Unexplained hair loss is becoming more common among women. Sudden hair starts falling out for no reason, at an alarming rate-sometimes handsful at a time. For many women, shock and panic set in as the dramatic increase in sheds continues. Some worry they may soon become completely bald.
Because routine lab work often comes back normal, the condition may be dismissed as “just a cosmetic problem ” that one must learn to live with . Or , the person may be handed a one-size-fits-all prescription for a synthetic topical treatment that only deals with the symptom rather than the undering issue.
It is important to understand that chronic excess shedding is not normal, and will not occur when all is well. When the hair growth cycle shuts down, or stops functioning properly it is an indication that a physical or emotional imbalance exists. Telogen effluvium is the name for this condition.
A temporary increase in shedding may occur due to a minor, short-lived trigger such as infection, flu, high fever, new medication, change in diet, medical procedure, vaccination, shock or trauma, etc. If the body is otherwise healthy; and the triggering factor has been resolved or removed the hair growth cycle will spontaneously heal before any noticeable thinning occurs. Although this type of telogen effluvium is usually not cause for concern, it may be beneficial to pinpoint the trigger in order to avoid the possibility of future episodes.
When the condition is long-reflecting and severe, causing an obvious decrease in volume there may be a defect issue that must be determined and treated in order to restore normal thickness and optimal health.
Often there is more than one contributing factor. Chronic telogen effluvium occurs as a result of the body working overtime – expending extra energy in attempt to overcome the internal disturbance, imbalance or disorder. The hair growth cycle may shut down or become disrupted in order to compensate while the body deals with the difficult task of trying to re-establish balance.
Below is a list of common causes or contributing factors that can lead to chronic telogen effluvium. It's important to realize that if one of the following conditions exists, it does not necessarily implicate that it is the single cause of the problem. Correcting all imbalances and improving overall health and well-being is the best line of defense.
Standard thyroid testing is often incomplete. Because even a slight imbalance can cause hair loss, thorough, highly sensitive lab work is advised-especially if thyroid symptoms exists. This should include testing for antibodies (Hashimotos thyroiditis).
Common deficiencies that are associated with hair loss include protein, iron, zinc, magnesium, chromium, selenium, vitamin D, etc. These shortcomings are also often associated with the undercoming disorder in which hair loss is the symptom of. Rather than supplementing or increasing dietetic intake of one particular nutrient, it may be more beneficial to include a wide variety of nutrients through diet and supplementation in order to provide balance to the body.
Nutritional deficiencies are often caused by mal-absorption issues such as Celiac (gluten intolerance) or Chron's disease and other digestive disorders. In addition to increasing nourishment, success will depend on determining and evaluating the undercoming mal-absorption condition accordingly.
Candidiasis albicans is a systemic fungal / yeast infection. This under-diagnosed condition can wreak havoc of the entire system. Symptoms include an over-all feeling of un-wellness, foggy thinking, lack of energy etc. Skin symptoms and hair loss are common. If Candidiasis albicans exists, healing the infection should produce possible improvements in hair and skin health and overall wellness.
Some experts believe that chronic low-level systemic inflammation is at the root of all health disorders. Anti-inflammatory diet can be very helpful for health of hair and the undering related disorders.
Autoimmune disorders may make a person more susceptible to chronic telogen effluvium. To keep symptoms from manifesting, great efforts must be made to keep immune system balanced. Certain autoimmune conditions such as Hashimoto's thyroiditis, Graves's disease, Celiac, Chron's and lupus are commonly associated with hair loss.
HORMONAL CHANGES / POSTPARTUM
It's not uncommon for telogen effluvium to occur in women approximately three months after delivering a baby. In normal cases the condition subsides within six to nine months, leaving the new mother with only a slight decrease in thickness and volume. If the shedding becomes severe and long-repeating it would indicate that other factors are involved. Extreme care and extra nourishment are necessary during the postpartum period.
UNHEALTHY LIFE STYLE
Anytime an unhealthy lifestyle is present it will be more difficult to re-establish healthy hair growth. The better condition the body is in physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually, the easier it will be to heal the imbalances causing the excessive shedding. Although disorder of the hair growth cycle can be the first sign of a wide variety of health disorders, it can be last to recover. The body has a built-in healing system that works on the principals or priority. It will provide healing energy to the areas that are most essential before it will bother with hair growth. The best results are achieved when the entire system is treated holistically rather than concentrating only on the symptom of hair loss.
Alopecia areata is an autoimmune condition that specifically targets follicles of the scalp causing bald patches. This is not a form of telogen effluvium but there are variations of alopecia areata that can mimic telogen effluvium such as diffuse alopecia areata or alopecia areata incognita. Severe forms of this autoimmune disorder can cause baldness on the scalp and all over the body but the follicles remain alive so there is always potential for regrowth.