Telogen Effluvium- A Guide To Understand Diffuse Hair Loss

Poor health and lifestyle choices can deeply affect the health of the hair. Telogen Effluvium is one such condition which is the second most prevalent form of hair loss. It is a type of temporary hair loss characterized by diffuse balding. Diffuse balding can occur in both males and females and at any age. The normal hair growth cycle gets interrupted and hair thinning occurs.

Phases Of Hair Growth

  1. Anagen: It is the growth phase and lasts from two to seven years. It determines the length and growth of hair.
  2. Catagen: This phase is brief and lasts approximately 10 days. It is the transition phase between the anagen and the telogen phase.
  3. Telogen: The hair follicle then regresses to a resting phase which lasts for 2-3 months.

During telogen effluvium, anagen-phase hair follicles prematurely transition to the telogen phase and there is an increase in dormant hair follicles in the telogen phase and the hair growth cycle gets disrupted. This leads to massive hair loss.

Causes Of Telogen Effluvium

Telogen effluvium is often stress induced. Some events that can trigger it are:

  • Surgical procedure
  • Major physical injury
  • Major physical trauma
  • Mental strain
  • Illnesses and infections
  • Hormonal changes in the body
  • Vitamin and mineral deficiencies
  • Poor dietary choices
  • Thyroid problem
  • Chronic disease
  • Medications


Telogen Effluvium can be of two kinds: 

  • Acute Telogen Effluvium: The hair loss is sudden and severe owing to a period of brief yet intense stress. It is often caused by low iron, stress, hyperthyroidism/hypothyroidism or medications. Only leads to hair thinning and lasts from two to three months.
  • Chronic Telogen Effluvium: The cause for chronic telogen effluvium is not as evident as for acute telogen effluvium. It could be any of the above causes. It lasts for more than 6 months and can continue for many years. The hair loss is also much more in this type and often leads to hairline recession. 

Diffuse Hair Loss Treatment

Both acute and chronic telogen effluvium are reversible considering the underlying cause is addressed properly. Determining the trigger for chronic telogen effluvium can be difficult while it is evident in the acute type. Several treatments for diffuse balding that can help reverse the hair loss are:

  1. Stress-induced temporary hair loss can be treated by meditation and mind-calming medications. Stress can also be managed by consulting a counselor.
  2. Iron deficiency greatly impacts hair loss. Iron supplements along with a balanced diet should be taken to remove any nutrition deficiency.
  3. Deficiency of any other essential vitamin and nutrients should also be covered by taking multivitamins.
  4. Thyroid can be treated effectively with proper medications. 

Treating diffuse hair loss does not always result in bringing back the lost volume. Trichologists from a hair loss treatment clinic can be consulted to understand the type of hair loss and its proper treatment. For permanent treatment, hair transplants can be adopted before its too late. The hair transplant surgeon will transplant hair grafts from the donor region to the balding area. 

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