What is telogen effluvium? Effluvium, which literally means “outflow”, affects different phases of the hair growth cycle. Hair goes through growth stages that can last up to two years, and then eventually goes into the resting phase.

Telogen effluvium is defined as the second most common cause of hair loss. However, according to WebMD, very little research has been done to understand the cause and effect of TE. TE happens, essentially, when there is a change in the number of hair follicles that are actually growing hair. For example, if the number of hair follicles producing hair drops during the resting (telogen) phase, there is then an increase in dormant hair follicles — which then leads to shedding (TE).

How it’s Defined | What is Telogen Effluvium?
Telogen Effluvium is defined as a diffused pattern of thinning and can be all over the scalp. It is not an even pattern and can be more severe on some areas of the scalp compared to others. And it is typical that the hair will thin on the top of the scalp more than it will on the sides and back of the scalp. The good news about telogen effluvium is that it is reversible.

Three Ways TE can Develop:

  1. Hair Shock – Sometimes an environmental factor can “shock” the hair follicles into the resting phase more quickly. This then results in hair shedding and hair fall on the scalp. The “shock” can result in noticeable hair loss within the first two months and it can be severe. Luckily, a short-lived trigger will allow for a reverse in the hair loss and back to a normal growth pattern within 6 months at the earliest.

  2. Gradual Hair Loss – Gradual TE is when the hair follicles all go into the resting phase as they normally would, but then they end up staying in that phase for an abnormal length of time.

  3. Truncated Growth Cycles – In this scenario, the hair follicles don’t stay in the resting phase but cycle through truncated growth cycles – resulting in thin hair on the scalp and shedding of short, thin hairs.

What is Telogen Effluvium |  What Triggers TE?
There are many triggers of TE that vary from child birth to stress and poor diet. For example, crash dieting can cause hair shedding (TE) if the person is not getting the proper nutrients in their diet for healthy hair and scalp. Physical trauma is another cause that can lead to hair shedding and telogen effluvium. Even some vaccinations can cause TE and other symptoms related to hair shedding and hair loss. It’s important to determine first the cause before determining what is the best treatment option for the condition.


Other causes of TE:

  • Chronic illness

  • Chronic stress

  • Dietary problems

  • Physical trauma

  • Vitamin deficiencies

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