What is Telogen Effluvium?

General Hair Loss

When the hair cycle functions normally, we are kept in a constant state of rest and regrowth; with 80% of our hair in the growing phase and a measly 20% kept in a dormant phase without growth taking place. When there is a disturbance or a shock to our system, much of the hair on our heads can cease growing and enter into the dormant stage. This happens naturally which leads to large amounts of hair loss.

telogen effluvium
Footballing legend Gianfranco Zola (above), who has been known to suffer with Telogen Effluvium

The change in the hair cycle and falling out of the hair is known scientifically as Telogen Effluvium, a condition found mostly among those who have under gone some physical change such as a trauma, a diet (crash diets specifically) or are at the moment undergoing some form of psychological malaise.

While normally the condition is not serious, it can have an effect on a patient’s wellbeing and confidence.

Those who suffer with Telogen Effluvium will most likely never lose all their hair, however the condition can develop fairly rapidly. At times, the thinning of the hair follicles become noticeable perhaps a month or two after the shock occurred. If the shock that caused the problem is short lived, then the hair follicles will return to normal and start producing new hair fairly quickly.

Telogen Effluvium usually only lasts a few months at most, and therefore most sufferers can expect their normal hair density to return within a year.

Another form of Telogen Effluvium can be a little more chronic and occurs more slowly. More and more of the hair follicles will enter their dormant stage and stay for a prolonged period of time. This type of hair loss will be less notable; instead of large amounts of hair coming out there may simply be a gradual thinning of the hair line.

The third form of Telogen Effluvium is a state where the hair follicles do not remain in that simple resting state but go through a shortened growing period, causing shortened scalp hair and the loss of short thin hair fibers.

What has caused the condition to flare up in your particular case, will determine the best method to treat it. If the cause was only a temporary influence, then the hair will return to growing fairly quickly. A doctor may have the patient undergo a blood test to determine if there has been a dietary problem, in which case supplements may be supplied to the patient to improve the condition.

The most common solution to combat Telogen Effluvium is the removal of stress from the environment of the person suffering the condition. If the exact cause of Telogen Effluvium hair loss cannot be determined, your doctor may prescribe a hair treatment drug such as Minoxidil or Finasteride, although this is fairly uncommon.


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