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What is Telogen Effluvium and am I Experiencing it?

Telogen Effluvium (TE) is the second most common form of hair loss, and “a condition that causes an increased number of hairs to enter the telogen, or resting phase."

According to the American Hair Loss Association, Telogen Effluvium (TE) is the second most common form of hair loss, and “a condition that causes an increased number of hairs to enter the telogen, or resting phase. The additional shedding usually occurs in response to various stresses such as emotional trauma, post-pregnancy, illness, major surgery, and certain medications.”

What is Telogen Effluvium?

To understand TE a little better, it’s important to note that the hair growth phase is cyclical, meaning the hair follicle goes through cycles of growth that repeat over a period of time. The telogen phase as depicted in the image below is the resting phase when you will shed the hair to make room for new hairs.

chart explaining the different hair growth phases in a cycle. This is for a blog post about Telogen Effluvium.

During a Telogen Effluvium episode you can notice more excessive shedding. The telogen phase of the hair cycle is the resting phase. During Telogen Effluvium, either the telogen phase is extended or an abnormal number of hairs enter this phase. It usually presents as a diffuse hair loss, meaning coming from all parts of the scalp. 

Symptoms of TE

Telogen Effluvium usually presents as excessive shedding and occurs from all parts of the scalp. By definition, TE is a nonscarring, temporary hair loss condition from the scalp that occurs around 3 months after a triggering event. It is usually self-limiting, lasting for about 6 months. In TE, hair loss is usually less than 50% of the scalp hair.(National Library of Medicine). 

Most commonly an individual will see increased shedding of hair. This can be caused by pregnancy, rapid weight loss, protein deficiency, emotional stress, physical illness, surgery, trauma, and some medications. The true causes of Telogen Effluvium is still being researched and has yet to be determined due to lack of data.

Some causes of Telogen Effluvium include, but are not limited to:

  • Surrounding environment: Your environment can trigger TE, such as being in a car accident, a major surgery, or a physical illness. This shock to the system causes hair follicles to go into a resting state, causing them to not grow normally as they should in their cycle. Psychological stress and anxiety can also have a physical effect and sudden hair loss as well. 
  • Hormones: Experiencing a sudden change in hormone levels can trigger TE hair loss. Much like an environmental change, drastic changes in hormone fluctuation can cause hair follicles to go into a resting state. Hair growth is usually restored within six months to a year after childbirth if TE occurs after pregnancy. Additionally those on hormone replacement therapy could be at risk, including transgender individuals that may be taking feminizing or masculinizing hormones. 
  • Medications/medical treatment: Some medications like antidepressants, antihypertensives, and oral contraceptives may cause hair loss. If you started a new medication before you started experiencing hair loss, we recommend that you speak to your doctor, as they can assess your symptoms and recommend a different medication. Major surgeries can also put the hair follicles into a resting state.
  • Nutritional diet: Hair requires certain nutrients like protein, B vitamins, and iron to grow. A healthy diet can help to supplement and promote healthy hair growth. If vitamin supplements are your primary source of these nutrients, you should talk with your doctor or a dietician. They can work with you to develop a healthy diet plan. Crash and fad dieting should be avoided.


Are There Treatments for Telogen Effluvium that Medi Tresse can Discuss with Me?

Treating Telogen Effluvium is really a two step process. The first step is determining what is causing the “shock” to your body, resulting in hair loss. Our female hair loss experts will go over your complete medical history with you in your initial consultation. It is possible there was a singular insult like a major surgery, however, with more chronic issues like stress or medications, you will need to correct the underlying cause to truly treat your Telogen Effluvium. 

The second step to treat Telogen Effluvium is to try and strengthen and rejuvenate your hair. The good news is that Telogen Effluvium can often resolve on its own once the initial stressor has stopped. It will just take time and can take up to 1-2 years. However, treatment can often help speed up the recovery time.

While not all treatments are appropriate for Telogen Effluvium, a combination of Low Level Laser Therapy and hair loss supplements can be very effective. Each treatment is different and based on your consultation with your female hair loss specialist. Our expert team of specialists can determine what treatment is best for you.

Continued Self Care and Well-Being Outside of your Appointment with Medi Tresse

Continued care outside of your medical appointments with Medi Tresse can help with treating your Telogen Effluvium. Hair regrowth doesn’t just happen in the office. It’s up to you to ensure that your hair can grow back healthy and strong with the results that you desire. 

Here are some ways that you can continue self-care for your hair growth:

  • Cigarette use: If you are a smoker, heavy metals in cigarettes may worsen hair loss. Avoiding cigarette use is recommended not just for hair loss, but also overall physical health.
  • Well-balanced diet: Eating a healthy diet including food that contains iron, protein, fresh fruit, and vegetables may be helpful. You can talk to your doctor or nutritionist who can recommend certain supplements if your diet is restricted.
  • Maintaining stress: Stress can be one of the leading causes of Telogen Effluvium. Diet and exercise can be beneficial for hair regrowth as well as stress. Some individuals also consider therapy or an outlet for them to release some of the daily stress in their lives.
  • Get enough sleep: Most adults need approximately seven to nine hours of sleep per night. A good night’s sleep is an important part of stress reduction.

While Telogen Effluvium is common, the good news is that it is usually reversible and complete regrowth occurs in about a year or two. However, it is extremely important to determine the cause and treat both the underlying cause and the hair loss.

If you have or suspect you might have Telogen Effluvium symptoms, book your consultation with our female hair loss specialists today.

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The Medi Tresse team is composed of experts in female hair loss. We are committed to offering innovative, non-surgical treatments for hair rejuvenation in women. Whether you are simply looking to increase your hair’s thickness or want to stop more extensive hair loss, Medi Tresse has a wide array of solutions ranging from platelet-rich plasma therapy to low-level laser therapy.

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