Chronic telogen effluvium can be complex and difficult to overcome. Hair falling out at an alarming rate is the main characteristic of this condition. Because shedding occurs fairly evenly throughout the scalp rather than in localized areas, it is also commonly referred to as diffuse hair loss.
Most women experience at least one bout of excessive shedding at some point in her life. Fortunately for many, it is quick to resolve–often ending before any obvious decrease in volume occurs. This is known as acute (or classic) telogen effluvium.
When the condition endures past six months it is considered chronic– causing noticeable thinning and a great deal of distress to those who are affected. The disorder can fluctuate over many years with continual, intermittent or episodic shedding. In severe cases undesirable texture changes may occur due to a high percentage of resting hairs that are no longer receiving any nutrients.
The positive side of this disorder is that it does not cause total baldness. Regrowth does occur, but as the condition progresses scalp hair can become quite sparse. Due to the long duration of increased shedding, the rate of replacement may not keep up with the rate of loss. Even new growth can fall out while the condition is active. Any follicle can be affected–whether the hair has been growing for a few months or a few years. For this reason, many fallen strands of various lengths are often noticed.
Upon analyzing the fallen strands, some women express concern over a small white bulb at the end of each strand. The white bulb just indicates that the hair went into the resting (telogen) stage prior to falling out. This is a natural process in the growth cycle and is not cause for additional concern.
While the acute version of this disorder is temporary and self-correcting, chronic telogen effluvium is an indication that the body is experiencing an internal imbalance. The underlying issue must be addressed and corrected before growth can resume.
While it may not seem like a positive aspect, this condition can be an early warning sign of an internal imbalance that could worsen if left untreated– prompting one to restore physical or emotional balance before the condition worsens.
Pinpointing the cause can be a difficult task. Often there is more than one contributing factor as the condition of one’s hair is a reflection of one’s entire health and well-being. Every symptom-evenly seemingly unrelated symptoms must be considered.
Possible causes include prolonged nutritional deficiencies caused by low intake or mal-absorption, hormonal disorders, thyroid conditions, systemic low-level inflammation, systemic infection such as Candidiasis albicans, prolonged unresolved stress, digestive conditions such as gluten intolerance, autoimmune disorders, exposure to toxins or allergens, metobolic disorder, etc.
The best defense for chronic telogen effluvium is getting to the root of the problem and to increase over-all health and well-being in all areas of life. Any improvements that add to overall health are a step in the right direction. Building better health with small improvements such as minimizing stress, exercising, maintaining proper weight, healthy diet, good attitude, happiness and relaxation will help to re-establish balance and create a healthy environment to increase the potential for healthy hair growth.