Telogen effluvium is a reactive condition that causes an increase in hair shedding and overall thinning. It can be triggered by sudden or severe emotional or physiological stress, which causes more hair shafts to enter the resting phase (telogen phase) of the hair cycle prematurely. Only after three months do these hairs are shed and thinning becomes apparent.
It is a common cause of female hair loss but can also affect men. This could be due to the greater likelihood of women experiencing the triggers, or due to a less likelihood of men reporting the condition.
In most cases of telogen effluvium hair loss is temporary. In other cases hair loss continues until the underlying cause is resolved or it could be found to be chronic telogen effluvium. Many products have been developed, manufactured, produced and marketed to address hair loss. Two treatments (only one for women) and one phototherapy device are licensed and approved by government medical authorities in the United Kingdom and the Unites States for the treatment of hair loss.
Telogen effluvium is triggered by sudden or severe emotional or physiological stress. Drugs, eating disorders, anaemia, thyroid disorders, shock, a person’s reaction to the death of a family member, chronic illness, major surgery, and mental illness are all possible triggers of telogen effluvium.
Childbirth is a common cause of telogen effluvium. Some statistics suggest that 20% of mothers experience telogen effluvium three months after giving birth and others suggest the figure is closer to 45%. In most cases the hair will return to normal nine to 12 months after the child’s birth.
Due to the range of factors that influence telogen effluvium, a medical professional may seek to conduct a series of diagnostic tests and a medical/family history checks to establish the most probable cause.
In most cases of telogen effluvium hair loss is temporary. Often a person experiencing telogen effluvium will have recovered from the causal event before the hair loss occurs. The hairs which entered the resting phase prematurely and shed three months later return to normal and the growth cycle evens out.
In other cases hair loss continues until the underlying cause is resolved. Conditions which may cause continued hair loss until treated include thyroid conditions, anaemia, diabetes or systemic lupus erythematosus, among others.
There are many hair loss products intended to address thinning hair in women that contain ingredients that may support healthy hair growth during the recovery period. However, only one treatment and one phototherapy device are clinically proven to treat hair loss and stimulate hair growth and are licensed and approved by government medical authorities in the United Kingdom and the Unites States for these purposes. They are Propecia (for men ages over 18 only), Minoxidil and the HairMax LaserComb.