Many people do not handle their hair with care because they see their mane as an accessory in embellishing outward beauty. If you’re among them, you may need to reconsider hair care habits. Your hair’s value goes beyond what you can imagine. It consists of miniature organs underneath the scalp that work together to produce high-quality strands.
However, internal and external factors can distress these organs, thereby disrupting the hair growth cycle. When this happens, it can lead to a hair loss problem known as telogen effluvium (TE).
What is telogen effluvium all about, and how does this hair problem stress you out? Get to know more about this alopecia’s symptoms, causes, and treatment.
What Is Telogen Effluvium?
Telogen effluvium is a hair loss condition involving a disturbance in the hair growth cycle. Hair grows differently in three phases: the anagen (growth), catagen (transition), and telogen (resting) stages. After serving their time for growth and development, your hair follicles start to decline in the catagen phase before becoming inactive during the telogen phase. The hair in the follicle, also known as the bulb hair, remains at rest for a while until the new strand grows and pushes it out. However, certain factors can miniaturize these resting follicles, thereby making them dormant for good. As a result, your strands in the telogen phase start falling out inadvertently.
The Symptoms: How Will You Know If It Is Telogen Effluvium?
How will you know that you’re experiencing telogen effluvium? Check out the following symptoms.
1. Thinning of hair
Having sparser hair is the first sign of telogen effluvium. Follicles in the resting state do not receive oxygen and nutrients, resulting in their malnourishment. Because of that, your hair becomes more susceptible to strand breakage and hair fall.
2. Excessive hair fall
A person can shed an average of 100 strands a day. Therefore, it is natural to see hair strands lying on the bathroom or bedroom floor. Hair shedding is your mane’s everyday routine; follicles rest and shed as a result. But when the number goes beyond your anticipation, you must be alarmed with your hair’s health.
3. Receding hairline
If most of your hair strands are forcibly pushed into the telogen phase, they may not immediately grow back like they used to do. However, hair shedding can be gradual, so it’s less likely to be noticeable in the first few weeks.
4. Evident thinning patches
If left undiagnosed and untreated, telogen effluvium can go on for several months, which can cause thinning patches on your scalp. Therefore, it is necessary to seek medical help if you’ve noticed these changes.
The Culprits of Hair Loss: What Causes Telogen Effluvium?
According to Harvard Medical School, various factors can trigger alopecia. Below is a list of all the possible reasons why you’re suffering from telogen effluvium.
1. Hormonal Changes
Hormones are regulators of your body’s physiological processes, and when there is a disturbance in your hormonal levels, it can even affect your hair growth cycle. A surge of androgens resulting from declining estrogen and progesterone levels can bind your follicles even in the resting phase, causing premature hair shedding. Irregularities in other hormones such as thyroxine, insulin, serotonin, and adrenaline can also lead to telogen effluvium.
2. Psychological Stress
The mind is not separate from the body; whatever goes on your mind will most likely affect your physical health. Stress and anxiety are two of the principal causes of health problems, including hair loss.
When your body is under duress or tension, it produces cortisol hormones to fight off the after-effects of stress. These hormones push your anagen follicles into the telogen phase to save more energy in times of emergency. However, being overstressed can lead to high cortisol levels, compelling most of your hair follicles to rest.
3. Physical Trauma
Serious injuries due to accidents can also affect your hair growth. When your body identifies the injured parts, it immediately re-allocates more nutrients on those critical areas for their sustenance, thereby neglecting other body parts such as your hair. As a result, your hair cells may die due to abrupt malnourishment, coercing your hair to fall out prematurely.
4. Medical Conditions/Illnesses
Many health-related problems can affect your hair’s condition in which some of them can push many of your follicles into the resting state.
a. Thyroid Disorders
Thyroid-related issues such as hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism can cause telogen effluvium. The hormones secreted by your thyroid gland are in charge of your body’s metabolic activities, making them essential regulators of hair growth. These hormones provide energy for your hair cells.
However, thyroid issues can adversely affect its hormonal production, which can hamper your hair growth cycle. Therefore, having too high or too low thyroid hormone levels due to thyroid problems can shock your body, leading to telogen effluvium.
b. Diabetes and cardiovascular diseases
Diabetes is an ailment that causes your blood sugar levels to surge. On the other hand, cardiovascular diseases are problems relating to your heart and blood vessels. Both disorders have one thing in common: they can harmfully affect your blood circulation. Poor blood flow can impede nutrients from reaching your follicles and affect the hair growth cycle.
5. Nutrient Deficiency
A poor diet will most likely lead to a lack of vitamins, minerals, and proteins vital to hair growth.
Among those essential nutrients is iron. Your red blood cells’ hemoglobins need enough iron to fulfill their duty of carrying oxygen to the different body parts. Inadequate iron supply can weaken the follicles, impelling them into the telogen phase.
Besides iron, you must also load your diet with antioxidants since your telogen follicles are vulnerable to free radical damage. Berries, spinach, artichokes, beets, and citrus fruits are among the antioxidant-rich foods you must include in your everyday meals.
And of course, you need your hearty supply of proteins in your diet to maintain your hair’s durability and elasticity. By strengthening your hair’s structure, you can prevent your strands from breaking and falling.
6. Childbirth and Menopause
Women are inclined to experiencing telogen effluvium because of childbirth and menopause. These two significant events can cause high-stress levels and hormonal imbalance, which can trigger hair loss problems.
Your ovaries will not produce estrogens 24/7, especially after giving birth. Postpartum telogen effluvium happens when your body is taken by surprise after a sudden decrease in estrogen production, pushing your hair follicles in their dormant state. That same goes for women in the menopausal period. As you grow older, your ovaries’ hormonal production also declines, thereby causing hair growth problems.
7. Medical Drugs
Some medical drugs and procedures can also cause alopecia problems. For example, people at risk of severe heart diseases use anticoagulant medicines to prevent blood clots. However, these drugs can affect your blood vessels, thus, upsetting the blood circulation towards your hair follicles.
Besides ingesting anticoagulant drugs, hormone replacement therapy (HRT) is another treatment that can cause telogen effluvium. Though HRT ought to help women suffering from hormonal problems, people may misuse this treatment. This abuse can lead to an overdose of hormonal intake, resulting in other hormone-induced problems.
If you have experienced any symptom and cause mentioned above, you need to take action as soon as possible. Read more to learn about treating telogen effluvium.
Treatment Time: Different Ways to Treat Telogen Effluvium
You can resolve telogen effluvium without the need for proper medication. However, you may have to wait for several months before freeing yourself from TE’s after-effects. Unfortunately, there has been no drug proven to cure telogen effluvium. Yet, you can still treat this alopecia. Here are some ways to shoo your telogen effluvium problem away.
1. Improve your diet.
One effective way to fight off the unwanted signs of telogen effluvium is to improve your nutrition. Having a well-balanced diet is a vital move to see your hair growth’s progress. Thus, include superfoods rich in hair growth vitamins and minerals to ensure your hair’s healthy growth cycle.
2. Opt to have a blood test to identify and treat the underlying cause.
Telogen effluvium does not happen in a blink of an eye. Most of the time, it is prompted by another physical or internal change in your body. A blood test will help you ascertain if problems are going on inside your body; the results can also guide you in monitoring your overall health.
3. A healthy lifestyle involves good stress management.
Avoiding stress is more challenging than you can imagine. Thus, instead of evading it, learn how to manage it. Controlling your temper and handling stressful situations can prevent you from stressing out on hair loss problems.
4. Use anti-hair loss products for your mane.
Using anti-hair loss products can fortify your mane and prevent them from breaking and falling. Therefore, use shampoos and conditioners enriched with DHT-blockers and vitamins for high-quality hair growth.
You Can Solve The Mystery Behind Telogen Effluvium.
Telogen effluvium is one but another hair loss problem that you can solve. With a proper diet, a healthy lifestyle, and a stress-free environment, you will never experience losing your hair strands again.