Acute Telogen Effluvium: Hair Loss After Pregnancy

Hair loss after pregnancy is one of the most common concerns faced by many new moms. Even though the nine months of pregnancy add thickness and shine to one’s hair, these are often compromised after giving birth. One such condition is acute telogen effluvium, in which a woman experiences increased hair loss due to many causing factors. But you don’t have to worry, as this article brings you all the important details regarding acute telogen effluvium, including its causes and management!

Meet the expert

Dr. Reena Jogi is a dermatologist who specializes in PRP Hair Restoration in Houston, Texas.


What is Acute Telogen Effluvium?

Stress and hormonal changes are one of the most common triggering factors of hair fall. Both these factors alter the growth of hair and compromise the hair follicles. Sudden hair fall is commonly observed after childbirth and surgeries like gastric bypass. The hair first experiences thinning and then ultimately sheds in the form of patches.

This condition is commonly referred to as telogen effluvium - excessive and sudden shedding of hair. Trauma, stress, hormonal changes, and even surgeries can trigger this condition.

All these changes cause thinning of hair strands which ultimately results in loss of hair in the form of patches. Since the condition is temporary, therefore the hair returns back to its normal state after a certain period of time. The condition usually lasts for about six months, and then the growth phase initiates again [1].

What Happens In Acute Telogen Effluvium?

Under normal conditions, hair growth occurs in three stages, the growing phase (anagen phase), Catagen phase, and Telogen phase. The growing phase is characterized by increased hair growth, and the catagen phase is referred to as the stage where hair growth slows down. The telogen phase is the resting phase where the hair goes under resting.

In acute Telogen effluvium, the hair follicles are suddenly forced into the resting stage. Stress factor is commonly the cause of this. The condition resolves on its own, but the hair quality doesn’t stay the same. But with the help of some nutritional adjustments and supplements, the regrowth process can be fastened and enhanced [2].

Symptoms Of Acute Telogen Effluvium:

Losing hair per day is quite normal, but with acute Telogen effluvium, the hair loss varies. The most common symptom is sudden hair loss in patches. The person will experience significant hair loss while combing, brushing, and even on their pillow after sleeping.

The person will observe an abundant amount of hair in the drain during the shower and even thinning of hair. Here’s a list of a few signs of acute Telogen effluvium:

  • Fragile hair, when wet, is easily broken off when combing.
  • Ponytails cause the pulling of hair follicles and the breaking of hair strands easily.
  • Itchy scalp and scratching, causing more hair breakouts.

Postpartum As A Cause Of Acute Telogen Effluvium:

Postpartum is one of the major causes of Telogen Effluvium and is commonly observed among new moms. Pregnancy causes one’s hair growth significantly due to increased levels of estrogens and other hormones, but once you give birth, all these hormones return back to their normal concentrations causing immense hair fall.

The hair fall is quite noticeable as about a hundred hair strands are compromised each day. But since the condition is temporary, the hair returns back to normal. Once the resting phase gets done, the growth phase is initiated, but the regrown hair will be the same as the earlier ones [3].

If the hair doesn’t return back, then this might be the cause of some underlying condition like anemia or thyroid. It is important to consult a doctor during these times for monitoring.

How to Manage?

Postpartum hair loss is temporary and can be managed. During this time, the mother needs to have a balanced and healthy diet rich in nutrients and minerals. This facilitates hair growth to a great extent.

The fallen hair will grow back after some time, but it will be a little shorter and thinner. But with some nutritional adjustments and good supplements, this can be prevented.

Apart from this, you can try different kinds of wigs and styling materials to enhance and improve the look of your hair. Lightweight conditioners also serve great benefits during this time as they add volume to the hair. Remember that the condition is temporary and will only last for about six months.

Hair Loss After Gastric Bypass (Surgery):

Gastric bypass is a weight loss surgery also referred to as “bariatric surgery.” Even though the surgery gives the patient this desired body outlook, it also triggers telogen effluvium as well. The hair loss occurs very suddenly and lasts for about six months.

The telogen phase of the hair growth cycle is mostly affected as the scalp hairs are forced under this stage. The stress caused by the surgery triggers the condition, which ultimately results in significant hair loss [4].

How to Manage?

During this time, it is essential to maintain a balanced diet enriched with proteins, complex carbs, healthy fats, and other nutrients. Make sure to take your multivitamins and supplements.

Consulting a professional dietician and physician can be a smart and good choice as they can tailor your nutritional requirements according to the intensity of your condition.

Telogen Effluvium following weight loss surgery is quite upsetting, but the condition is temporary, and the hair will grow back after a period of 6 months. Make an effort to consume a variety of foods, take your supplements, and drink lots of water.


Telogen effluvium is no doubt a temporary condition, but it causes significant hair loss. The quantity and quality of hair both get compromised. But it is essential to manage the condition well as this can facilitate the regrowth of hairs.

A nutritional and balanced diet helps a great deal in enhancing the growth of hair. Postpartum hair loss and gastric bypass hair loss can be managed with the help of a balanced diet, wigs, and different supplements. The condition only lasts for about six months, and then the hair growth is initiated.

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