Telogen effluvium, as the name suggests is a hair condition wherein excessive outflow or shedding of the hair happens. Scalp hairs typically go through three different stages of growth. These stages are Anagen (active growth of hair; 80-85% of hair remain in this stage), Catagen (transitional phase) and Telogen (resting phase with no hair growth; 10-15% hair remain in this stage). A person suffering from telogen effluvium experiences large number of hair follicles entering the Telogen phase at the same time and experiencing excessive hair-fall.
Telogen effluvium is a hair loss condition in which scalp hair in the telogen phase of their growth cycle shed excessively causing temporary hair loss. Telogen effluvium results in diffuse thinning all over the scalp and is usually a reaction to hormonal imbalance, illness or stress. In most cases, telogen effluvium resolves itself 6-8 months post onset.
Telogen phase of hair growth is the resting phase. In a hair follicle, a telogen hair co-exists with a developing growing or anagen hair. When the anagen hair begins to emerge, telogen hairs tend to shed or fall off. In telogen effluvium, it is believed that the acute event spurs a large number of hairs to enter the telogen phase. Therefore, the shedding of these telogen hairs manifests as an excessive and diffuse shedding of hair from the scalp.
How is telogen effluvium diagnosed?
In case a specific inciting event is known, a scalp biopsy is not necessary to determine telogen effluvium. A simple hair pull test will yield a number of telogen hair characterised by a terminal bulb and the lack of a gelatinous sheath. In the case of chronic telogen effluvium which lasts longer than 6 months, however, bloodwork should be collected to evaluate the patient’s levels of thyroid hormones, CBC count, serum iron, ferritin and iron saturation. Telogen effluvium treatment depends on the type of condition and its symptoms. The condition can be of three types –
- Gradual onset (gradual thinning of hair as telogen phase hair accumulate without entering anagen phase)
- Sudden onset (environmental, physiological and psychological factors triggering the condition that stays for upto 6 months)
- Cyclic Telogen effluvium (with hair follicles entering the condition at short intervals)
Differential diagnosis of telogen effluvium can be done by hair strand analysis (presence of white bulb at the roots), scalp biopsy and blood tests. Once the condition and its extent is determined following treatment options can be explored –
- Topical application of Minoxidil (Rogaine) on the scalp to reduce hair fall and initiate hair growth
- Diet and nutrition management for reversing telogen effluvium
- Treatment of triggers that can cause telogen effluvium such as stress, anxiety, physical trauma, diseases, hypothyroidism, cancer, etc.
- For sudden onset telogen effluvium that results in mass hair fall and doesn’t correct despite changes in lifestyle, treatments like hair transplantation, QR678, stem cell transplant, etc. can be effective
What constitutes telogen effluvium treatment?
- Telogen effluvium is a reactive process and usually resolves itself over a period of a few months. A large part of telogen effluvium treatment involves comforting the patient and letting him or her know that TE is not permanent and is likely to resolve completely.
- Chronic telogen effluvium may last for a much longer time that telogen effluvium and chronic telogen effluvium treatment also includes counselling the patients and explaining that rarely does chronic telogen effluvium progress to baldness.
- Minoxidil has been used in telogen effluvium treatment due to its benefit to enlargement and maintenance of hair follicles.
- Any systemic causes of hair loss that are present such as nutritional deficiencies should be corrected as a part of telogen effluvium treatment.
Hair loss, and telogen effluvium in particular can seem devastating to patients. Telogen effluvium treatment aims to reassure patients of the temporary nature of the condition. An experienced dermatologist, cosmetologist or trichologist can accurately identify telogen effluvium in a differential diagnosis from other types of hair loss. If you are experiencing an excessive amount of hair loss, do consult with a hair specialist to find out the cause of your hair loss and how it can be treated.
Visit QR678.com to find a wide range of options for telogen effluvium treatment. From tradition treatment procedures like topical and oral medications, there are various surgical and non-invasive telogen effluvium treatment options available, which can be selected as per the extent of the condition.