Telogen Effluvium is one of the most common types of hair loss, and it is usually characterised by excessive shedding and a diffuse thinning of the hair all over the scalp. The hair loss is a result of a significant number of hair follicles entering the Telogen (resting) phase from where they are shed. Rather than returning to the Anagen (growth) phase to produce new hairs, a large number of hair follicles become dormant and stop producing hair. The hair loss is diffuse and can be hard to see in the beginning besides the excess hair in the brush or during hair washes. The hair loss is usually evenly distributed over the scalp, but in some areas the hair loss can be worse or more apparent. The condition is generally more common in women.
Telogen Effluvium can be triggered by a number of different factors, such as stress, hormonal changes or illness, and the condition can develop quite rapidly once it sets in, which is usually 4-16 weeks after the issue that triggered the condition due to the normal duration of the Hair Growth Cycle – this type is often called acute TE. The other type takes longer to develop and can be more persistent. It manifests itself as a normal amount of shedding over a longer period with more and more hairs becoming dormant after they are shed, resulting in a gradual thinning. This type is usually referred to as chronic TE. However, usually Telogen Effluvium is fully reversible as the hair follicles are not damaged, but simply dormant and caught in the resting phase.
A large number of women will experience Telogen Effluvium after giving birth. This is a well-known phenomenon in relation to the normal fluctuation of hormones, which can influence the Hair Growth Cycle. This occurs as the normal Telogen phase is delayed during pregnancy, causing hair shedding to temporarily reduce and thereby create a sense of increased fullness of the hair. Typically only 10% of hairs are in the Telogen phase during the second and third quarter of pregnancy. Post-delivery, hormone levels begin to return to normal and a lot of hair is shed all at once.
In the first weeks of the postpartum period, individual hairs begin to simultaneously enter the Telogen phase; ultimately reaching a level of 30% after nine weeks on average. Therefore, the abnormal amount of hair in Telogen results in the simultaneous release from the scalp somewhere between 2 to 4 months after childbirth. The postpartum hair loss phenomenon typically continues for a duration lasting between 6 weeks and 6 months and even occasionally lasts up to 15 months.
Up to 40-50% of new mums will actually experience hair loss after giving birth, and postpartum hair loss is more common than most women realise. Telogen Effluvium or Postpartum Effluvium, as it is sometimes referred to in relation to hair fall after childbirth, is a result of a Disrupted Hair Growth Cycle and should therefore be treated as soon as possible to avoid a worsening of the condition.
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