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Telogen Effluvium Information

Updated on June 23, 2009

My Telogen Effluvium Story

This is an account of my experience with Telogen Effluvium (THE). When I had this condition I was desperately hunting all over the internet in search of some explanation for the rapid hair shedding and symptoms I was experiencing. There are a lot of forums filled with accounts of Alopecia Areata and other conditions but I thought it may be useful to any sufferers of unexplained hairloss to read my account of THE and see if their symptoms are aligned.

Hair Loss is a very frightening experience, I wanted to write this to list my personal symptoms and recovery process and also to offer some advice and encouragement to sufferers as I truly understand how awful this condition is.

In August of 2008 I suffered from Glandular Fever with mild hepatitis (liver inflammation). I was in bed for about four weeks and suffered from consistent fevers which hovered around the 38-41 degrees mark. I was regularly taking Panadol to lower the fever but in hindsight I should have ensured that the fever was more effectively reduced. I lost about six or seven kilos and it took a considerable amount of time to rebuild my strength.

In November of 2008 (about two months after the most severe part of the illness had ended) I was washing my hair when I looked down to find the whole drain hole blocked with hair. Apparently this is how most people discover the onset of acute THE. Over the next few days I began to become increasingly aware of the hair loss through brushing and its accumulation over the bathroom floor and my pillow. I was becoming more than mildly concerned when I booked a trim with my hairdresser with the hope of them being able to confirm whether I was actually shedding hair and whether it was a repercussion of the illness.

The hairdresser washed my hair in the basin and massaged my scalp which seemed to loosen a lot of the shedding hair. When my hair had been towel dried it looked as though hundreds of hairs had come loose and were knotted into the bulk of my wet hair. It was a very upsetting experience when the hairdresser combed out clump after clump of hair and assembled them in a pile on the floor before shifting them into a ball with his feet for me to look at. Let this be another lesson: don't see a hairdresser about this problem unless they are well trained and can give you a reasonable idea of the cause of the hair loss.

I went straight to the GP who booked me in for an immediate blood test. I was tested for iron deficiency which was a contributing factor of the hair loss. My Ferritin levels were about a tenth of the requisite levels so I was promptly put on a Vitamin C combined Iron Supplement, of which I took two per day. I quickly adjusted my diet to allow maximum iron absorption from my food: eating cereal with fresh orange juice, combining red meat with vitamin C such as tomatoes and capsicums and limiting caffeine and dairy consumption immediately before and after consuming main meals.

Despite these measures the hair loss continued very heavily. When I gently pulled my ponytail approximately 30 strands of hair would come loose. I washed my hair once every three days when required to avoid the massive shedding when it was wet. I did comb my hair in the shower though just to get the excess hair loose so it wouldn't fall during the day. I then tied my hair in plait for work. It can really help to do a rough count of all the hair you are losing when you wash your hair. For me it was about 700-900 hairs per wash. When I first read to do that I thought it was a bit pedantic but it really is very useful so that you can know when the shedding is starting to decrease.

For the same reason I started to collect the hair I removed from my brush and the hair which came loose in the shower and put it in a clear plastic bag each week. I started doing this in about the third week of major shedding. Each week I would start a new bag and fill it with the fallen hair. This really is the most useful tool that you can do if you are very concerned by the hair loss. It is so comforting to be able to see the gradually diminishing size of the bag. The initial 10 weeks involved hair loss of approximately 600-700 hairs per day from then on diminishing until normal hair loss three months after the onset of the THE.

During this time the stress was causing mouth and nose ulcers which are consistent with a diagnosis of Lupis. I was tested for Lupis and this was ruled out. I also saw an excellent dermatologist who instantly advised me that the THE was a result of Glandular Fever, he advised me not to get a scalp biopsy done which I gladly did not.


It is now eight months since the THE commenced and four months since it finished. All my hair is growing back and I have a halo of flyaways which really pleases me! It was all quite an ordeal for me and I completely sympathize with any person who has to go through this. I found positive affirmations really helpful. I was really most afraid about the hair loss continuing indefinitely and going bald but I can really really promise any sufferers of THE that this will not happen! It will all be fine and besides you have only lost a little bit of hair, not something seriously irreplaceable.

Hope this article helps. Wishing you a blessed day.


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      Diane 3 years ago

      I have had this since early June - that I know of. I see tons of tiny hairs sprouting all over my head, but the shedding continues - perhaps not at the same rate that it was shedding initially. It is making me crazy, self conscious, and very sad. Your positive outcome is comforting, but I just want this to stop.

    • profile image

      Maddie 3 years ago

      About 4 months ago I went through Glandular Fever then whilst recovering my doctor gave me a vaccination and I reacted and collapsed knocking my face on the desk resulting in a concussion and two broken teeth. My hair has been falling out for 3 weeks now after all that and this has helped me know that I'm not alone. I have my formal and graduation in a month and I am only now becoming okay with the fact that if my hair keeps falling out i'll wear a wig. Thankyou.

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      Patti 4 years ago

      I had beautiful hair, with a lot of stress during a 2 yr period my body finally is telling me enough is enough. my shedding has just started about 2 weeks ago, clumps after clumps. I feel like the healthiest/unhealthiest person.. I am a Zumba instructor plus exercise on a regular basis eat what I thought was a healthy diet but my personal life was falling apart, I worry 10fold about everything! I finally went to my family Dr. bloodwork was taken. Low iron count wast established and put on a 2pill a day intake. Thisistruly a nightmear and wish it gone tomorrow, but the start has just begun. Wanted to lock myself into a closet for 6months to pass. Your information is comforting and helpful. My sister is battling cancer right now, and yet my selfishness has lead me to complain aout my hair. Trying to find strength to make this journey a little brighter. Any other information would be so helpful to me right now. Wallowing in PA..

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      Saba 5 years ago

      Hi,

      Thanks for sharing this. Its been two months I am sufferring from TE. And all I can say is, the experience is terrible and I wanna get out of it as soon as possible. But your article has comforted me and I am waiting for it to get over. Thanks for the article. God bless!

    • profile image

      Laura 5 years ago

      Hi! I would like to first thank you for everything that you wrote, it was really helpful and comforting to know that there are other people sharing the same annoying problem. Unfortunately, I'm passing through the same thing. Now my hair loss is stabilized, I'm not losing that terrifying amount of hair anymore, but I wonder now whether (and when) it's going to regrow. Would you mind answering me a few questions about that? I'm warned that there are cases and cases, but it would comfort and tranquilize me somehow (:

      What exactly did you use during your treatment? (including "natural" stuff?)

      After how long did you notice your hair starting to regrow? And how long it took for it to regrow completely?

      Thank you so much! Wish you a beautiful day!

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