The word effluvium means “to flow out “. The term telogen effluvium (TE) is used to describe excess shedding during a particular phase of the hair growth cycle.
Each hair grows in a cycle of three repeating phases:
- Anagen, the growth phase, lasts 2 to 6 years
- Catagen, the transition phase, lasts only a few weeks
- Telogen, the resting phase, lasts a few months
During the telogen phase, hair follicles become dormant and hair growth stops. At the end of this phase, the hair is shed. Normally, you will shed 50 to 100 strands of hair a day.
You have about 100,000 hairs on your head and each one of them is in a different phase of growth. This prevents excessive shedding at any one time. Most of your hair, between 85% - 90%, is in the active growing or anagen phase, while the other 10% - 15% of your hair is transitioning into or is in the telogen phase. Telogen effluvium occurs when the number of hair follicles in the dormant telogen phase increases, usually due to a specific trigger.
What are the causes of Telogen Effluvium?
Very little research has been done to fully understand all the causes of telogen effluvium. What experts do know is that the causes are varied, including:
Women may experience TE due to sudden hormonal changes after giving birth. This condition is typically short lived and most women will see their hair grow back to its normal fullness in a few months. This is also referred to as postpartum alopecia.
A lack of certain nutrients and minerals in your diet can cause TE. Iron, zinc, amino acids, and vitamins B6 and B12 are all essential to healthy hair growth.
Chronic illness or stress
If you’re suffering from a chronic illness, it can result in TE. Most dermatologists also believe that chronic stress has a harmful impact on hair follicles and can lead to persistent TE. In addition to the stress of having a chronic illness, some medications used in treatment can cause the hair follicles to go into hibernation—particularly some antidepressants.
Sudden shock or trauma
Any shock to your system including getting into a car accident, undergoing surgery or even receiving a vaccination can increase the number of hair follicles in the telogen phase, causing TE.
Treatment for Telogen Effluvium
Talk to your doctor as the treatment for Telogen Effluvium depends on the cause. If your hair loss is due to a sudden shock to the system such as surgery or childbirth, your hair will most likely return to normal over time. It’s important to care for the health of your hair and scalp while you are waiting for your locks to recover. Eat a hair-healthy diet, condition your hair regularly and use sulfate- and paraben-free cleansers to remove oil and product build-up.
For informational purposes only. The exact cause of hair loss can only be determined by a medical professional.