The purpose of the Vancouver Women's Hair Loss Program is to provide effective treatment for women. There are many mimickers of hair loss in women. Genetic hair loss and telogen effluvium often look similar in women, and sometimes alopecia areata and scarring alopecias can perfectly mimic genetic hair loss as well.
Telogen effluvium is a general term that means excessive hair shedding. It’s normal to lose 50-100 hairs per day. When this number is exceeded, a clinician may consider the diagnosis of telogen effluvium. Telogen effluvium is not a specific condition but rather a term used to describe over 50 conditions that give excessive daily hair fall.
What are the common causes of telogen effluvium?
A number of conditions can cause telogen effluvium, including:
- low iron levels
- thyroid problems
- crash diets
- medications, including starting and stopping the birth control pill (see larger list)
- major stress
- severe illness
- high fever (infection, etc)
- labour and delivery (post partum telogen effluvium)
How long does shedding last?
Shedding will continue provided the trigger that caused the shedding is still occurring. Once the trigger is removed (for example the iron levels are restored in someone with low iron), the shedding stops in 4-7 months.
Telogen effluvium that goes on many months without obvious cause is referred to as chronic telogen effluvium. Chronic telogen effluvium is more common in women 35-60.
Donovan JC. “Scalp Camouflaging Techniques: What is available and how real do they look”. Canadian Dermatology Association Bulletin. October 2011
St. Pierre SA, Vercellotti GM, Donovan JC and Hordinsky M. - “Iron deficiency and diffuse nonscarring scalp alopecia in women: More pieces to the puzzle” Journal American Academy Dermatology. December 2010
Donovan JC, Samrao A, Ruben BS and Price V. “Eyebrow Regrowth in Frontal Fibrosing Alopecia Patients Treated with Intralesional Triamcinolone Acetonide”. British Journal of Dermatology. November 2010
Donovan JC and Price V. “Chloroquine induced Hair Hypopigmentation”. New England Journal of Medicine. July 2010
Hordinsky MK, Caramori A and Donovan JC. “Hair Physiology and Grooming” Cosmetic Dermatology: Products and Procedures. 2010