hair and gave me many ideas how to look after the condition including ideas on diet. I did buy some of their products, which are amazing BUT it was NOT a hard sale, I could have easily left without purchasing their products. I am pleased to say that just a few weeks on my scalp is no longer scabby, itchy or flaky. My hair is not falling out either. Thank you fulham scalp and hair clinic I 100% recommend going to this clinic if you have any problems with your hair and/or scalp
Sukhbir Singh
Sukhbir Singh
2023-10-22
This clinic has been a wonderful find. I have scalp psoriasis and have found following Eleanore's instructions and treatment plan has helped me so much. Thoroughly recommend them.
Nazmul Hussain
Nazmul Hussain
2023-06-05
I came here because I was doing research online and found that the clinic focuses on hair, in my case being premature greying and was the most affordable. When I arrived, I didn't know what to honestly expect. I was welcomed in by Eleanor who my consultation was with too, she made me feel calm and collected and thoroughly answered all my questions I had for her. Going through my lifestyle, health and diet. She also done an analysis on my hair with genuinely better answers than I was expecting (excluding minor seb-derm) and took some photos of my hair for a follow-up for later in the year. All in all, even though my main issue wasn't solved being premature greying which is genetic, I would give the service provided by Eleanor a perfect score.
Janeth Sallaby
Janeth Sallaby
2023-05-23
Great service, knowledgeable and supportive.
leena soliman
leena soliman
2023-05-17
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!
Nicolette Cummings
Nicolette Cummings
2023-03-24
professional, helpful and with excellent customer service
zoe Inn
zoe Inn
2023-02-15
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!
Cecilia Morgan
Cecilia Morgan
2022-12-14
Fantastic clinic, such a lovely family run business. Their treatments and products are great! If you're considering going, just book it.
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