Chronic Telogen Effluvium: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment

Sanjay Kumar
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chronic telogen effluvium

Chronic Telogen Effluvium (CTE), a form of Telogen Effluvium, is a common condition characterized by frequent hair loss over several months. 

This temporary hair loss typically lasts for over six months. 

It occurs more frequently in women between 30 and 60 years of age and is often triggered by disruptions to the hair cycle. 

Hence, learning to deal with it as early as possible becomes important.

This article will explore the causes, symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment options for Chronic Telogen Effluvium. 

Chronic Telogen Effluvium symptoms

The primary sign of Chronic Telogen Effluvium is an overall increase in the amount of hair a person sheds. 

Unlike other forms of hair loss, CTE does not cause bald patches but leads to a diffuse thinning of the scalp. 

Individuals with this condition may notice excessive hair loss when washing or brushing their hair.

An increased amount of hair on their pillow or in the drain is also a symptom of Chronic Telogen Effluvium.

CTE is separate from Acute Telogen Effluvium (ATE) due to its prolonged and fluctuating course. 

CTE does not cause complete baldness. In the long run, the condition appears to resolve itself.

What causes Chronic Telogen Effluvium

how to regain hair loss from stressSource: Lucrecia_Laurel_from_corelens
A man who is in stress due to office work

Some cases of CTE may follow ATE triggered by a known cause, but most cases have no identifiable trigger.

However, factors contributing to Chronic Telogen Effluvium include:

  • Severe stress: Prolonged periods of stress can lead to Telogen Effluvium, with hair loss typically occurring around three months after the stressful event
  • Poor diet: Hair requires essential nutrients such as protein, Iron, vitamin B, and Zinc for optimal growth. A deficiency in these nutrients can affect the quality and quantity of hair
  • Certain medications: Some medications and recreational drugs have been linked to hair loss, such as antidepressants, beta-blockers, retinoids, and anticoagulants
  • Hormonal changes: Hormonal changes that occur during childbirth, pregnancy, or Menopause, Thyroid dysfunction, etc., might disrupt the hair growth cycle leading to hair thinning
  • Underlying conditions: Autoimmune diseases, chronic infections (e.g., HIV), and inflammatory disorders like Psoriasis and Seborrheic Dermatitis are linked to hair loss and can contribute to Telogen Effluvium   

Diagnosis of CTE

Before starting with a treatment program, the doctor will examine your hair and scalp to diagnose Chronic Telogen Effluvium. 

Several tests may be performed, including:

  • Your healthcare provider might physically examine the scalp and the density of your hair
  • A hair pull test 
  • A blood test or scalp biopsy can help identify underlying causes

Once the diagnosis is complete, treating CTE will depend on the cause identified.

Chronic Telogen Effluvium treatment

Treatment and management options for CTE may include: 


In cases where the condition has emerged from an underlying condition, medications to treat the condition might be prescribed.

Apart from this, Minoxidil and Finasteride work to slow down the hair-loss process and promote hair growth.

However, consulting a healthcare professional is recommended before starting any medication to ensure appropriate usage and potential side effects are carefully evaluated.

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  • Addressing the nutritional deficiencies

    nutritional-dietSource: thesomegirl_from_Getty_Images_Pro
    Healthy diet

    Nutritional deficiencies can contribute to hair thinning and loss. 

    Ensuring an adequate intake of essential nutrients, such as iron, biotin, vitamin B complex, and zinc, is vital for maintaining healthy hair. 

    These nutrients play key roles in the hair growth cycle and contribute to the strength and quality of the hair shaft. 

    A nutrient-rich diet consisting of vegetables, fruits, lean proteins, whole grains, etc can support hair health

    If deficiencies are identified, a healthcare professional may recommend targeted supplements to correct them.

    Non-surgical hair replacement techniques

    Non-surgical hair replacement options offer cosmetic solutions for individuals experiencing significant hair loss.

    Hairpieces, wigs, and extensions can be customized to match natural hair color and style, providing a natural-looking and instant improvement in hair appearance. 

    These options are non-invasive and can be used while waiting for other treatments to take effect or when surgical procedures are not desired.

    Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT)

    HRT involves using medications containing hormones like Estrogen and Progesterone to balance hormone levels in the body.

    In certain cases, hormonal imbalances, such as those occurring during Menopause, can contribute to hair loss.

    HRT aims to regulate hormone levels and potentially improve hair regrowth in women with hormone-related hair loss. 

    HRT should be carefully managed and prescribed by a healthcare professional, considering individual health factors and potential risks.

    Managing stress and anxiety

    Managing stress through relaxation techniques, mindfulness practices, regular exercise, and seeking support from professionals can reduce its impact on hair health. 

    Stress management can complement other treatments and promote overall well-being.

    Once the trigger has been established and treatment is started, the hair cycle should normalize, and hair should regrow.

    It is essential to avoid chemical or heat treatments that could further damage the hair. 

    In addition to this, a gentle hair care routine could also prove helpful in managing these cases.

    The treatments suggested here should not be taken as medical advice. Consult a healthcare professional if you are experiencing excessive hair loss for appropriate diagnosis and treatment.


    Chronic Telogen Effluvium is a temporary hair loss condition characterized by frequent shedding periods. 

    While it can be concerning, especially for those experiencing noticeable thinning, it is usually reversible, and hair typically grows within a few months. 

    Identifying and addressing the underlying cause of Chronic Telogen Effluvium is essential for effective treatment. 

    Making dietary changes, managing stress, and seeking professional advice are crucial steps in managing this condition and promoting hair regrowth.

    Your doctor might also recommend topical treatments such as Minoxidil, HRT, or non-surgical hair replacement techniques to help your condition.

    Frequently Asked Questions

    Is Chronic Telogen Effluvium permanent?

    Chronic Telogen Effluvium is usually a temporary condition. With proper management and addressing underlying causes, hair regrowth is common within a few months. Making dietary changes, managing stress, and seeking professional advice are crucial steps in managing this condition and promoting hair regrowth.

    How do you fix Chronic Telogen Effluvium?

    Fixing Chronic Telogen Effluvium involves addressing underlying causes, managing stress, and using treatments like medication (such as Minoxidil), hormone therapy, and maintaining a gentle hair care routine. In some cases, HRT or non-surgical hair replacement techniques might also be considered.

    What triggers Chronic Telogen Effluvium?

    Chronic Telogen Effluvium can be triggered by factors like severe stress, poor diet, certain medications, hormonal changes (like pregnancy), and underlying medical conditions such as autoimmune diseases. The hair loss usually reduces once the trigger is identified and treated.

    Does Chronic Telogen Effluvium ever stop?

    Yes, Chronic Telogen Effluvium can stop. Identifying and treating the trigger can help normalize the hair growth cycle and reduce excessive shedding. If you are facing severe or sudden hair loss, you must visit a professional for a thorough diagnosis and appropriate treatment.

    Is Chronic Telogen Effluvium fully reversible?

    Yes, Chronic Telogen Effluvium is generally reversible. Treating underlying triggers can lead to improved hair growth and manage excessive shedding. Consulting a healthcare provider might be helpful in providing appropriate guidance to treat your condition effectively.

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