Telogen Effluvium and Other Effluviums
Causes of Telogen Effluvium: Stress and Diet continued...
Similarly, vaccinations, crash dieting, physical trauma such as being in a
car crash, and having surgery can sometimes be a shock to the system and a
proportion of scalp hair follicles go into hibernation. As the environmental
insult passes and the body recovers, the TE subsides and there is new hair
Some drugs may also induce TE, especially antidepressants. Often a switch to
a different drug resolves the issue.
More persistent insults can result in more persistent TE. For example, a
chronic illness may lead to TE. Arguably, the two most common problems are
chronic stress and diet deficiency. Many dermatologists believe chronic stress
can gradually exert a negative effect on hair growth and lead to persistent TE.
Research with animal models has provided evidence to back up this claim. There
does indeed seem to be a link between stress, a change in hair follicle
biochemistry, and more hair follicles entering a telogen resting state.
Whether dietary problems are causing TE in North America is hotly argued
among dermatologists. A lack of a mineral, vitamin, or essential amino acid can
certainly cause TE, such as with people in third world countries where diets
can be completely deficient in one or more nutrients. Animal experiments also
provide supporting evidence.
In first world countries the average diet is rarely completely deficient in
a particular vitamin or mineral. However, some dermatologists claim that with a
reduction in red meat intake and a preference for vegetarian diets, some
individuals are not getting a balanced intake of all the nutrients required for
good hair and overall body growth. In particular, there are claims that women
may be deficient in their iron intake. Why women specifically? Because women
lose iron at regular intervals as a result of menstruation.
Some dermatologists believe that as we now eat less red meat, a key source
of iron, some people are not eating enough iron and TE is the result. Other
potential deficiencies of the modern North American diet -- such as a lack of
zinc, amino acid L-lysine, or vitamins B6 and B12 -- have also been suggested
to contribute to TE.