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Telogen effluvium occurs when sudden or severe stress causes an increase in the shedding of the hair

Updated: Saturday, Sep 18,2010, 10:35:16 AM
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What is telogen effluvium?

Under normal conditions, scalp hairs live for about three years (the anagen, or growing, phase); they then enter the telogen, or resting, phase. During the three-month telogen period, the hair root shrivels up into a small white "club," then the hair falls out. It is therefore normal to lose about 100 hairs every day, more of them on days when shampooing loosens the hairs that are ready to fall out. The hairs are then replaced by the body.

None of these has to be life-threatening, nor does hair loss always follow them. (It can happen after one pregnancy but not the next.) But when the hair falls out, it's all over the place -- covering the pillow, clogging the drain, and so forth. Paradoxically, the more dramatic the hair loss, the better the prognosis, because when the body gets back into normal rhythm, most if not all of that hair comes back. No special treatment is needed. Normal shampooing can continue, because this only loosens hairs that were going to come out anyway.

Telogen effluvium occurs when sudden or severe stress causes an increase in the shedding of the hair. With Telogen Effluvium, a sudden or stressful event can cause certain hair follicles to prematurely stop growing and enter into the telogen (resting) phase. The hairs affected by Telogen Effluvium will then stay in the resting phase for about 3 months after which time they will shed. Often the person experiencing Telogen Effluvium will have recovered from the event before the hair loss occurs.

In most cases of Telogen Effluvium the hair loss is temporary and the hair soon recovers. However in some cases of Telogen Effluvium the hair loss continues until the underlying cause is resolved. Telogen effluvium appears to affect more women than men because more of the precipitating events such as childbirth are experienced by women.

    * childbirth,

    * high fever,

    * sudden weight loss (crash dieting),

    * surgery,

    * severe illness,

    * and severe stress or loss (death in family, announcing change in sexual preference "coming out of the closet," divorce, etc.).

Tags: Hair Loss

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