Chronic Telogen Effluvium: What Is It and How Can It Be Treated?

It is natural to lose up to 100 hairs during a day. This is because your hair is destined to shed in order to grow back. During a normal hair cycle, your hair follicles grow, rest for a few months, start shedding, and then regrow. But what happens when you shed about 200-300 hairs a day? If that's the case, you might be suffering from telogen effluvium - the second most common type of hair loss. This article involves everything about chronic telogen effluvium, its causes, and current treatment options. Let's take a look.

Meet the expert

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

Introduction

What Is Chronic Telogen Effluvium?

To understand what telogen effluvium is, let's have a brief overview of the biology of your hair. There are about 100,000 hairs present on your scalp. At any time, as many as 90% of your hair follicles happen to be in the Anagen (growth) phase. This leaves 10% of hair follicles in the telogen (resting) phase, during which no hair fiber is produced [1]. 

Telogen effluvium occurs when this hair cycle goes out of balance. 

A person is known to have telogen effluvium if they experience episodes of excessive hair shedding. Telogen effluvium occurs when more than 30% of your hair follicles remain in the resting (telogen) phase so that anagen (growth) phase is shortened. The condition is described as chronic when hair follicles continue shedding for more than six months [2].

In most cases, women with thick and long hair are diagnosed with chronic telogen effluvium.

Telogen effluvium does not cause complete hair loss, but it exposes a person's genetic tendency to male or female pattern baldness. 

What Are the Symptoms of Chronic Telogen Effluvium?

The primary symptom indicative of chronic telogen effluvium is an abnormal increase in hair shedding a day. For some people, the symptom can be the falling out of hair every time they brush or wash their hair. While for some people, the first symptom is the thinning of hair in multiple places on the scalp. 

A receding hairline due to excessive hair loss is another symptom of this condition. Chronic cases also cause hair to fall out from the eyebrows and the pubic region. 

What Are the Causes of Chronic Telogen Effluvium?

There are a number of triggers that may cause chronic telogen effluvium. They include:

1. Childbirth.

Women experience more hair growth during pregnancy because their hair is in the anagen phase for a longer time. 3-6 months after birth, hormonal fluctuations cause more hair follicles to fall out. This condition is known as post-partum telogen effluvium [3].

2. Severe Stress. 

Psychological stress also causes excessive hair loss. It has been estimated that you experience hair loss three months after prolonged stress or a stressful event [4].

3. Menopause. 

Many hormonal changes occurring during menopause can also cause telogen effluvium. 

4. Poor Diet.

Your hair also needs essential nutrients to grow healthy and more voluminous. A diet deficient in zinc, B vitamins, protein, and iron has a bad influence on the quantity and quality of your hair, thus making your hair more prone to excessive hair shedding. 

Other factors that may trigger chronic telogen effluvium include:

  • Sudden weight loss
  • Certain medications
  • Metal toxicity
  • Surgery 
  • Skin diseases that affect the scalp
  • Endocrine disorders like hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism
  • Immunizations 

How Can Chronic Telogen Effluvium Be Treated?

Chronic telogen effluvium is treated by fixing what is triggering it. Once your doctor identifies the trigger behind the condition, he/she can help you have your hair grow back. Here are some treatment options for treating excessive hair loss caused by chronic telogen effluvium:

1. Consider medication. 

The ideal solution for treating chronic telogen effluvium is over-the-counter medications that help with hair regrowth, such as 5% minoxidil. Minoxidil is a topical product that boosts hair growth by prolonging the anagen phase [5].

2. Correct Nutritional Deficiencies.

If telogen effluvium is due to a deficiency of essential vitamins and minerals, it is important to correct these deficiencies. Eating a well-balanced diet helps your body have an abundant supply of iron, folic acid, vitamin B12, vitamin D, and zinc. What's more? A healthy diet not only regulates your hair growth cycle but also prevents further hair shedding.

3. Manage Your Stress Levels. 

Since prolonged stress periods can be the cause of telogen effluvium, it needs to be addressed. You can manage your stress levels by trying mindful meditation, yoga, some forms of exercise, and journaling. These tricks offer a healthy way of coping with stress. 

4. Practice Gentle Hair Care.

Taking good care of your hair is an effective way of reducing the progression of telogen effluvium. Make sure you're gentle with your hair by avoiding curling or straightening until the condition is better. You should use shampoos and conditioners with no harsh chemicals that may damage your hair and cause hair thinning. 

Some people believe that they will prevent hair loss by reducing the washing regimen. This is not true because you'll lose more hair if you do not wash your hair thoroughly. Therefore, it is important to wash your hair frequently to help your hair recover faster. 

PRP Treatment for Chronic Telogen Effluvium:

The platelet-rich plasma has become the new state-of-the-art treatment for patients with chronic telogen effluvium. During the PRP treatment, the blood drawn from the patient is centrifuged to extract the plasma. Growth factors present in the plasma stimulate hair follicles to regrow, thus producing more voluminous hair [6].

The PRP treatment comes with no side effects because it uses your body's own growth factors. You can opt for the PRP treatment even when taking medications, during pregnancy, or after surgery. If you're looking for a permanent solution to treat telogen effluvium, PRP for hair loss may be the perfect option. 

The Bottom Line:

The sooner you find ways to manage your telogen effluvium symptoms; the more chances are to prevent the condition from being irreversible. Taking care of your hair, eating a healthy diet, and taking over-the-counter medication can help your hair grow back. PRP for hair loss has become a 100% natural and effective treatment option for patients of chronic telogen effluvium with no risk and complications. The treatment is completely safe, with possible chances of hair regrowth. 

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