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Hair Loss/Rapid hair loss

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Question
I have noticed over the last month an increased amount of hair loss. I'm 55 y.o. female post menopausal and currently not on any prescription medication. I have always lost a lot of hair normally but that has increased to over 300 hairs per day.  I did have a stressful situation about  5 months ago and am wondering if that could have caused this hair loss. I did experience this type of hair loss years ago and had extensive blood testing done with all tests coming back negative.  Could this be a Telogen effluvium phase and if so what is the normal length of time this lasts?  Also is there any steps I could take to shorten the phase? I have started Biotin and multivitamin as well as increased my protein intake. Thank you.

Answer
Hi Debbie,
 This certainly seems to be another TE. If you read the Chapter in my book on causes of hair loss you will see that stress of various forms can cause a loss of hair starting 4 to 6 weeks after the stressful incident and lasting sometimes for months. I ask my patients to apply 5% Rogaine once a day in the morning over the top of the head only once a day in the morning for 4 to 6 months to speed up the recovery process. Make sure you have adequate serum iron as well. Your serum ferritin should be above 60 even though most laboratories have the low end listed as 10 or 20,

http://www.hairdoc.com/hair-loss-anwers/chapter-4-other-hair-loss-causes/

Stress

Stress can cause a type of hair loss called telogen effluvium. This condition is not caused by the general accumulated stress of ordinary interactions with people at home and at work, but rather by sudden severe emotional or physiological incidents. Severe stressful events can cause some or most actively growing hair follicles to prematurely shift into the regression phase, and then the resting phase, during which the hairs fall out easily.

There is usually a delay of a few weeks to a few months before the shedding is noticeable, but after this delay the shedding seems to occur quite suddenly. Because the shedding is delayed, this type of hair loss is often a mystery to the person suffering the condition. The stressful event that triggered it is frequently forgotten, and it is rarely thought to be connected with the “new problem.”

Examples of sudden severe emotionally stressful events include the death or terminal illness of a family member or close friend, marriage, divorce, and unexpected job loss. Severe physiological stressful events shock the body, and some examples are heart attacks, major surgery, and illnesses with prolonged high fever such as malaria, viral pneumonia, and severe cases of the flu.

In most cases of telogen effluvium, the hair follicles recover and soon shift back to the regular growth cycle.

However, repeated instances of telogen effluvium can result in premature hair loss in people predisposed to lose their hair late in life. The average growth cycle of a hair follicle takes about five years, but each follicle is “genetically programmed” for only a limited number of growth cycles. For example, if a particular hair follicle were “genetically programmed” for only ten growth cycles, after about fifty years that follicle would stop producing new hairs. When all the follicles at the hairline or crown of the head are “genetically programmed” this way, a receding hairline or bald spot appears after all the growth cycles for the follicles in those areas have been cycled through.

Each incidence of telogen effluvium uses up one “life” of the affected hair follicles. So instead of having a receding hairline or bald spot at age fifty, the hair loss may occur a few years earlier. This is not a significant issue if telogen effluvium occurs once or twice in a lifetime; however, accelerated hair loss can result from repeated severe stressful events, if each instance triggers a new round of telogen effluvium.

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Peter J. Panagotacos, <B>M.D.</B>

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I have 30 years experience in the field of medical and surgical Hair Restoration and am Board Certified in Dermatology and Hair Restoration Surgery.

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I have 30 years experience in the field of medical and surgical Hair Restoration and am Board Certified in Dermatology and Hair Restoration Surgery. More information can be found at my website www.hairdoc.com

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