Telogen Effluvium Information
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.