Recovering from hair loss caused by telogen effluvium

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I haven’t really mentioned it before but since last summer I have been suffering from hair loss. I’m now recovering so I thought it was time I shared what happened with you all. My hair loss was caused by something called telogen effluvium which I will explain below.

My thin hair after hair loss caused by telogen effluvium

Last summer I was trying to grow my hair but I started to notice that it was looking very straggly at the ends. It wasn’t until I went to the hairdressers to get it tidied up that I realised the extent of my hair loss. My hair has always been very fine so losing a lot of it has left me with very thin hair all over my head. At one point it was so bad I was even considering a wig (you can get lace front or hand tied wigs from Nia wig)

What is telogen effluvium?

This is the explanation of telogen effluvium from Alopecia.org.uk:

There are three stages that every hair follicle goes through:

    • Anagen (a phase of active growth)
    • Catagen (a transition phase between the anagen and telogen phase)
    • Telogen (the natural phase of shedding)

At any one time, all three phases are occurring at any site on the body. A single follicle will go through the anagen phase followed by the catagen phase and then the telogen phase before returning to the anagen phase. 

Normally 10% of a person’s hair is in the telogen phase. Telogen effluvium occurs when there is a higher than average amount of hair shedding, 30% of more. Common triggers for this change in the usual telogen stage include childbirth, trauma, illness, bereavement, sudden weight loss, new medication or hormonal changes. In around a third of those affected, no cause can be found.

My experience of telogen effluvium

Telogen effluvium is also what causes post-partum hair loss. This is very common and usually happens about 3 months after having a baby. I don’t know if was just lucky, or whether it was because I had very short hair at the time, but I didn’t really notice having any hair loss (or the subsequent regrowth) after having either of my boys.

This time though I do think my hair loss was hormone related. I had been taking the birth control pill since my late-teens, only stopping for my two pregnancies. Last summer though I decided I didn’t want to take artificial hormones any more.

One of the goals of intermittent fasting is to regulate your hormones. It mostly focuses the ones that control hunger and fat storage but it seemed crazy to be taking hormones when I was trying to regulate my own.

Anyway, since stopping taking the pill I feel great, my periods are short and regular, but it does seem to have caused this temporary hair loss. I didn’t actually notice much hair falling out, I think probably because it’s quite short still. But I did notice when the hair started growing back! Suddenly I had super short hair sprouting all over my head, but especially at my temples.

What have I done to recover from hair loss?

Once the process of telogen effluvium has started there is nothing you can do to stop it. I have done a few things though to try and encourage the new hair to grow.

I have been taking a few supplements – collagen, and biotin (one of the B vitamins which is also known as vitamin H). They might or might not have helped but there is some evidence they are effective in supporting hair growth so I’m happy to give them a go.

I have also been using a hair oil after washing to keep my existing hair healthy. Blow drying isn’t something I do often anyway but I have stopped doing it almost completely. I haven’t been using any products either. Basically I’m just giving my hair the best chance I can to recover.

The only other thing I have been doing is regularly getting my hair cut in short bob so that the thin ends are removed. I’ll keep doing this until the regrowth catches up with my older, longer hair, then I can go back to growing it a bit longer again. Well either that or I’ll just give up and go back to my pixie crop again!

Have you ever suffered from hair loss? I’d love to hear if you have any tips for coping with it.

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