Telogen effluvium is the medical term for hair loss that is caused by some event that has a lot of emotional stress, and affects the growth cycle. It's a common cause of hair loss in women who are pregnant or just after pregnancy, because of the high levels of hormones.
In general, telogen effluvium is not considered to be a serious condition and will usually go away within six months or so. You can speed up the process by using specialized shampoos like Nioxin or Viviscal.
Who gets telogen effluvium?
It's not something that affects everyone. For one thing, there's a genetic predisposition for it, so if you have a family history of hair loss, you're more likely to get telogen effluvium.
What Will Happen To My Hair?
If the telogen effluvium is actually caused by the stress of pregnancy or menopause, the hair will start to fall out again after the stress is over. Shampooing again can speed up this cycle and even cause more hair loss when it starts to grow back. In that case, you need to try other shampoos designed for postpartum hair loss.
If you're stressed out about the hair loss, that can lead to additional stress, which will cause more hair to fall out. You might benefit from taking a class in relaxation techniques. There's even some evidence that a brief course of antidepressants can help. Talk with your doctor if you think this applies to you.
If the telogen effluvium is caused by something else, like thyroid disease or anemia, the hair usually grows back when the problem gets resolved. Again, using shampoos like Nioxin or Viviscal can speed up this process.
What is the cause of telogen effluvium?
In most cases, telogen effluvium is caused by some sort of psychological stress. A large part of it can be resolved without a lot of effort, but research shows that the first six months following a traumatic event are the hardest. So if you've recently had a major life change, like getting divorced or having a baby, you might have telogen effluvium.
In many cases, telogen effluvium is genetic. There's also other factors that can affect the body's ability to handle new hormones. But in most cases, there's no medical reason to worry about it – it's just part of getting older, or having babies.
Some cases of telogen effluvium are caused by a medical condition or medication. For example, thyroid disease or iron deficiency anemia can cause hair loss, but those conditions can usually be easily diagnosed and treated.
If you have medical issues that affect your ability to produce new hormones or to handle stress, talk to your doctor about whether it's safe for you to get pregnant.
What Are My Treatment Options?
Whether the treatment for telogen effluvium is simple or complex depends on the underlying cause of the hair loss. If it's caused by stress, then relaxing techniques and antidepressants may help. If it's caused by hormonal problems, then you need to work with your doctor to fix the underlying cause.
In many cases, treatment just requires time. Telogen effluvium that is caused by stress generally resolves with time, and more severe instances resolve more slowly. But there are some things you can do to speed up the process.
For example, using shampoos like Nioxin or Viviscal helps because it promotes the growing phase of the hair growth cycle. You can also use vitamin supplements, but most hair loss experts believe that these are not an effective way to promote your hair growth. And in some cases of postpartum hair loss, a brief course of antidepressants might be very helpful in getting results sooner rather than later.
What About Tools Like Shampoos?
In general, it's hard to see the effects of shampoos on hair growth or hair loss. Shampoos are soap-based – they tend to add weight to your hair, and make it feel greasy. This can make you think that you have more hair than you do. While that can be helpful if you're trying to deal with a diagnosis of alopecia areata (the most common cause of hair loss), it's not an effective way for everyone with telogen effluvium.
While it's possible that specific shampoos hold some promise for helping hair loss, the data isn't strong enough to recommend a particular shampoo just yet. Most experts believe that the best approach is to make sure your scalp is in good health, and to use the shampoo that makes your hair look the best.
How Can I Keep Telogen Effluvium From Happening Again?
If you want to keep telogen effluvium from happening again, try using a shampoo like Nioxin or Viviscal. And if you're stressed out about how much hair you're losing, take some time for yourself and try relaxation techniques or take up a hobby.
Studies show that the first six months after a stressful event are the hardest. So if you had telogen effluvium, take care of yourself the best you can during that period. Do something that relaxes you and reduces your stress level, like yoga or tai chi.
How Long Does Telogen Effluvium Last?
In some cases, telogen effluvium doesn't last long – it's just part of getting older. If you have high levels of stress in your life, make sure to check with your doctor to see what might be causing it and get help if it's needed.
There are no hard and fast rules about how long telogen effluvium lasts. In many cases, it lasts a few months and then resolves on its own. But in some cases, permanent hair loss can result.
If your hair loss is caused by stress, you may find that the first six months are the most difficult. The key is to relax and make sure that you're doing everything you can to reduce your stress level during that period. If it's not caused by stress, then you need to go to see your doctor so he or she can figure out what's causing your hair loss and get it fixed as soon as possible.
What Do Telogen Effluvium Research and Publications Say?
The hair loss research has focused on the psychological aspect of telogen effluvium, with the primary goal being to find out why some people get it and others don't. Most of the studies have focused on postpartum hair loss and hereditary hair loss, but the research is similar in all cases.
Although there's a lot of data, there are not a huge number of publications. Since telogen effluvium is so common, it's not seen as something that needs more research or attention. This can make it hard for researchers to find enough people who have this condition to get statistically significant results.
However, there is enough data to clearly show that the exact cause of telogen effluvium is unclear. Although there are many people out there looking for a single cause, the truth is that there isn't one. Telogen effluvium is a combination of many different things – it's not one thing, but several.
Are You Susceptible to Telogen Effluvium?
If you're susceptible to telogen effluvium, it's important to make sure you're doing everything you can to reduce your stress level and increase your ability to handle stress in the future. If your doctor clears you for pregnancy, be sure that you use contraceptives until at least six months after delivery. Some women have a second episode of telogen effluvium after pregnancy or if they are pregnant again.
Fortunately, there are things you can do to take care of yourself and reduce your stress level. If you have postpartum telogen effluvium, talk to other moms about what worked for them and find a support group. If you're worried about hereditary hair loss, talk to younger family members who can tell you if they've had a similar condition and what they did about it.
If you have telogen effluvium, it doesn't mean that you're doomed to lose your hair. The important thing is to make sure you're taking care of yourself during the time when it's happening and that you're doing everything possible to keep it from recurring.
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