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Question: Doctor, I am having severe hair loss about 3 months after my pregnancy. I read about something called telogen effluvium. Could you please tell me more about it?Do I need a transplant for this?

Thank you for your query and we will certainly shed light on your query:
Yes, you are having telogen effluvium. Our hair grows in cycles consisting of anagen or the growing phase, telogen or the resting phase and catagen or the shedding phase. Telogen effluvium is a disorder of the scalp, characterised by increased shedding of hair or thinning, right from the telogen phase. Considered to be caused by physical or emotional distress, there is an alteration in the hair cycle, which is what leads to the hair loss.
In more technical terms, telogen effluvium refers to a very obvious shedding of club hair or telogen hair. This happens when follicles in the properly growing anagen phase move in increased numbers onto the telogen phase.
While telogen effluvium is seen more commonly in women, there are chances of it affecting men as well. It has been observed that telogen effluvium sets in about 30 to 90 days after a serious illness or events that could have caused immense stress. About a 100 hair a day is considered normal hair fall, but for people affected with telogen effluvium, the hair fall would be much greater. In addition, the period of hair fall would also be much longer.
The major causes for telogen effluvium include:

  • Child birth or discontinuation of birth control pills
  • Prolonged emotional, physical illness or psychiatric illness
  • Prolonged high fever
  • Severe blood loss, iron and vitamin deficiency
  • Usage of certain drugs or intensive dieting
  • General anaesthesia or surgical procedures
  • Skin disease or conditions related to thyroid
  • Early stage of androgenetic alopecia

In most cases, telogen effluvium is a condition that limits itself and recovers after a period of 3-6 months. There are a lot of options including medicines and laser therapy to stop hair fall and promote hair growth. Should someone wish to get a hair transplant, there would be an issue – the thinning that happens as a part of telogen effluvium is diffused (there are no obvious bald patches) and the donor as well as transplant areas are not clearly demarcated.

Fortunately, in most cases of telogen effluvium, there is a strong possibility of natural regrowth. In a few cases if the hair fall does not stop after a period of 6 months, you should consult a doctor for further management.


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