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Telogen Effluvium (shock loss) causes and treatment

Telogen Effluvium or shock loss is a form of short-term hair loss that generally occurs after stress, trauma or a surgical procedure. This temporary hair loss is predominantly contained on the top of the scalp. In this article, we will discuss what causes telogen effluvium and how to treat the condition.

What are the causes of telogen effluvium (shock loss)

Telogen effluvium is described as a chronic hair shedding for an extended period of time lasting up to 6 months.

*Intense stress: Individuals who experience stress for a prolonged period of time can often succumb to telogen effluvium or shock loss.

*Vitamin deficiencies: A poor diet can also contribute to telogen effluvium. In fact, the body requires key nutrients to produce hair such as protein, iron, B-vitamins and zinc.

*Sugical trauma: Hair restoration surgery  can often lead to telogen effluvium or shock loss. Surgical trauma occurs because hairs are implanted in close proximity to surrounding native hairs. This causes to trauma to the surrounding follicles which in turn causes telogen effluvium (shock loss).

The hair life cycle has three phases:

*Anagen (growth phase)

*Catagen (transitional phase)

*Telogen (resting phase)

Everyone has around 5-10% of their hair in the telogen or resting phase at any given time. However, with telogen effluvium an increased amount of hairs enters the telogen (resting) phase causing a massive shed. This creates an appearance of thinning hair or temporary baldness.

Treatment

Generally, telogen effluvium is a temporary condition which resolves on its own. However, certain medical conditions including autoimmune diseases and thyroid conditions can cause telogen efflvium. Therefore, it is important to speak to a medical professional to rule out any underlying health conditions.

Treatments can include:

*Vitamin supplementation which include zinc, B vitamins and protein.

*Counseling and support to manage stress and anxiety.

*Rogaine (minoxidil)  is an FDA approved medication to treat androgenic alopecia  or genetic hair loss. Rogaine (minoxidil) has been shown to keep hairs in the anagen (growth phase) for a prolonged period of time.

Conclusion

Hair lost due telogen effluvium grows back generally around 3 to 6 months after the initial stressful/traumatic event occurred. In most cases, all of the hair returns and the normal hair life cycle continues. However, individuals with androgenic alopecia or genetic hair loss may not grow all of the hair back. It is imporant to consult with a pre-screened hair restoration surgeon  to rule out possible androgenic alopecia or genetic hair loss as a possible condition.

Written and Published By, 

Melvin, Editorial Assistant and Forum Co-Moderator for the Hair Transplant Network, the Coalition Hair Loss Learning Center, and the Hair Loss Q & A Blog.