To understand about telogen effluvium, studying about hair development cycle is important. Hair does not grow constantly all the time.There are certain phases that hair goes through. The anagen phase is known as the growing phase. This phase can go on constantly for many years depending on the hair follicle. Another stage is called the Catagen stage, which is an intermediary stage in the hair growth cycle. In this stage, which lasts for a week or two, the hair follicle weakens. The hair then enters the telogen phase, the final stage that lasts for around a period of around 100 days.
With people who are young and have a healthy scalp, approximately 90% of the hair is in the anagen(growth) stage and around 10% are in the telogen or dormancy stage.Less than 1% of hair is in catagen (transitional) stage. In the telogen stage it is normal to loose around 100 hairs per day.
When large amounts of hair shift from the anagen phase into telogen phase and then fall after several months, then this stage is called as telogen effluvium. If the hair fall lasts for more than six months then it is called as chronic telogen effluvium. This condition is commonly found among women.
This condition called as telogen effluvium is not caused by topical medications. There is a time lapse of many months between the cause and the increased shedding of hair; the reason for telogen is not still positively identified.
The causes of telogen include reasons like, some kind of an illness, physical trauma, crash diets, menopause, acute blood loss, hyperthyroidism and so on. The other reasons arechronic problems like malignancy, systematic lupus, renal diseases, liver diseases, can all cause telogen effluvium. Some times Immunization is also said to cause acute hair loss.A lot of medications can cause it. The list is long, but some of them include retinoids, anticoagulants ,beta-blockers, calcium channel blockers,non-steroidal anti-inflammatories etc.
Test for Chronic Telogen Effluvium
If you want to be tested for telogen effluvium then the simple technique is by just a simple pull of the hair. This is the way to test yourself: just take a bunch of hair between you fingers and tug at them slowly, if this causes 4 or 5 of your hairs to fall then it is likely you have telogen effluvium. For this test to be successful it is necessary that you wash your hair regularly that is daily or every other day. When you take a closer look at the scalp, you might see a lot of small new hairs growing.
Chronic Telogen Effluvium and Miniaturization
The stage of telogen effluvium is a major sign and precursor to Male Pattern Baldness or an initial stage of MPB. The hair grows back, but this hair is significantly finer and smaller. The advised medicine for this is Topical minoxidil, which has a theoretical benefit as minoxidil is said to act directly on the hair follicles, and promotes anagen growth. Hair transplantation is not a good treatment for this condition.