Telogen effluvium is a hair loss condition that is characterized by a general thinning of the hair over a period of months. It is usually found in people who have recently experienced trauma with common causes including childbirth, major surgery and severe illness.
It occurs when one or more factors interfere with the normal growth cycle and manifests when large numbers of hairs are prematurely pushed from the growth (anagen) phase into the resting (telogen) phase. The telogen hairs are loosely attached at the roots and fall out easily. Fortunately, this unnatural growth behavior is only temporary and completely reversible.
Diagnosis of telogen effluvium involves a three step process:
1. Assess the type of hair loss suffered – generally telogen effluvium is typified by a rapid thinning throughout the scalp rather than the localized loss evident in most other conditions.
2. Review life events over the previous six months – typically some sort of traumatic event will have occurred.
3. Undergo a hormone test to rule out other abnormalities.
As far as treatment is concerned, telogen effluvium usually disappears as the effects of the trauma previously experienced begin to wear off. Consequently, there are no treatments specific to this condition although a product such as minoxidil (Rogaine) may help to accelerate the regrowth process.