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Telogen Effluvium Symptoms You Should Know

By Amanda Vining
Medically Reviewed by Stephanie S. Gardner, MD on April 26, 2022
Telogen effluvium is hair loss from stress or a major life event. Luckily, it is a temporary condition that can sometimes be cured without treatment.

Everyone experiences stress, but sometimes the stress is so severe that you can experience physical symptoms, such as hair loss. 

Hair loss from stress is sometimes called telogen effluvium. If you have recently experienced a monumental event such as losing a loved one or even the drastic hormonal changes that come with having a baby, you may experience telogen effluvium

What is Telogen Effluvium?

“All stressors, whether emotional or physical, can cause hair loss. This type of hair loss is called telogen effluvium,” Elizabeth Bahar Houshmand, MD, a double-board certified dermatologist and ambassador for Viviscal, tells WebMD Connect to Care. “The good news is the hair will come back once the stressor is resolved.”

Luckily, telogen effluvium is usually a temporary condition and will resolve on its own. According to Harvard Health Publishing at Harvard Medical School, “Telogen effluvium usually resolves completely without any treatment over several months. The normal duration of telogen is approximately 100 days (3 to 6 months) after which period the hair starts growing again.” 

Telogen Effluvium Signs and Symptoms

The most obvious symptom of telogen effluvium is the loss of hair. 

“On average, it is normal to lose approximately 100 hairs daily. When you have a stressful event, you will see a sudden increase in the shedding approximately three to four months after the event.” Houshmand says.

If you are experiencing telogen effluvium, you’ll notice a considerable loss in the volume of your hair. According to a 2019 article published by Harvard Health Publishing, “If you have telogen effluvium, you may lose an average of 300 hairs a day instead of 100.”

Additional symptoms of telogen effluvium include itching and tenderness on the scalp. According to the British Association of Dermatologists, “Usually there are no symptoms, but occasionally, telogen effluvium can be accompanied by tenderness and altered sensations in the scalp, known as trichodynia.” It is also possible to experience low self esteem during hair loss, which can be an emotional and psychological side effect. 

A few things to be mindful of when experiencing telogen effluvium are:

  • Hair is more fragile when it is wet, so be gentle when washing and drying.
  • Hairstyles such as tight ponytails and braids can pull on hair follicles and cause more hair to fall out.
  • Scratching your scalp can irritate hair follicles and prompt more strands of hair to be released.

Don’t Wait. Get Help Today.

The sooner you address the symptoms of hair loss, the more likely you are to prevent irreversible damage. Speak to a medical professional today to begin your journey to a fuller head of hair.