Effluviums


Effluviums are  types of hair loss. Quite many hair loss types go by the name alopecia. Some others are called effluviums or deffluviums. An effluvium is an outflow. Effluvium types of hair loss are the hair loss types that affect some phases of hair life cycle. This type of hair loss is quite common.

Portrait of woman pulling hair thinking of science with formula

Hair has a life and growth cycle. The body does not always produce hair – the hair needs a growth cycle to grow. Anagen, catagen, and telogen are the phases of hair growth. Anagen is the active growth phase of the hair follicle. Catagen is the regression phase, and telogen is the resting phase of the hair. Our hair needs to go through these cycles to produce new hair, and protect our hair from harmful elements.

During the anagen phase, an entire hair is formed. Catagen is a transition period between the anagen and telogen phases of the hair growth. Telogen is the phase where the hair is resting and shed. This allows for new hair to grow, and is a natural part of the hair growth cycle.

Telogen Effluvium

Even though the shedding in the telogen phase is a natural part of the hair growth cycle, there is a limit to the hair that is naturally shed. There is a hair condition called Telogen Effluvium which is a very common hair loss type. We can say that it is the second most common hair loss type. In this hair loss type, more than a normal number of hair follicles are in the resting phase – the body places them prematurely in this phase.

The reasons for Telogen Effluvium is still not widely known. The research on it is ongoing. It was Albert Kligman who first coined the term Telogen Effluvium in 1961.

An increased number of hair follicles exit the hair growth cycle in Telogen Effluvium. Very sudden and severe stress caused by serious emotional incidents can cause Telogen Effluvium. The shedding of the hair is not often immediately noticeable.

Telogen Effluvium usually occurs only on the scalp, but in rare cases in can affect the pubic area or the eyebrows. The whole scalp hair is often not affected by Telogen Effluvium. In some cases of Telogen Effluvium, the hair grows back. The diffuse of the hair in Telogen Effluvium often occurs less at the sides of the scalp rather than the top the scalp. The top of the scalp thins more, and this hair which thins is in the telogen phase of the hair growth.

A person who has Telogen Effluvium loses a considerable amount of hair. There is usually no itching or burning before the hair loss in Telogen Effluvium. To diagnose Telogen Effluvium, one can observe the lost hair strands. If they have knob/bulb – a white bulb –  like structure at the end of the hair strand, you might be suffering from Telogen Effluvium.

Causes of Telogen Effluvium

There are typically two main causes of Telogen Effluvium: natural or physiological Telogen Effluvium and Telogen Effluvium that occurs due to illnesses. We can call this pathological Telogen Effluvium. An environment shock can cause Telogen Effluvium. In such a case, it develops rapidly. It also resolves rapidly.

In another form of Telogen Effluvium, the shedding is slow. Also, the hair stays in the telogen phase longer.

Most women who gave birth experience some hair loss after childbirth. This condition is known as postpartum alopecia. Pregnancy prolongs the hair growth, and little shedding occurs. After giving birth, the hair growth cycle returns to normal, and some hair will start shedding. And yet, most women will have their hair back after a couple of months.

Nutrition is essential to hair growth. Some people who follow crash diets can also experience Telogen Effluvium.

Severe trauma can also be a cause of Telogen Effluvium. Severe physical trauma such as being in an accident like a car accident can trigger Telogen Effluvium. Emotional stress and trauma like losing a loved one can also cause Telogen Effluvium. Other causes can be a severe skin disorder, having surgery, certain medications, nervous shock – and in some rare cases, the cause of Telogen Effluvium is unknown.

Telogen Effluvium is not hereditary. It is caused by other factors. It is a diffuse and acute hair loss type.

Some cases of Telogen Effluvium can be chronic, particularly in women with thick hair.

We can summarize the causes of Telogen Effluvium as follows:

  1. Nutrient Deficiency: Malnutrition can cause several health problems, and losing our hair is one of them. There are essential nutrients for healthy hair growth. If your body is missing some of the essential nutrients, this can trigger Telogen Effluvium. Crash diets in which you lose weight rapidly, also cause Telogen Effluvium. To avoid this, it is best to follow a balanced diet full of protein and other nutrients necessary for the body and hair.
  2. Injuries: Our hair is the first to show any sort of stress that we are experiencing. It is one of the hair parts that are affected by injuries and stress. Shock and stress after an injury can cause Telogen Effluvium.
  3. Certain Medications: Certain medications, particularly very powerful ones, can cause Telogen Effluvium.
  4. Hormonal Changes: Sudden changes in the hormonal balance as in pregnancy and menopause can cause Telogen Effluvium.
  5. Certain Illnesses: Certain illnesses such as autoimmune disorders and the psychological stress caused by illnesses can trigger Telogen Effluvium.
  6. Strong Emotional Stress: Severe emotional stress as well as physical stress can cause Telogen Effluvium.

Even though we need more research and evidence to find out the exact causes of Telogen Effluvium, many research shows, and many dermatologists agree that bad diets and stress are the two main causes of Telogen Effluvium. More hair goes into the telogen phase in the case of a bad diet or severe stress.

Treating Telogen Effluvium

Careful medical examination and history can establish the cause of your hair loss.

Telogen Effluvium is often temporary, and the lost hair often grows back. It occurs after some shock to the system. The condition often resolves on its own without any treatment, however, depending on the cause of the condition. No treatment may be required. It often resolves itself entirely.

A balanced diet, the treatment of any vitamin deficiencies identified after a blood test, can help prevent the recurrence of Telogen Effluvium. In the cases when the hair does not grow back, the permanent solution can be having a hair transplant surgery.

In Telogen Effluvium, the hair follicles often return to the Anagen phase, and new hair is produced.

If your hair loss does not improve with time, there might be other causes and hair loss types that you are experiencing. A balanced diet is an utmost important for your hair.

If a surgery has activated your Telogen Effluvium, it is best to wait. Your hair will regrow on its own. If stress triggered it, it is important to reduce your stress levels. If your Telogen Effluvium is due to hormonal factors, it is best to receive hormone treatments. When the exact cause is not known, your doctor may prescribe Minoxidil. It works well in some cases, and not so much in some others.

Telogen Effluvium often runs its course in six to nine months. The new hair begins to grow right after the hair falls.

Telogen Effluvium is not the only Effluvium (or Deffluvium type). We can now talk about Anagen Effluvium, its causes, diagnosis and treatments.

Anagen Effluvium

Anagen Effluvium is a hair condition, a hair loss type like Telogen Effluvium. It develops very rapidly.

Anagen is the growing phase of the natural life cycle of a hair follicle. Anagen Effluvium can happen in people who go through chemotherapy treatment. The drugs used in the treatment of chemotherapy can cause the hair shaft to divide rapidly, and the active growth of the hair follicles stop. It is as if they are frozen.

Radiation therapy can also cause Anagen Effluvium. Poisoning, malnutrition, heavy metal intoxication, and certain diseases (Seborrhoeic dermatitis) can trigger Anagen Effluvium. Like in Telogen Effluvium, the hair will return – the condition will resolve on its own.

The degree of hair loss depends on the person, particularly if the person is going through cancer treatment. Some people have Telogen Effluvium and Anagen Effluvium at the same time. To prevent the hair from falling in cancer patients, some cancer centers use cold therapy. They cover the scalp, and this method prevents the anti-cancer drugs to reach the hair follicles and cause them fall. And yet, some doctors worry if this method protects the cancer cells in the skin.

After the cancer treatment, most hair grow back rapidly. Change in color, or a change in the fiber is not uncommon, and can be permanent.

The Difference Between Telogen Effluvium and Anagen Effluvium

Hair strands can be shed during the anagen and telogen phases of hair growth. Anagen Effluvium is often due to medications and poisons such as exposure to rat poison. In Anagen Effluvium, the hair in the growth phase is lost. This type of hair loss is also in the diffuse manner as in Telogen Effluvium.

During Anagen Effluvium, because at any given time, we have 80-90% of our hair in the growth face, we will lose most of our hair. The hair loss is very significant.

The cure for both Telogen Effluvium and Anagen Effluvium is currently not available, but in both cases, the hair mostly returns after a while.

The diagnosis of both conditions is straightforward. In Anagen Effluvium, the hair loss can be more excessive, and one can observe it more rapidly than in Telogen Effluvium, like soon after the cancer treatment or poisoning (2-4 weeks), whereas in Telogen Effluvium, it takes a while to notice the hair loss. For both conditions, your doctor may request a biopsy.

Treatment of Anagen Effluvium

Detailed medical examination can establish the underlying reason for your hair loss. Anagen Effluvium resolves on its own. If a patient is going through chemotherapy, they cannot stop the treatment to resolve Anagen Effluvium. After stopping the chemotherapy, Anagen Effluvium clears itself – resolves within three to six months. For other reasons, it is best to treat any underlying conditions, and wait for the condition to resolve on its own.


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