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.

 

Sandra
Sandra
2024-06-12
Dear Eleanor, Teresa and Ashley, I just wanted to thank you all first and foremost for the hospitality. The warmth from the moment one walks in to meet Ashley to then commencing the treatments with Eleanor and Teresa is unmatched. Eleanor and Teresa, I can't thank you enough for the confidence you instilled in me. I came to you when I was at my wit's end. But gently and slowly, you educated me about my hair and treated me back to a place where I started wearing my hair out for first time in over 10yrs, I can wear it out. Thank you for the treatments Thank you for the care Thank you for the education Thank you for the words of encouragement
Whitney Koranteng
Whitney Koranteng
2024-05-25
Hi came across Fulham and scalp through a talk they did. My hair was in desperate need as it was dry with patches. I had a consultation and I found out that along with my dry hair I had traction alopecia due to back to back braiding styles along with CCA due to PCOS. The consultation was amazing. I did not realised how inflamed my scalp was due to hair practices but my lifestyle. I was recommended treatment in the clinic and a treatment to take home. I have been coming back for the past 8 months to receive treatment and trims and I have seen such an improvement in my hair. They have helped me with having a consistent hair routine. I would highly recommend as I was losing hair foicles and had no reason why.
J M
J M
2024-05-16
Trichologist’s Teresa and Eleanore are absolutely lovely, friendly and approachable. Super lucky to have found this Clinic, especially one that specialises in my Afro hair. I’ve taken on all the advice that they’ve given me and my hair has been improving in under 2 months. Naturally, I am feeling 100% confident with my hair. I’m still going on the journey. Their products are absolutely stimulating, and my hair loves it! Ashley is a star. The GREATEST compliments cannot even define the magic these ladies have worked so hard to help me accomplish. Thank you!🌟 Looking forward to my next appointment.✨
Swiss Note
Swiss Note
2024-05-15
Unbelievable place, Magical, I’m so thankful for YOU “Hair & Scalp clinics” work‼️‼️ The treatments you can purchase have worked wonders daily, weekly or monthly use depending on preference, what you can offer, scheduling. It has been so beneficial for me, I can’t lie I came into this unassuming and sceptical as I had scalp issue all my life now it’s all CLEAR UP FROM ME. THANKs to this amazing family run Afro all sorts of hair treated establishments
Ifẹ A
Ifẹ A
2024-05-04
This place has genuinely changed my life! I went from relying on the daily use of wigs to finally being able to understand and appreciate my natural coils. I would never have been able to wear my natural hair out a year ago (mostly due to the fact that I had so many bald spots and basically no hairline!) so I am shocked daily at how far I’ve come in such a short space of time. If you decide to visit, please do listen to the advice of these wonderful experts, it really does work! I’ve also realised how much we over complicate black hair, healthy black hair is actually super simple to achieve. Thank you everyone at Fulham Scalp & Hair Clinic! Each day I wear my hair out, I’m appreciative of the day I discovered this wonderful place!
Beth L
Beth L
2024-04-08
I’ve been getting desperate with my 4C hair situation, so I’m so glad I found this clinic. Eleanore and Ashley were so accommodating and nice! I learned a lot of new things. Now, my hair has improved a LOT after following Eleanore's advice. Highly recommend.
Judith Worrell
Judith Worrell
2024-04-03
I feel and look confident after my treatment and trim from Fulham Scalp and Hair Clinic and recommend anyone struggling with traction alopecia to confront the issue and contact the clinic as I did I have no regrets just new hair growth and a great look.
Courteney
Courteney
2024-01-12
Booked a consultation and the information I received was life changing. Didn't realise how badly I was maintaining my hair. Since getting my hair treated and trimmed, I have been given a healthy hair routine that has given me confidence and happiness. For anyone thinking about it definitely do it. Your not just paying for the treatment but also the knowledge. Customer service and attention to detail was 5*
Cabir TOPO
Cabir TOPO
2024-01-09
Sonia
Sonia
2024-01-02
My hair was damaged from keratin treatments. After doing some research I found this place online. I was nervous about contacting them for fear of judgement and blame. In May 2022 I got in touch. Even before I arrived the receptionist really reassured me and was very kind. Eleanor did my consultation. Her and Teresa are professional, empathetic, warm, supportive and knowledgeable. I didn't really know how to look after natural hair. However this has revolutionised things for me. My hairs unrecognisable to before. Its grown a lot and is the healthiest it's ever been. I'm so glad I found this place. I attend regularly for treatments. I can't recommend this place enough!!
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