Telogen Effluvium: Complete Overview of the Hair Loss Problem

With hair loss being such a common problem worldwide, affects millions of men and women. We take a closer look at telogen effluvium, and how you can effectively treat this form of permanent hair loss.

When it comes to hair loss, male and female pattern baldness seems to be the most common condition, with around 40% of men showing noticeable signs of hair loss by age 35. It is also interesting to note that the number of people worldwide who sought professional treatment has more than doubled between 2004 and 2008.

What is Telogen Effluvium?

Telogen effluvium is a type of temporary hair loss that usually occurs aftershock, stress, or a traumatic event. It usually focuses on the top of the scalp, but it is different than permanent hair loss as large amounts of hair will fall out but will usually grow back.

People who frequently experience thinning hair for more than six months at a time is described as having chronic telogen effluvium. A person with this condition will not lose all their hair, but it may start to become noticeably thin after a while.

Telogen effluvium is a type of hair loss that is specifically characterized by the thinning of hair or the increase in hair shedding. This normally happens more often in women than in men.

Telogen Effluvium is different from alopecia totalis, alopecia areata, anagen effluvium, and non-scarring alopecia.

Main Triggers for Telogen Effluvium

Telogen effluvium can be caused in different ways and has specific triggers. This includes hormones, diet, and stress.


Stress is undoubtedly one of the main causes of telogen effluvium hair loss and this can happen in both men and women. In women, for example, it can often happen soon often giving birth, also referred to as postpartum alopecia. This is also mainly due to a sudden change in hormone levels as this is a sudden shock to hair follicles. Most women will regrow their hair rather quickly.

Telogen Effluvium from Stress


In terms of the environment, physical trauma such as being in a car crash or undergoing major surgery can also trigger telogen effluvium hair loss. Another reason may be exposure to toxins such as heavy metals.

Why does shock lead to hair loss?

This is because the shock of the environmental change causes your hair follicles to go into a resting state. Shock affects hair regrowth cycle. When in this state hair doesn’t grow as they normally would. 


When there is a sudden change in hormone levels, telogen effluvium can be triggered. It can be similar to an environmental change, as hormone fluctuations can cause hair follicles to go into a resting state. If this occurs during pregnancy, hair regrowth can usually be restored within six months after childbirth.


Research suggests that hair shedding may be also a result of a nutrient deficiency. It is believed that deficiencies of the following nutrients and vitamins may lead to hair loss:

  • zinc
  • iron
  • vitamin B12
  • vitamin B6

Instead of having vitamin supplements as your primary source of nutrients, you should consider implementing a healthy diet to ensure that you could proper nutrition on a daily basis, as this will also help to maintain healthy hair growth.

Telogen Effluvium

Telogen Effluvium Symptoms

The main and most notable symptom of telogen effluvium is an increase in hair loss. This means an increase in the amount of hair a person shed. Some people may notice that they shed more hair while they brush it out, or they may find hair in the drain or on their fellow.

How Long Does Telogen Effluvium Last?

Telogen effluvium usually doesn’t last long, as it is only seen as temporary hair loss. It depends on the trigger that caused it, but it is completely reversible with the right treatment. If it is due to temporary effects such as stress or a surgery, for example, the best way to treat it is to simply relax and wait for the hair follicles to grow back on their own.

Can it be chronic? Yes.

When this condition continues for more than six months, it is seen as chronic telogen effluvium. You can still undergo treatment at any time to completely reverse the process.

Chronic Telogen Effluvium

As mentioned above, chronic telogen effluvium is seen as having this condition occur regularly for more than six months. When this occurs, the anagen phase of the hair follicles slows down, so fewer hairs can enter the next two stages. With telogen effluvium combined, around 30 percent of hair follicles will go into the telogen phase, resulting in hair loss or hair shedding.

What Are Some Telogen Effluvium Treatments

Some treatments for telogen effluvium can include nonsurgical procedures as well as supplementation, but this will also depend on the specific trigger for the hair loss. As soon as the to get has been eliminated, normal hair growth will return and head will start to grow back.

Some of the treatment options include:

  • correcting nutritional deficiencies with a healthy diet
  • nonsurgical hair replacement
  • hormone replacement therapy
  • counseling to manage anxiety and stress
  • application of topical Minoxidil

Some dietary considerations you can keep in mind include the fact that protein provides the necessary building blocks for your body and that it’s important to check if you have an iron deficiency as this can also lead to hair loss.

Vitamins to Take for Telogen Effluvium

When it comes to following a healthy diet in order to treat telogen effluvium properly, there are a few vitamins and minerals you should always take; this includes vitamin B6, vitamin B12 and iron. It is always best to rather implement a healthy diet, as opposed to simply taking additional supplements in order to meet your daily nutritional goals.


Zinc is absolutely vital to healthy hair growth all. This is one reason why dermatologists always prescribe zinc to help boost hair growth and to prevent hair loss. Some experts believe that low levels of zinc can lead to the deterioration of this specific protein structure that makes up the hair follicle. Since these follicles are now weaker, they can cause hair loss and hair shedding.


Although rare, a deficiency in lysine can lead to hair loss and weight loss. Lysine is an amino acid that is usually found in fish, whole grains and legumes. A healthy dose is generally considered to be around 1.5 g, which can be taken with food or in supplement form.

B Vitamins

The B vitamin group is essential in the healthy growth. When you have a be six deficiency, there may be other symptoms, but you can experience hair is a typical sign. With regular supplementation or changing your diet, you can reverse the effects of hair growth.

Tips to Stop Telogen Effluvium

One of the most important tips to stop telogen effluvium is to first find the exact cause. Once this is established, you can eliminate it, and in most cases the hair will grow back on its own. If it doesn’t, you can consider one of the various treatments.

Eat Nutritiously

As with most things, a healthy and nutritious diet is always recommended. Try to consume a diet rich in vitamins B6 and B12, as well as iron and zinc, and consider supplementing if needed. A balanced diet will always be a great way to combat various health issues. Zinc and iron are especially important when it comes to healthy hair, skin and nail growth.

Telogen Effluvium Diet

Get More Sleep

Getting adequate rest is very important, especially if you lead a very stressful life, or have recently gone through a very traumatic event. Sleep helps to restore the hair regrowth cycle, boosting the number of anagen follicles. Stress can have a very negative effect on your body and overall health, including the fact that it can lead to telogen effluvium. Good sleep works magic for stressed induced hair loss.

Stress Management

If you suffer from chronic stress, you may experience prolonged telogen effluvium, especially since this will be an ongoing trigger. A combination of stress and a poor diet can leave you with a very high risk of hair loss, which can also become chronic if left untreated.

It is important to note that persistently high levels of stress will negatively influence the body’s chemistry and also have a negative influence on your hair growth as follicles or forced into the resting phase. This is why stress management is absolutely essential.

Telogen Effluvium Recovery Signs

One of the best signs to ensure that you are recovering from telogen effluvium is to regain the thickness and density of your hair. Telogen effluvium can take months or even years to properly go away, so there is no set time frame to work with.

Luckily there are a few simple tests you can do.

You can do the ‘pull test’ to see how many hairs are still shedding, which can give you an indication whether or not you may still be suffering from telogen effluvium. In some cases, physicians will also do a wash test to see how much hair is being shed after a wash.

Telogen Effluvium vs. Male Pattern Baldness

When it comes to telogen effluvium and male pattern baldness there are a few distinct differences. Although both refer to hair loss, the main difference is that telogen effluvium is only temporary hair loss, whereas male pattern baldness is a condition that won’t go away.

Which one is most common? Male pattern baldness.

Male pattern baldness is also referred to as androgenic alopecia and it is the most frequent type of hair loss in men around the world. It usually starts with hair loss just above the temples, which generates an ‘M’ shape, and over time, only a small amount of hair is left around the back and sides of the scalp. It is estimated that almost 50 percent of all men over the age of 50 will be affected by male pattern baldness.

What are the causes?

The leading cause of male pattern baldness is a hormone called dihydrotestosterone, or DHT. Genetic factors can also play a role in baldness and although it’s not a life-threatening medical condition, male pattern baldness has been linked to other health issues such as prostate cancer, heart disease and diabetes.

Treatment is usually done with either minoxidil, which is a drug approved by the US Food and Drug Administration for the specific treatment of male pattern baldness, or finasteride, which is a generic name for the drugs Proscar and Propecia. Finasteride is mainly used for the treatment of enlarged prostate glands but showed hair growth as a side effect.

Telogen effluvium is a very common cause of hair loss and it is seen as a temporary condition. It can be characterized by a sudden onset of hair shedding, usually within a few months after a very traumatic event or other stressful factors. Although it usually lasts around six months, it may be chronic, in which case it’s recommended that you determine the specific cause.

Telogen effluvium can easily be treated by either making a few lifestyle and diet changes or simply removing the specific environmental factors from your life.