Telogen effluvium is a type of hair loss that occurs when a large number of hair follicles enter the telogen (resting) phase of the hair growth cycle, resulting in shedding of hair. While it is a temporary condition, it can be distressing for those who experience it.
The hair growth cycle consists of three phases: anagen, catagen, and telogen. During the anagen phase, hair grows actively, while in the catagen phase, hair growth slows down and the hair follicle prepares to enter the telogen phase. In the telogen phase, hair is shed and the follicle remains in a resting state until the next cycle begins.
In telogen effluvium, a large number of hair follicles enter the telogen phase simultaneously, resulting in a noticeable shedding of hair. This can occur due to a variety of triggers, including stress, hormonal changes, illness, medications, or nutritional deficiencies.
While telogen effluvium is not uncommon, the exact prevalence of the condition is difficult to determine. Some studies have suggested that up to 30% of women experience telogen effluvium at some point in their lives, while others have reported a lower incidence rate of around 2-3%.
The medical pathology behind telogen effluvium is not fully understood, but it is thought to be related to changes in the hair growth cycle caused by external factors. When the body experiences a trigger, such as stress or illness, it can disrupt the normal hair growth cycle and cause a large number of hair follicles to enter the telogen phase.
Some of the most common triggers of telogen effluvium include:
Physical or emotional stress: Stress can cause a wide range of physiological changes in the body, including changes to the hair growth cycle. Studies have shown that stress can increase levels of the hormone cortisol, which can affect hair follicles and lead to hair loss.
Hormonal changes: Changes in hormonal levels can also affect the hair growth cycle. For example, women may experience telogen effluvium after giving birth or during menopause due to fluctuations in hormone levels.
While telogen effluvium is typically a temporary condition, it can take several months for hair growth to return to normal. In some cases, hair may not fully recover and may appear thinner or less dense than before the episode of telogen effluvium.
Treatment for telogen effluvium typically involves addressing the underlying trigger. For example, if the condition is caused by stress, stress-reduction techniques such as meditation or exercise may be recommended. If a nutritional deficiency is identified, supplementation or dietary changes may be advised.
In some cases, medications such as minoxidil or finasteride may be recommended to help promote hair growth. However, these medications are not effective for everyone and may have side effects.
Overall, telogen effluvium is a relatively common condition that can be distressing for those who experience it. While it is typically a temporary condition, it can take several months for hair growth to return to normal. If you are experiencing hair loss, it is important to speak with a healthcare