Telogen effluvium is a form of diffuse hair loss that occurs when the anagen (growth) phase of the hair growth cycle is cut-short by an internal disturbance. This causes many more hairs than usual to move from anagen into the telogen (shedding) phase all at once, resulting in excessive daily hair fall.
Telogen effluvium can be either acute or chronic depending on the cause and the severity of the disturbance. Due to the nature of the hair growth cycle, diffuse hair loss usually takes place 6 – 12 weeks after the event that triggered it, so you may not always connect the two. If you notice excessive hair shedding, look back a couple of months for possible causes.
On average, it is ok to lose up to 100 hairs a day provided they are growing back. However, telogen effluvium can result in as many as 300 hairs being shed in a 24 hour period. You will probably notice more hairs coming out when you brush and style, in your shower drain and perhaps on your pillow and clothes.
What Causes Telogen Effluvium?
Telogen Effluvium can be caused by a wide range of factors including, but not limited to, iron deficiency, ferritin (stored iron) deficiency, protein deficiency, shock, rapid weight loss, crash dieting, stress, a high fever, the stomach flu and pregnancy.
Treatment for Telogen Effluvium
Telogen effluvium resulting from short-term illness, such as a high fever or stomach upset, will usually resolve itself. However, chronic telogen effluvium due to nutritional deficiencies often needs to be treated with appropriate nutritional supplements. Blood tests can be very helpful in diagnoses and should always be carried out if you have noticed increased hair loss for longer than 6 weeks.
Telogen effluvium is a temporary type of hair loss and almost always grows back once the underlying issue has been resolved.