Does Stress Cause Hair Loss? And What is Telogen Effluvium?

Telogen Effluvium is a reversible condition in which a person loses or sheds hair more quickly than normal. This is due to extreme stressful experiences or hormonal changes. As a normal person will lose on average of 100 hairs a day, someone with telogen effluvium may lose an average of 300 hairs per day. Hairs go through different stages in their life cycle, the growing stage lasts from two to four years then enters the rest stage (telogen) for about two to four months. After the telogen stage they fall out naturally and are replaced with new hair. Telogen effluvium, which usually comes after extreme stress or hormonal changes, accelerates the hair life cycle making hair enter the telogen stage prematurely.

Telogen Effluvium is can be triggered in numerous ways including:

  • Surgery
  • Major psychological stress
  • Major physical trauma
  • Childbirth
  • Menopause
  • Abrupt hormonal changes
  • Extreme diet changes
  • Some medications

Luckily, this condition is temporary as most of the triggers listed above are not permanent. In addition, telogen effluvium never lasts longer than six months. Since hairs in the rest stage are dormant for two to four months before falling out, you may not notice the hair loss until two to four months after the trigger event. With most cases, along with most of the trigger experiences, this condition does not last long and the hair will grow back over time. As all hair is replaced with new hair after falling out. Since the condition is temporary there are rarely any prevention actions to take. For medications that may cause this condition, contact your doctor to go over the medication you are taking. As well as for diet changes, consult a dietitian to help balancing your diet.