Transient Hair Loss

Scalp Disorders That Lead To Transient Hair Loss

The hairs on our scalp go through a few main phases: anagen (growing, lasting 2 to 6 years), catagen (resting, lasting 4 to 6 months), telogen (shedding, lasting 4 to 5 weeks). At any point in time, there are more hairs in active growing phase than the other phases. Hence our hair grows long and full. However, there may be certain conditions that can temporarily upset this balance. That is when we may notice temporary thinning of hairs. 

Telogen effluvium is a scalp disorder characterized by the thinning or shedding of hair resulting from the early entry of hair into the telogen phase. This is commonly associated with the period post pregnancy (during pregnancy, the pregnancy hormones artificially boost hairs, making hair appear fuller and luscious. Postpartum, once the hormonal support is removed, all those hairs go into a temporary shedding phase), extreme emotional or physiological stress, eating disorders, chronic illness, anemia, hypothyroidism and certain long term medication

It can be a very disturbing phenomenon, especially if we do not know when this shedding will end, if at all. The other questions patients often ask is: will my hair get back to it former thickness? Very often, if the offending agent is removed (example, the stress is reduced, the thyroid condition or anemia is treated, etc), hair can regain its full thickness.

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