Telogen Effluvium- Symptoms & Treatment
Telogen Effluvium is a general 'thinning' of the hair. Unlike some other hair and scalp conditions, it is temporary and the hair growth usually recovers.Telogen effluvium is a condition where more than normal amounts of hair fall out. Telogen effluvium is an abnormal loss of hair due to alteration of the normal hair cycle. Hair growth occurs in a cycle which is divided into three phases: a growth phase, a regression phase and a resting phase. Different hairs are in different stages of the cycle at any one time. A telogen effluvium is when some stress causes hair roots to be pushed prematurely into the resting state. Telogen effluvium can be acute or chronic. It is typical for a band like area of occipital hair follicles to enter the first telogen close to the time of birth and for these hairs to shed 2 to 3 months later. This sudden increase in hair loss, usually described as the hair coming out in handfuls, is acute telogen effluvium.
Symptoms of Telogen Effluvium
Telogen Effluvium is is related to hair growth cycle which dosn't grow continuously on the human scalp. Telogen effluvium usually occurs about 1-3 months after a major stress to the body. The most common time it occurs is in women about 1-3 months after childbirth. A telogen effluvium is when some stress causes hair roots to be pushed prematurely into the resting state. Telogen effluvium can be acute or chronic.The thinning of hair in telogen effluvium may pass unnoticed unless the condition is severe. The symptom of both acute and chronic telogen effluvium is increased hair shedding. Patients usually only complain that their hair is falling out at an increased rate. The remainder have completed their growth phase, and are "at rest". This phase is called Telogen, and these hairs typically remain in the scalp for about three months before they are shed
Causes of Telogen Effluvium
A considerable number of different causes for telogen effluvium exist. those are
- During pregnancy, more hair follicles are maintained in the growth phase. After pregnancy, a greater proportion of these hairs go into the resting phase, causing a temporary self-correcting increased shedding of the hair.
- The same phenomenon can be seen after stopping birth control pills.
- Changes in diet like crash dieting, anorexia, low protein intake, and chronic iron deficiency
- Allergic contact dermatitis of the scalp
- The flu or stress can also cause telogen effluvium.
- If there is some shock to the system, as many as 70% of the scalp hairs can be precipitated into a resting state, thus reversing the usual ratio. Typical precipitants include:
- Nervous shock
- Weight loss or unusual diet
- Discontinuing the contraceptive pill
- Overseas travel resulting in jetlag.
Treatment of Telogen Effluvium
Telogen effluvium is self-correcting. Telogen effluvium can be treated by simply removing the cause (medication, for example), or waiting for it to run its course.
- There is no treatment for telogen effluvium. The problem will correct itself. All the lost hair will eventually be replaced.
- Ensure a nutritious diet, with plenty of protein, fruit and vegetables.
- These shed or loose hairs all have club-shaped "roots" typical of resting, telogen hairs and may be easily identified under the microscope.
- Any reversible cause of hair shedding, such as poor diet, iron deficiency, hypothyroidism, or medication use, should be corrected.
- The most important issue in telogen effluvium is to determine if an underlying cause for the problem is present.
- Assuming there is no intervening pathological process, all of the hair will be replaced in six to twelve months and the replacement hair should be identical to the hair that was shed.