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Telogen Effluvium: Common Causes for Hair Loss

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Some types of hair loss are referred to as ‘effluvium’ or an outflow. When you have effluvium, it affects the different parts of the hair’s growth cycle. Telogen effluvium is another commonly diagnosed reasons for hair loss, but very little research has been done to understand it. The condition occurs when there is a change in the amount of hair follicles that are able to grow hair. When the number of active hair follicles significantly drops during a telogen phase, hair follicles in the dormant telogen phase will increase in number, resulting in hair loss and shedding.

Understanding Hair Growth Cycles

The scalp’s hair follicles do not continuously grow hair. They go through growth stages that can last for at least two years, but can go on for more before regressing to a rest stage, which can be up to two months. A healthy human scalp has 80 to 90 percent of hair follicles that are at the anagen phase, which means that they can grow hair. The 10 to 20 percent of hair follicles are at the telogen phase, which means they are in a resting stage and they are not producing any hair fibre.

 

What Happens When You Have TE?

Telogen effluvium can make your hair look thin. The thinning of hair can be more severe in some parts of the scalp. It often affects the hair on top more than it does the back and the sides. The hairline does not usually recede, except in some rare cases where TE has become chronic. 

The hairs you shed due to telogen effluvium are the telogen hairs. You can identify them by the small keratin bulb on the end of the root. The keratinised lump can be non-pigmented or pigmented. TE does not result in complete hair loss or baldness, but hair can become noticeably thin. Chronic TE usually affects women ages 30 to 60 years who have had very thick to normal hair in their teens and twenties. Stress, illness, pregnancy, weight loss, nutritional deficiencies, and giving birth are some of the reasons why TE happens. Certain anti-cancer medications, chemotherapy, and radiation are known causes of telogen effluvium, too.

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