Symptoms of Telogen Effluvium: Understanding Hair Shedding and Its Indicators

Dinesh Patel
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Telogen Effluvium Symptoms

Hair loss is a common cause for concern for many individuals, and one of the temporary causes of this condition is Telogen Effluvium (TE). 

Telogen effluvium is characterized by excessive shedding of hair from the scalp. 

According to an article in Cureus, 95% of people with acute Telogen Effluvium will see their hair grow back, and the problem improves by itself.

This article will explore the Telogen Effluvium symptoms to help individuals better understand this condition.

Symptoms of Telogen Effluvium

The primary symptom of Telogen Effluvium is excessive hair shedding from the scalp, which can be more prominent when washing, brushing, or styling the hair. 

Unlike in other type of hair loss, Telogen Effluvium does not typically result in bald patches, as the hair loss is spread evenly across the scalp.

Individuals experiencing TE may notice the following symptoms:

Hair shedding

The most prominent and recognizable symptoms of Telogen Effluvium is increased hair shedding

Individuals with TE may notice excessive hair falling out during routine activities such as washing or combing their hair. 

This sudden increase in hair loss can be distressing, making individuals concerned about the underlying cause.

Generalized hair thinning

In addition to noticeable hair shedding, those experiencing Telogen Effluvium may observe generalized hair thinning. 

As the hair follicles prematurely enter the resting phase and shed simultaneously, the overall density of the hair on the scalp diminishes, leading to a visibly thinner appearance.

Healthy-looking scalp

One Telogen Effluvium symptom is that despite the excessive hair shedding and thinning, the scalp generally appears healthy. 

There are typically no visible signs of inflammation, redness, or flaking on the scalp. 

This is because the condition primarily affects the hair growth cycle rather than the scalp’s health.

Temporary hair loss

Temporary-hair-lossSource: 4FR_from_Getty_Images_Signature
Temporary hair loss

One aspect of Telogen Effluvium  is that it is usually a temporary condition. 

Once the underlying trigger or cause is identified and addressed, the hair growth cycle typically returns to normal, and hair regrowth occurs. 

This means that the hair loss experienced during Telogen Effluvium is not permanent, providing hope for those affected by this condition.

White bulb and lack of shiny sheath

When hair sheds due to Telogen Effluvium, it often comes out with a characteristic white bulb at the root end. 

Additionally, the hair shaft lacks the shiny sheath or coating typically present in actively growing hair. 

These features indicate the hair is in the telogen or resting phase when it sheds.

The white bulb at the end of a shed hair is a distinguishing feature seen in Telogen Effluvium and indicates that the hair was in the telogen or resting phase when it was shed. This white bulb results from the hair follicle becoming detached from the blood supply and shrinking.

Hair color changes

In some individuals Telogen Effluvium may appear as changes in the hair color.

For example, hair that was previously dark may transition to a lighter shade, such as brown to red or brown to blond. 

This phenomenon can occur due to premature hair follicles entering the resting phase and shedding pigmented hair.

Treatment and management of Telogen Effluvium

In many cases, Telogen Effluvium is self-limited, meaning it resolves once the underlying triggering factors are identified and addressed. 

Here are some management and treatment approaches for the symptoms of Telogen Effluvium:

Identify and address triggers

Identifying and addressing the underlying triggers involves obtaining a detailed drug history to identify medications and stress factors contributing to hair shedding. 

Nutritional corrections

Correcting these deficiencies is essential if nutritional deficiencies are found to be contributing factors. 

A balanced diet with sufficient nutrients like iron, zinc, biotin, and vitamins can support hair health.

Avoid catagen-inducing drugs

Medicinesknown to induce the catagen phase of the hair growth cycle (e.g., beta-blockers, retinoids, anticoagulants, and antithyroid drugs) should be avoided if possible. 

Topical and systemic corticosteroids

Dermatologists may use topical corticosteroids in the treatment of Telogen Effluvium. 

In cases of chronic Telogen Effluvium, where the condition is associated with underlying disorders like Systemic Lupus Erythematosus, systemic corticosteroids may be considered.

Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE) is an autoimmune disease that affects many major organs. Look out for persistent fatigue, joint pain, skin rashes, and fever. Promptly consult a healthcare provider if you notice any concerning signs.

Minoxidil and Finasteride

Minoxidil and Finasteride are FDA-approved standard drugs used to treat hair loss

While they may not directly target Telogen Effluvium’s specific mechanisms, they can be considered to promote hair growth in some instances.

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Stress Management

Meditation to reduce stressSource: NataBene_from_Getty_Images
Meditation to reduce stress

Since stress is a potential trigger for Telogen Effluvium, managing stress through relaxation techniques, meditation, and regular exercise can help reduce hair shedding.

Avoid over styling

Avoid harsh hairstyles, excessive heat styling, and chemical treatments.

They can further damage the hair and exacerbate hair loss.


Telogen Effluvium is a common and temporary form of hair loss, and there is an excessive hair shedding from the scalp. 

Recognizing the symptoms of Telogen Effluvium, such as increased hair shedding, generalized hair thinning, and dry, lusterless hair, is crucial in distinguishing it from other types of hair loss. 

Furthermore, identifying the presence of a white bulb at the root and the lack of a shiny sheath in shed hairs can indicate the telogen or resting phase.

Fortunately, Telogen Effluvium tends to minimize once the triggering factors are identified and addressed and hair regrowth occurs. 

Nutritional corrections, avoiding catagen-inducing drugs, and managing stress are essential steps in managing this condition effectively.

Some medications like topical corticosteroids and FDA-approved drugs such as Minoxidil and Finasteride may promote hair regrowth.

Telogen Effluvium is a manageable condition that can often resolve on its own with proper identification and management of triggers.

Frequently Asked Questions

How long does Telogen Effluvium usually last?

In Telogen Effluvium hair loss is typically temporary lasting 6 to 9 months. In some cases, the shedding may continue for up to 12 months. The duration can vary from person to person, depending on the underlying trigger and how quickly it is identified and addressed.

Does your hair fully recover from Telogen Effluvium?

Yes, in significant cases, hair fully recovers. Since it is a reversible condition, once the underlying cause is treated or eliminated, the hair follicles transition back to the active growth phase (anagen). With time, new hair starts to grow, and the density of the hair on the scalp returns to normal.

What do Telogen Effluvium hairs look like?

Specific characteristics can recognize Telogen Effluvium hairs. When they shed, they often have a white bulb or club-shaped root at the end. Additionally, these hairs lack the shiny sheath or coating seen in actively growing hairs during the anagen phase. 

How much hair will I lose with Telogen Effluvium?

The amount of hair loss varies from person to person. It is typically more noticeable than the normal daily shedding. Individuals may experience shedding of around 300 to 500 hairs per day. However, it is essential to note that the shedding is not continuous and may fluctuate over time.

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