Telogen effluvium is the medical term for hair thinning, or shedding hair at a higher rate than normal. Telogen effluvium is usually a response to stress on the body, including illness, psychological stress, childbirth, medications, or surgery. But there are treatment options available that work.
“Identification of the trigger usually will correct the problem or at least make it better,” Anna Chacon, MD, FAAD, a dermatologist at Cleveland Clinic in Florida tells WebMD Connect to Care. “The most important thing to do is to keep a diary of possible triggers and associated factors to narrow down the root cause,” Chacon says.
Here’s more on how to treat your telogen effluvium:
Get tested: Getting a blood test could pinpoint underlying health problems affecting your hair growth, including thyroid disorders or hormonal imbalances.
“Treatment of any underlying medical condition that may have prompted the telogen effluvium, such as nutritional deficiency, thyroid disorder, or iron-deficiency anemia, is of utmost importance in stopping and reversing the hair loss,” says Gary Linkov, MD, a hair restoration specialist and plastic surgeon in New York City.
Women who’ve experienced childbirth or menopause could also experience telogen effluvium, while hormonal imbalances in men can cause male pattern baldness. “This could be determined with a hormonal or lab screening panel, and by evaluation of your menstrual cycle if you are a female of child-bearing age,” Chacon says.
Take care with supplements: Vitamin deficiencies are another issue best addressed with a doctor. Some vitamins, like vitamin A and E, might actually cause hair loss when taken in excess, according to a 2017 study from Dermatology Practical & Conceptual.
Moreover, the study found that when it comes to biotin — a popular ingredient in hair loss supplements and shampoos — not only are deficiencies rare, there is no evidence that biotin is linked to hair health. The reason behind the marketing of biotin for hair health might be because biotin can help with treating brittle nails.
Clear your scalp: Treating scalp issues like dandruff could remove a physical barrier to hair growth. “Treating an underlying scalp disorder that causes inflammation, itching, or redness usually makes it better,” Chacon says. Medicated shampoos can help with exfoliating the scalp, however, it’s important to avoid certain ingredients, like sulfur.
Address your diet: Are you eating a balanced diet, or have you changed your diet? What you eat, or don’t eat, could contribute to your hair health. “As with all types of hair loss, a nutritious, balanced diet should be followed with plenty of representation from protein, vegetable and fruit groups and no severely restrictive diets excluding important sources of nutrients,” says Chacon.
Minoxidil: Minoxidil is an over-the-counter solution that could treat your hair loss if other remedies don’t seem to work. “For patients whose hair loss persists and the telogen effluvium is chronic, topical minoxidil can be helpful,” Linkov says.
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.