What is Telogen effluvium(TE)?
Telogen effluvium(TE)is one of the most common diagnoses in a skin and hair clinic.In simple language it can be described as a change in the number of hair follicles that are growing hair;the live or growing hair follicles are reduced in number while the shedding follicles are increased causing a visibly increased hair fall. Fortunately,the condition is treatable and is not permanent.
This condition affects the top of the scalp most often.Rarely TE causes the hairline to recede,also unlikely that you’ll lose all of your hair.Although in some severe cases, TE can cause hair in other areas to fall out,like your eyebrows and pubic region.
What happens in Telogen effluvium?
In a healthy person's scalp,about 85-90% of the hair follicles are actively growing hair(anagen hair)and about 10-15% are resting hairs(catagen + telogen phase hair).The average growth period of an anagen hair about 4-5 years or more rests for about 4 months(catagen phase).After this process,the telogen phase or the falling/shedding phase hair begins and is then followed by anagen phase as the new hair pushes the old once out; thus completing the hair cycle.
Around up to 100-125 hair is normal to lose in a day including the hair fallen on the comb,brush,in the basin,or on the pillow,as a result of the normal scalp hair cycle.
Due to multiple triggers,as many as 70% of the anagen hairs can be precipitated into telogen,thus reversing the usual ratio. Typical triggers include:
Childbirth:postpartum hair loss.This can resolve after a few months or transition into female pattern alopecia.
Physical trauma such as an accident causing blood loss
Physiological neonatal hair loss
Acute or chronic illness,especially if there is fever
Long-term use of medicines(eg,hypertensive,etc.)
Weight loss, unusual diet,or nutritional deficiency(eg,iron deficiency)
Oral contraceptive pill
Recurrent overseas travel resulting in jetlag
Skin disease affecting the scalp(eg,psoriasis)
Excessive sun exposure.
How is Telogen effluvium(TE)diagnosed?
Telogen effluvium is usually diagnosed by its clinical features.
Hair thinning involves the entire scalp +/- loss of other body hair.
Examination shows diffuse thinning without focal areas of total alopecia and short hairs of normal thickness.
A gentle hair pull test reveals an increased number of hairs; most are telogen with a typical epithelial sac.
A tricoscopic examination can help confirm the diagnosis; ruling out the thickness of hairs along with short hair strongly suggests telogen effluvium.
Never needed is a scalp biopsy but in cases with other underlying pathologies such as psoriasis or chronic dermatitis,it may be suggested.
How to get rid of Telogen effluvium(TE)?
Generally,this condition subsides by itself within a month, but if your body does not take care by itself,you might need some help. Here are few tips to help your body deal with it –
Improve nutrition–have more nutritive food like ragi(millets),spinach,citrus fruits,milk,and protein-rich food.Majorly iron and vitamin-rich food help a lot.
Quit any addictions like tobacco smoking,alcohol,coffee,tea,orcarburetted(aerated)drinks.
Drink water as per requirement and stay hydrated.
Avoid vigorous combing and heavy oil massage at salons and spas.
Keep your hair clean and cut short length. In the case of long hair tie them together but not too tight and loose enough to avoid traction to the follicles.
Gentle massage with as little as 2-5ml oil can help stimulate the follicles,but be gentle and do not make your hair or scalp drink oil.
Sleep properly for 6-8 hours,avoid late-night work,and hit the bed till 10 pm.Also,make a note to wake up early
Manage stress by doing Yoga,Pranayam,or meditation if you can.Certain Yoga postures like Sarvangasana,Halasana, Pashcimotanasana,Hastapadasana,etc.are known to help in hair fall-related issues.
Start exercising to improve circulation.
What is the medical line of treatment for Telogen effluvium(TE)?
In TE firstly it is expected to evaluate the nutritional levels through some routine blood tests,followed by its correction as required.Generally,oral supplements are given but in some cases,injectable medicines might be required.Dietary recommendations and lifestyle modulations are also suggested to get the best results.
Some procedures like hair Mesotherapy and PRP can be considered to overcome hair fall.Stem cells derived from plant cells are also a good option for stimulating the dormant follicles and reviving hair growth.