mhn news & blog

August 02, 2011

Telogen Effluvium: Another type of hair loss

In an average head of hair, the anagen, catagen and telogen hair ratio is: 90% of all hairs are in the anagen phase, 1-2% are in the catagen phase and 8%-9% are in the telogen phase.

Telogen Effluvium (TE) is a medical condition that results when the anagen, catagen, and telogen ratios are disrupted skewed toward the telogen phase. The result of this hair growth phase imbalance results in hair loss. TE is the second most common form of hair loss, behind Alopecia Areata.

The Cloud and Silver Lining of TE

  • Why TE is a problem - people with TE notice a diffuse thinning of hair over their entire scalp. It is common, however, for the top of the head to lose more shafts than the sides or back.
  • Why TE sufferers have hope - the hairline, for a TE sufferer, typically remains in place (will not recede), and the hair loss is not complete. Even better, TE may be reversible in any of its three forms.

3 Types of TE

Single Surprise Attack

Hair follicles don't like being shocked anymore than people do. An environmental shock can throw-off the delicately timed phases of hair growth. If the environmental shock is temporary, this short term form of TE can last about 6 months, and the TE sufferer may see normal hair thickness return in approximately one year.

Hair Hibernation

Sometimes hair follicles enter the telogen state and rest longer than they are supposed to. Like a bear sleeping during the winter, the hair follicle may fall into a hibernation state over a prolonged period, likely due to a chronic trigger factor. Not much shedding is noticed, but the hair will thin out over time.

Workaholic Follicles

Busy hair follicles do not always use their earned vacation days. Instead, the hair follicles may continue producing hair. Eventually the hair follicles may “burn out” and produce thin, weak fibers that easily shed thus causing you extremely thin hair.

TE Triggers and Possible Underlying Causes

  • Vaccinations and medications may cause a temporary environmental shock,
  • Crash dieting, or a diet deficiency (diet deficiency is more common in third world countries, however, some doctors point to the fact that people eat less red meat than previously, or none at all (switching from a meat rich diet to a vegetarian/vegan diet),
  • Physical trauma such as a car accident, emergency surgery and broken limbs,
  • Chronic emotional stress, and chronic illnesses, and
  • Ingestion of Toxins (found in the air, food or water).
  • If you’re a woman, you may have a change in hormone levels after giving birth (most often hair re-grows quickly once the hormone levels return to normal),

Treatment for TE

The most widely used treatment for short term TE is patience. It is not easy to exercise patience but if your doctor diagnoses you as a TE sufferer, your hair thickness will return with time. As Auguste Rodin stated: “Patience is a form of action.”

Overall, the best plan for long term hair loss is to proactively identify the underlying causes or factors and seek treatment. For example, if a diet deficiency, chronic stress, or thyroid imbalances are detected as the triggers for your TE then a treatment plan for those conditions may allow hair growth to go back to normal. If the underlying cause/trigger for your TE is not found, many doctors recommend hair growth stimulants such as Low Level Laser Therapy, Minoxidil or Propecia.

The best plan is one where you take action and try to find whether you have TE or some other form of hair loss condition. Once you know what is causing your hair loss, you can do something about it. Your options may range from hair stimulants such as Low Level Laser Therapy, Minoxidil, or non-surgical hair replacement. Either way, I will be glad to provide you with a consultation.

For more information call 1(800) HAIR-202 to schedule a private, complimentary evaluation.