Telogen effluvium is an abnormality of hair cycling in which hairs in anagen (growth) phase are rapidly shifted to telogen (resting) phase, and subsequently shed. Hair loss due to telogen effluvium is typically discovered when extraordinary hair shedding is noted in comb, brush, hat or on a pillow.
A great variety of causes are known for telogen effluvium. If the cause can be identified and removed, telogen effluvium may resolve over a period of weeks to months. If a cause cannot be discovered and removed, the abnormal hair cycling and hair shedding can become chronic.
Known causes of telogen effluvium include:
- Hormonal-hypothyroidism, postpregnancy hormonal changes, pre- or post-menopausal hormonal changes.
- Physical illness-anemia, systemic disease involving major organs, major surgery.
- Nutritional-deficiency of some or all of calories, protein, essential fatty acids, vitamins, minerals (deficiency may sometimes be caused by nutrient-deficient diets, sometimes by inability to absorb or metabolize nutrients).
- Drugs-many prescribed and over-the-counter drugs have been implicated; sometimes it is difficult to distinguish the effect of a drug from the effect of a condition for which it is taken.
- Severe acute or chronic psychological stress-may be involved in physical illness in a primary or secondary role.
Hair Loss and Its Causes