About 90% of a person’s hair is actively growing while others are dying to reproduce new ones. Also, while washing or combing, we shed a certain amount of hair, which causes no problem. A problem arises from an increase in hair loss and the rate at which such occurs. Generally, an individual sheds an average of 100 strands each day but increases from any number higher than that.
Chronic Telogen Effluvium is a hair condition that involves serious hair loss causing damage to the scalp. Typically, the average number of hairs shed each day increases from one hundred to three hundred. Interestingly, it has been traced to no particular medical illness but associated with adulthood. From the age of thirty, many women start to shed hair severely. Also, it is neither the same as alopecia areata nor acute telogen effluvium.
It is a short-term condition that causes the hair to thin out and often occurs after a shock, stress, or traumatic episode. Although it may last as long as six months or more, you can reverse it.
What Triggers Changes in Your Hair Cycle
Usually, the hair cycle runs through three phases: the growth stage, the transitional, and the resting phase. Chronic telogen effluvium happens in the last stage (resting), which is also referred to telogen phase when it slows down growth and increases shedding. Change in hair cycle can be triggered by several factors that include
People who undergo stress for a long period are at higher risk of experiencing cycle imbalances. Symptoms usually surface three months after such stress.
Certain nutrients are necessary for hair growth and maintenance. They include Vitamin B, minerals, zinc, and protein. A diet deficient in these nutrients often causes a decline in an individual’s hair quality and quantity.
Heavyweight loss can also be the cause of hair loss. Hence, people with anorexia nervosa have more tendencies to experience hair loss.
Pregnant women retain hair in the growth phase, and the hair began to shed few months after delivery occurs due to hormonal imbalances. It is often referred to as post-partum telogen effluvium.
When women attain menopause, certain imbalances with the hormone could lead to telogen effluvium.
It seems ironic, but some drugs increase the chances of hair loss. An example of such a drug is recreational drugs.
Underlying Health Condition
Some health conditions are risk factors of telogen effluvium—for instance, alopecia areata, thyroid gland diseases, and autoimmune disease.
Going through surgery can be traumatizing. One can develop telogen effluvium from undergoing different procedures or thanks to contact with these chemicals.
Symptoms of Chronic Telogen Effluvium
Hair in the resting phase lasts up until the fourth month. Hence the symptoms are not apparent until then. The usual duration for this disease condition is a maximum of six months. Only a few cases have gone beyond six months. The symptoms do not include baldness because for each hair that falls; a new strand is reproduced.
There is only one sign of this disease which is increased hair loss. When you notice you shed more hair than usual, it is proper to go for diagnosis. Also, the hair is diffuse; that is, it is not concentrated in one place. Hair falls out while washing or combing or while sleeping.
During diagnosis, the doctor examines your hair and scalp and where hairs have fallen out. Also, some tests may be conducted, such as hair pull test, wash test, and blood test.
Hair Pull Test
The test is conducted to prove the amount of shedding. The hair disease is characterized by great shedding.
It is another test to confirm the number of hairs shed.
Deficiencies of iron, zinc, vitamins, and protein are risk factors for hair loss, and thus, the blood is tested for these insufficiencies. Other signs of the disease are thin hair and an unhealthy scalp.
Generally, treatment is provided for the cause of a thing. Hence, telogen effluvium is treated by providing solutions to the triggering factors. For instance, you may remedy hair loss caused by a poor diet by correcting the diet and increasing the consumption of required nutrients. Foods that enhance hair growth are red meat, green leafy vegetables, beans, liver, lentils, nuts, and grains.
Other options include:
Gentle Hair Care
Massaging the hair scalp aids hair growth. The kind of products you use for your hair determines the quality and quantity to some extent. It is therefore advisable to use gentle care products. Also, comb your hair gently and avoid tight braiding or hairstyles.
It is not sure what medication is suitable for chronic telogen effluvium. However, for acute cases, minoxidil and finasteride are proven medications. Also, corticosteroids have been considered helpful.
On the other hand, where other underlying health issues cause the condition, the solution lies in treating the underlying issues.
Another treatment is performing non-surgical hair replacement and undergoing hormone replacement therapy for people undergoing menopause. The therapy replaces hormonal decline in the female body. However, it has other side effects such as nausea, bloating, headaches, and swollen breast.
Stress management is the greatest tool to combat telogen effluvium caused by stress. Also, one can join a counseling group to suppress internal stress and anxiety.
Regrowth is also known as a reversal process and starts between three to six months from when the condition has been treated. It requires consistency with the treatment and is characterized by a decline in the amount of hair loss.
Over-the-counter products can be useful for hair regrowth; for instance, certain topical creams can be recommended for night application. They are effective for extending the growth stage. Overall, one should be wary of chemically formulated hair products and avoid heat styling.
This is difficult because the disease condition develops suddenly and can be traced to many factors.
The best solution is attacking the root cause of the condition. However, it is pertinent that one goes for a proper diagnosis as hair loss may be a symptom of other health conditions such as cancer. This way, you can be fully protected.