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What is Telogen Effluvium?

Telogen effluvium (TE) is a type of hair loss that is characterized by excessive shedding of hair. This type of hair loss is considered to be non-scarring, meaning that the hair follicle is not destroyed and can regenerate. While it is normal for individuals to lose up to 100 hairs per day, a noticeable increase in hair loss can be distressing for both men and women.

TE can affect individuals of any age and is not permanent. The condition occurs when there is a disruption in the normal hair growth cycle. The hair growth cycle has three stages: anagen, catagen, and telogen. The anagen stage is the active growth phase, the catagen stage is the transitional phase, and the telogen stage is the resting phase. During the telogen phase, the hair is ready to fall out and be replaced by new hair growth.

TE occurs when there is an increased number of hair follicles in the telogen phase, leading to excessive hair shedding. This can be caused by various inciting factors, including serious illness, major surgery, childbirth, rapid weight loss, nutritional deficiency, emotional stress, and certain medications. In some cases, TE may be caused by a combination of factors.

It is important to note that TE is typically a self-limited condition, meaning that it will resolve on its own. However, it may take several months for the hair to fully recover. In some cases, treatment may be needed to address the underlying cause of TE or to promote hair growth. This may include addressing nutritional deficiencies, managing stress, or using medication to stimulate hair growth.

Overall, TE is a common and reversible form of hair loss that can be distressing for individuals. Recognizing the signs and causes of TE can help individuals address the underlying causes and promote healthy hair growth.

Fortunately, telogen effluvium (TE) typically results in less than a 50% reduction in hair thickness, and complete baldness is not a common occurrence. TE is generally self-limiting, which means that the condition will resolve without medical intervention over time. The excessive hair shedding typically begins 2-3 months after the inciting factor, such as illness or surgery, and reverses once the underlying issue is resolved or corrected. In most cases, this happens within 4-6 months. It can take 6-12 months to notice visible regrowth. Instances of TE lasting over a year are rare.

To diagnose TE, a specialist in the treatment of skin, hair, and nails, such as a dermatologist or dermatology physician assistant, typically conducts a comprehensive evaluation of the patient’s medical history and physical symptoms. Laboratory testing may be necessary if the underlying cause of the condition cannot be determined. Scalp biopsies are usually only performed in cases where a clear diagnosis cannot be made or if the excessive shedding persists for more than six months.

How is Telogen Effluvium treated? The primary approach to treating Telogen Effluvium (TE) is identifying and removing the underlying cause. This may involve making changes to one’s diet, taking supplements or medication, or implementing stress management techniques. Fortunately, TE is a common and resolvable condition.

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