Jan 17

How To Stop Telogen Effluvium Tingling

If you’ve had hair shedding, you might have felt the scalp tingling that is common with this condition.  It drove a friend of mine crazy.  She said that it felt as if little bugs were crawling over her scalp.  And I know that her perception isn’t unique.  I hear from people who say things like, “my scalp is driving me insane.  It makes its presence known 24 / 7.  It is worse than the hair shedding, which is saying a lot.  When my hair sheds, I can simply throw it away and get it out of my sight, but I don’t seem to have that option with my scalp.   It is tingling all of the time.  Sometimes, the tingling makes it hard to sleep.  I know that some of this is psychological because I’m paranoid about my shedding and about my hair.  But, the physical sensations make it very hard to ignore.   Why is this happening and what can I do to stop it?”

I am not an expert, but in my experience with two very bad bouts of chronic telogen effluvium after pregnancy, I believe that there are multiple reasons why you feel those sensations.  The first possibility is that you’re feeling the follicles that are being affected by the shedding.  Another possibility is that you are feeling the newly activated follicles as the hairs begin to regrow.  Or, the tingling might be the result of inflammation that can happen when so many follicles are active all at once.  (Normally, you don’t feel anything when you shed or regrow hair.  This shedding / regrowing process happens every day and we usually don’t feel a thing.  But when we have telogen effluvium, more of our follicles are shedding / growing at once.  And that can make us feel sensations that we normally would not feel.)

So, in order to diminish this sensation, you want to make sure to keep your scalp as clean and as healthy as possible to combat any inflammation.  This is really the only thing that is within your control, since you can’t control the regrowth or the hair that is already programmed to fall.  You can use anti inflammatory shampoos (but make sure they’re gentle.)  Or you can try topicals like tea tree oil.  If inflammation is a problem for you and is causing those sensations, then this should help.

Other than that, patience and time will have to come into play. I always tried to tell myself that this sensation might have been hair growing back and that was something to be thankful for.  I also used anti inflammatories on my scalp.  But it’s important to keep in mind that when your hair sheds, another hair is right behind it and this is what will ultimately allow you to get your normal volume back once your hair regrows and fills back in.  I know that it’s not ideal to feel this process in the form of tingling, but it’s a better alternative than having hair follicles that aren’t active, since that would limit regrowth.

I believe that my tingling probably lasted for less than a few months and then it started to taper off.  It never hurts to see a specialist, but many people with TE experience this, and for most, it goes away on it’s own.  But it’s a good idea to combat inflammation just in case.  You can read more ideas about that on my blog at http://stop-hair-loss-in-women.com/

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Jan 11

How Can I Tell If I Have AGA Or TE?

By: Ava Alderman:  I sometimes hear from people who are really anxious to know if they have telogen effluvium (TE) or androgenic alopecia (AGA.)  One reason that this is important is that sometimes, TE resolves on its own, while AGA needs treatment in order to get a good result.  So, most people strongly hope that they have shedding that will resolve rather than hair loss which is likely permanent with out treatment.  This distinction can be difficult to make because both of these conditions have hair loss as the main symptom.  However, there are some distinctions worth noting which can lead to some questions worth asking yourself, which I will discuss below.

Do You Have A Trigger That Started The Whole Thing?:  Often, when you have TE, there will be a trigger that you can pretty easily pinpoint.  Anything that causes your body to store it’s reserves due to stress can be a trigger.  Common examples are starting or starting new medicines, severe dieting, physical illness, giving birth, or even using new styling products.  Keep in mind that the trigger should have occurred around 2 -3 months before the shedding started, so you may have to think back into the past.  But typically, if you have shedding that will resolve, you can look back examine your life style or your habits and figure out what started this whole process.

Is Your Longer Regrowth Miniaturized?:  Miniaturized hair is often noticeable when you have AGA.  You may notice that your regrowth is coming in quite thin and has a flyaway or peach fuzz texture.  Now, with this said, it can be common for all regrowth to be a little bit thin when it begins to grow.  So if your regrowth is still less than a couple of inches long, this probably isn’t the best sample to choose.  Instead, I advise examining one of your mature spent hairs (that has already shed out) and then identifying a regrowth hair that has clearly been around for a couple of months.  If you compare the texture of the two hairs, they should be somewhat similar.  But if you notice that the new hair is significantly more thin and texture, then this is something you may want to keep an eye on.  Although I have heard of cases of miniaturization with chronic cases of telogen effluvium, it is more common with AGA.

Do You See Any Indications Of Excess Androgens?:  People with AGA will often have other symptoms like an oily, itchy scalp, or even facial skin that is a bit shiny due to the excess oils.  Also, if you look at your scalp under bright lights try to take notice as to whether you see a sheen at the follicles which would be indicate or excess oils which is sometimes indicative of an androgen issue.  This isn’t to say that people with an effluvium don’t also have issues with their scalp or skin, but it is more likely with AGA.  And often, people will androgen driven loss have also dealt with excess oil on other areas of their body.

The Bottom Line:  Sometimes, it comes down to whether you want to wait to see if the loss resolves on its own or if you want to have a specialists look at it.  It can be a challenge to find someone who will take you seriously and who is willing to actually test rather than just make assumptions and to offer reassurances that are hard to take when you are still shedding.  But it is worth it to keep looking until you find some relief because I know how difficult this process is.

I know because I went through this myself.  There was a time when I was convinced that I had lasting, permanent hair loss that would never end.  But I kept going back to my triggers and knowing that I was missing something somewhere. After this, I started seeing an improvement. But, it was a long, hard, frustrating journey, especially in the beginning. If it helps, you can read the whole story on my blog at http://stop-hair-loss-in-women.com/

 

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Jan 09

Dry Hair With Androgenetic Alopecia.  Isn’t Your Hair Supposed To Be Oily with AGA?

I sometimes hear from people who have been told or suspect that they have AGA or androgenetic alopecia, but they do not have the exact presentation that they’d expect.  They may have read that the hair and scalp can become oily and greasy with this condition, but they’re noticing just the opposite.  In fact, their hair appears more dry than ever before.  So they begin to question their diagnosis and hair presentation.

Someone might say, “my hair started falling out over a year ago. I am relatively young and I am a woman, so I assumed that my hair loss was telogen effluvium. However, when the shedding didn’t stop after about 8 months, I went to a doctor.  The doctor noticed that my hair loss was patterned rather than diffuse, so he told me that I probably have AGA rather than TE.  I did not want this diagnosis, of course, but I can’t deny that there is a definitely a pattern to my loss.  The doctor prescribed rogaine and I am not sure how much it is helping.  One thing I do notice is that my hair and scalp are not oily.  Most of the articles that I read about AGA indicate that there is sebum which manifests itself through oil.  I do not seem to have this because my hair is actually dry.  Is it possible that my diagnosis is wrong, then?”

Anything is possible.  However, I have heard from and witnessed folks who have had dry hair with AGA (and rogaine can be very drying.)  But I have also seen people who have lost so much hair from TE that once the diffuse loss has thinned the hair, the loss then appeared to be patterned because areas like the temple and crown are more noticeable when there is already extensive diffuse loss.  I definitely had some severe loss at my temples when I had severe CTE.  I also did have a bit of miniaturization, but it was not patterned.  I could find miniaturized hairs on the side of my head and at the nape of my neck, which are not high androgen areas.

I think that regardless of WHY you have hair loss, you might be seeing dry hair because as hair sheds or miniaturizes, the hairs that are affected are no longer being actively nourished by the follicle.  As a result, they suddenly appear dry.  This happens with TE as well as AGA.  So yes, you can sometimes see dry scalp or dry hair in some cases with androgen driven hair loss, and rogaine can make this worse, but you should still seek out a second opinion if you aren’t comfortable with the diagnosis.

I used rogaine for a short time when I had CTE and I did notice a drying effect.  After a while, I really did not find it to be helpful, so I moved on to more natural topicals.  However, I did not have AGA and I know that rogaine can be very effective in some people with that condition. Everyone is different as to what helps them and what doesn’t. You can read more on my blog at http://stop-hair-loss-in-women.com/

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Jan 09

Acute Telogen Effluvium. What Is It? How Is It Different From Chronic ?

I’ve recently had some people ask me what it means to have an acute telogen effluvium diagnosis. When I was experiencing hair loss years ago, I’d never heard that term. Basically back then, it was considered telogen effluvium if the shedding resolved within 3 months and it became chronic telogen effluvium if the shedding continued on past six months. Today, it seems that the term acute telogen effluvium is used to describe hair loss that resolves or ends within 6 months, while the term chronic telogen effluvium is reserved for shedding that tops 9 months.

In short, if your specialist suspects that you have acute telogen effluvium, you could expect that the shedding will stop and regrowth will have become noticeable within half a year (and sometimes sooner.) Typically, an acute TE diagnosis comes when you have an easily identifiable trigger that you know has completely ended. Examples are pregnancy, surgery, a resolved illness, dieting, etc. These things don’t typically linger. They have a distinct start and stop time.

There are some ongoing triggers which make chronic TE more likely like an unresolved medical condition that is hard to get under control, ongoing stress, or a situation in which you can’t identify the trigger.

There are some instances where accute TE does have an easily identifiable trigger, but the shedding is so aggressive that the follicles become inflamed and that inflammation becomes a secondary trigger so that the shedding becomes chronic. In this situation, topicals meant to combat inflammation can be useful.

I know that it can sound daunting to know that you are going to be shedding for a specified number of weeks or months. But take things one day at a time. I had chronic TE twice and my hair now looks pretty normal, although I would not have believed this when I was in the middle of all of the shedding. I have recently looked at pictures of myself during the time period when I was actually shedding and honestly, my hair does not look as bad as I remembered or imagined it. Yes, I certainly lost a noticeable amount of volume, but I got pretty good at camouflaging it. Plus, much of the time, you are actively regrowing hair as you are losing it. When a hair sheds out, there is another hair right behind it. So while you may be losing hair at a faster rate than the regrowth can replace it, it is not as if there is nothing to replace the lost hairs. Acute TE is no fun, but it’s certainly better than CTE or even untreated AGA, since most people notice a great deal of improvement in the hair’s appearance within six months to a year after the shedding started. All hair loss conditions can be addressed, but acute TE typically requires only time, addressing your trigger as quickly as you can, and properly caring for your hair and scalp.

I know that it is tough, but you do get through it.  If you find it helpful,  you can read about some things that helped my experience with hair loss on my blog at http://stop-hair-loss-in-women.com/

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Jan 08

Do Miniaturized Hairs Grow Back? Are They Eventually Normal Again? How Long Does It Take?

By: Ava Alderman:  I sometimes hear from folks who are noticing an alarming number of miniaturized hairs on their scalp.  Most people are aware of these types of hairs.  The individual strands begin to thin over time and eventually over the course of several shed cycles become “peach fuzz” type of hair.  Sometimes, this cycle is so aggressive that there can eventually be very sparse areas or bald spots where the hairs become so miniaturized that they cease to grow or fill in anymore.

People often wonder if it’s ever possible to reverse this process.  I’m often asked if miniaturize hairs ever grow back and if so, how long this process takes.  Another concern is if the hair eventually becomes normal again.  I will tell you my opinion on this in the following article.

It’s my opinion and experience that if you do nothing in terms of treatment, there’s very little chance that the hair is just going to miraculously grow back normally.  I’m certainly not a doctor or specialist, but I’ve experienced hair loss myself and have done a good deal of research about it.  Here’s some of the reasoning behind my opinion on this.  The reason that the hair has miniaturized is that the follicle has weakened and shrunk over time.  Most often, what causes this process is an oversensitivity to the androgens on your scalp.   If you don’t address the androgens or the sensitivity, those follicles are going to remain shrunken and ineffective.  Let’s say that you choose to address the androgens either internally or externally, does the miniaturization reverse at that point?

My opinion is that it doesn’t because although you’ve weakened the hold that the androgens have over your scalp, you are still dealing with miniaturized follicles.  So this really is a two step process.  Now, there are also various things that you can try (like topicals and lasers) to help to re stimulate your follicles and make them healthy again.)  If you do both of these things, I believe that your follicles can produce a healthy hair again, but it’s my experience that the process can take a couple of hair cycles in order to be complete.

Unfortunately, many people expect to see a vast improvement in the hair cycle that they are already in.  This isn’t likely.   If you’ve experienced hair loss for any length of time, you probably already know that your hair goes through different cycles including growth, resting, and growing.  You hair strands shed out at the end of their life cycle in the resting phase (or in response to some other stimulus) and are replaced by fresh, new hairs.  Now, as long as you don’t have any inflammation or androgen issues and you have a healthy follicle, then you should be able to grow healthy hair within that first cycle.  But if your follicle has been compromised, you might only see a slight improvement with the first cycle of regrowth.  But as your follicle is healed and strengthened, you should eventually see hair that is thicker in diameter and is sometimes even darker in color as each cycle is complete.

But to answer the question posed, it’s my opinion that with aggressive treatment, miniaturized hairs can eventually grow back normally.  This can take a couple of hair cycles to be complete though, so as difficult as it is, you will often need a little patience.

One of the reasons that I have the opinion that I do is because of my own experience.  I have been able to improve my level of miniaturization, but it didn’t happen over night.  I had to have the patience to stick with it and to evaluate what worked and what didn’t objectively.  If it helps, you can read more  on my blog at http://stop-hair-loss-in-women.com/

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Dec 13

I Thought Henna Was Supposed To Help With Hair Shedding, But Now I’m Shedding More After Using It.

The coloring of hair can be a very common concern when you are shedding or have telogen effluvium. On the positive side, coloring your hair can make it look thicker and better. On the negative side, it can sometimes cause additional shedding. Many people will look to natural alternatives in an attempt to slow or curb the shedding. Vegetable dyes and henna are common alternatives. Some people believe that these products actually improve their scalp and help their shedding. And others report that it actually worsened it.

Someone might say, “I had actually hoped that using henna would help with my hair loss. I read that it has healthy, healing properties for the scalp. I suffered through four hours of applying it and it smelled horrible both during application and up to several days later. I have to admit that I like the color, but my hair is shedding worse than before. Tons of hair came out when I washed the henna out. And even more has come out since then. Why would henna make me shed more when it is supposed to be so helpful?”

Many people notice additional shedding right after using henna. This is true even of people who don’t have an issue with hair loss. You undoubtably know this already, but henna is a clay-like substance. It is almost like putting wet mud on your hair and then the mud hardens over time. So when you have to remove it, there is a lot of manipulation that needs to take place in order to get the product out of your hair. Many people have to use a lot of shampoo, conditioner, and combing in order to get it all out. Some will shampoo and condition additional times in order to try to remove all of the smell. So, this entire process requires tons more manipulation than normal hair color. And this might be why you’re seeing more shedding after the process.

For shedding that keeps going, it’s possible that your scalp is having a reaction to the product or you are experiencing some scalp inflammation. It’s true that henna can help the shedding for some. But my observation is that usually, henna helps people who are shedding because of their scalp issues.  When henna is a problem, there are other products that can treat your scalp – like tea tree oil and gentle dandruff shampoos. In the meantime, you should try to combat any inflammation of the scalp caused by the henna. I would not try the henna again if you feel strongly that it caused more shedding. I had a similar experience. Henna caused additional shedding in the days after the procedure. But, after a week or so, it died down and I noticed less shedding than usual for a week or two. I think what happened was that hairs that were going to shed soon were coaxed out by all of the manipulation with the henna. Then I noticed less shedding later because so much came out after the initial process. Eventually, my shedding pattern returned to normal.  Since I noticed no improvement from the henna, I didn’t repeat the process. But you never know if something is going to help you unless you try it, so try not to beat yourself up. Many people who are shedding try henna.  You can read about some things that helped me on my blog at http://stop-hair-loss-in-women.com/

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Dec 13

Why Does It Take So Long For Hair To Regrow After Telogen Effluvium?

By: Ava Alderman:  I often hear from people who are becoming extremely impatient while they are waiting for their hair to recover and regrow after they’ve suffered from telogen effluvium.  Often, they aren’t seeing progress nearly as quickly as they would like and they find this very discouraging.

I heard from someone who said “my hair started shedding about five months ago.  About six weeks ago, the amount of hair loss began to lessen.  I am still shedding much more than is normal for me, but it is much better than it was.  However, I am not noticing much regrowth.  My hair hasn’t even begun to look any better.  Sometimes, I see tiny regrowth hairs at my part line but they don’t seem to be growing all that much.  Why does it take so long to see some improvement?  I thought I would get some relief after the shedding let up, but I was obviously wrong.”

Believe me when I say that I understand your frustration.  I remember a time when I used to spray my hair with dry shampoo so that the white color would allow me to see (and measure) my regrowth.  So I know that you are probably looking for some progress every single day and that you sometimes feel disappointed.  I hope to offer you some encouragement (and some perspective) in the following article.

Understand That Even Normal, Healthy Regrowth Only Grows A Half Inch Per Month:

If you were to look at a half of an inch on a ruler, you’d see that it’s a very small amount.  Well, this is how much your hair regrows after an entire month.  So it’s entirely possible that only six weeks after you saw an improvement in shedding, you are still only seeing very short baby hairs growing in.  This is normal.  After another month, you will have added another half inch to the length of those hairs.  So as you can see, it takes more than a few months for the hair to get long enough to where it makes much of a difference or becomes noticeable.

And if you are a woman with long hair, it can take up to a year (or more if your hair is really long) before you are able to replace the length and volume of the strands that you lost.  I know that this is a long and frustrating process, but it doesn’t mean that you are behind or that you are doing anything wrong.  It’s just the way that the process works.

Additional Shedding Can Slow The Process Even More:

Sometimes, even when we see some improvement in our telogen effluvium, we continue to shed.  That’s why you will sometimes see short strands in your shower drain and on your clothing.  When this happens, obviously you are having to start all over, gaining only a half inch over the course of a month once the hair begins to grow in all over again.  So, know that if you are still losing more hair than what is usual for you, then you may also be losing some of your regrowth which can slow this process a little more.

Make Sure That You Are Supporting A Healthy Scalp And Paying Attention To Nutrition: 

Admittedly, this is a process that you can’t necessarily completely change.  But there are some things that you can do to make sure that your body and your scalp have what they need to support healthy regrowth.  Make sure that you aren’t doing anything that can create additional trigger that might bring on more shedding.  Also, make sure that you aren’t on any severe diets.  Ensure that your nutritional needs are met because if your body doesn’t get proper nutrition, the first place that you will see this is in your hair. Also, take very good care of your scalp.  You want to combat any inflammation that might impede your regrowth.  (And inflammation is common after periods of high shedding.)

People often ask me if there is any supplements they can take to make their hair grow more quickly or thickly.  It’s my experience that some of these products actually caused more hair loss in my case.  I found that for me, I could tolerate a general daily supplement for women, but I could not tolerate anything that had very high amounts of any ingredients.  That is only my experience but I don’t think that it is one that is uncommon.  I find that just making sure that you have good nutrition and the healthiest scalp possible is usually the best thing that you can do.  Because sometimes when you become too aggressive, you do more harm than good and you bring on a new trigger.

I found that focusing on caring for my hair’s health without focusing on its daily progress helped me.  I just decided to make my hair as shiny, voluminous, and as healthy as possible.  And I think that in the process, I was also able to support healthy regrowth.  I look back on those days with gratitude that they are over.  But I wish I hadn’t worried as much as I did because I think this made it worse.  If it helps, you can read my story at http://stop-hair-loss-in-women.com/

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Dec 12

Can Hair Follicles Produce Healthy Hair After Chronic Telogen Effluvium?

By: Ava Alderman:  I sometimes hear from people who have been suffering from telogen effluvium hair loss for so long that it has reached the level where it’s said to be chronic, which is typically defined as longer than six months.  These folks often worry that their hair follicles have been damaged and, as the result, will be unable to produce healthy or normal hairs once again.

Common comments are things like: “I’ve had hair loss for over a year.  During that time, my regrowth was thin and it kept falling out so that it never had the chance to regrow normally.  Now, the shedding seems to have stopped.  But I’m worried about my regrowth.  Will my follicles be able to produce normal and healthy hair again? Or, have they been damaged from this process?  I have an awful feeling that I’m going to regrow thin, sickly, flyaway hairs.”

I’m certainly not a medical expert, but in my own experience and observation, as long as the triggers that kicked off the shedding in the first place have been removed and you have no other scalp or hair loss issues, then normal hair cycles (including regrowth) should eventually resume.   Sometimes, people worry that their scalp or ability to regrow hair has been negatively affected because they see their new hair fall out or they notices that it looks thin early after recovery.  Sometimes, the new hair has to grow a few inches in length before it begins to reach a normal diameter.  Also, it is possible to need a couple of shedding cycles before your normal hair cycles resume.

If your hair is a couple of inches long or you’re still seeing things that worry you for a couple of months after recovery, then there are a couple of other possibilities.  The first is that the original trigger has returned or a new trigger has come up.  If your hair loss is due to medical issues, then it’s possible that they are not completely resolved.  Another possibility is the inflammatory process.  Rapid and drastic hair shedding and regrowth can sometimes cause an inflammation process in your scalp your can affect your regrowth.  If this is the case though, you’ll often see a reddish or pink scalp that feels tight or itches.

If you’ve ruled these things out, ask yourself if it’s possible that the CTE was instead an androgen driven process.  Androgen driven hair loss or AGA is the most common form of hair loss, even for women.  And one of the symptoms of this type of hair loss is a scalp and hair follicles that have problems regrowing and maintaining healthy hair because of the excess androgens (or your body’s reaction to normal androgens.)  So if you’ve given your regrowth plenty of time and you’re still seeing things that make you worry, then it might be a good idea to explore if your hair loss is androgen driven.  Also, some hair loss starts out as an effluvium and eventually turns into androgen driven loss as soon as the person reaches the age where the AGA would have begun in the first place.

So to answer the question posed, it’s my experience that the follicles are not negatively affected by CTE in the long term.  While it’s possible for hair to look different when it is still short and it’s not uncommon to have a few abnormal cycles before normal patterns resume, follicles should behave normally several months after the shedding is over.  If they aren’t, then it’s important to see if there are any other possibilities (like inflammation, medical issues, or androgens) that need to be addressed.

I did have several abnormal cycles after my shedding ended. My regrowth looked like peach fuzz for a while until I got serious about combatting the inflammation and supporting healthy regrowth. My hair might have resumed normally if I had been patient, but I didn’t feel that I could afford to wait after all the damage that was the result of the shedding.   If it it helps, you can read my story at http://stop-hair-loss-in-women.com/

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Dec 06

Can An IUD Cause Telogen Effluvium?

I sometimes hear from people who purposely avoided using prescription oral contraceptives as a form of birth control because they did not want to potential side effects.  Instead, they used an IUD, but some still suffered from side effects like hair loss.  You might hear someone say, “I know that birth control pills cause hair loss, so I purposely avoided using them.  Instead, I opted for an IUD.  About 3 months later, I am shedding hair horrifically.  When I google this, it sounds like telogen effluvium.  But I’m not taking anything internally so I thought I’d be safe.  Do IUDs cause telogen effluvium or hair shedding?  Because my hair loss is extremely bad.”

I’m not a doctor, but if you google this topic, you’ll see tons of posts by women who suspect telogen effluvium from IUDs. I think that this is because, like anything which can suddenly change your hormones or change what is going on inside of your body, this type of birth control has the potential to cause telogen effluvium which changes in your hair cycles.  There appear to be a decent number of women who have experienced hair loss with IUD’s, but every one is different.  Any medication or any CHANGE that alters your hormone levels can potentially cause telogen effluvium in some people.  I know that it’s assumed that avoiding internal medications makes you more safe, but it’s not always medications that cause TE.  Diets, stress, and even a harsh exercise regimen has been known to kick it off.

Unfortunately, some people are more sensitive than others to changes in the body.  When I was dealing with hair loss, I would sometimes take vitamins and supplements to try and help my hair.  There were times when some of these items would actually kick off a new trigger and make my hair loss worse.  This is probably because the supplements were having an affect on my hormones. I learned to be very, very careful about making any changes to my diet, supplement regimen, exercise routine, and stress.

I would ask myself if there were any other possible triggers other than the IUD and then approach your doctor about your concerns.  He or she would be familiar with potential side effects and could advise you on your best course of action.  If you are experiencing telogen effluvium, you’ll need to wait for your hair cycles to reset and you can support regrowth by eating well and watching out for scalp inflammation.  Again, I’ve not had personal experience with an IUD, but it’s my understanding that anything that can change your hormones or any change that fools your body into thinking that it is under stress can cause telogen effluvium.

I definitely had some shedding when I changed my birth control methods.  But I’m so prone to shedding, that almost any change can set me off.  Over time, I’ve learned to control it a little better and for the most part, I now have normal cycles.  If it helps, there’s more on my blog at http://stop-hair-loss-in-women.com/

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Nov 22

Does Hair Miniaturization Always Mean Androgenic Alopecia (AGA)?

By: Ava Alderman: I sometimes hear from people who can no longer deny that they are seeing miniaturized hairs when they look in the mirror or when they inspect their brush or shower grain. What I mean by this is that they are noticing that some hair on their scalp is much more thin in texture than the rest. Sometimes, miniaturized hair like this is refereed to as “peach fuzz” or “baby fine hair.”

Often, you see miniaturized hairs in high androgen areas on the scalp like on the top of your head, at the temples, and at the crown. Women in particular can get miniaturization in the bang area also. Many people panic when they see miniaturized hairs because they worry that this means that they have AGA (androgenic alopecia, which is often described as male patterned baldness.) Since androgenic alopecia is considered by many to be a long term problem rather than a short term issue (like seasonal shedding or telogen effluvium,) most people become very upset when they realize that they are seeing miniaturized hairs.

I heard from someone who asked: “does miniaturized hairs always mean that you have androgenic alopecia or AGA? When my hair loss started, my dermatologist said that telogen effluvium was the most likely diagnosis because I had gone off of my birth control pills. However, it has now been eight months of shedding with no signs of improvement and now I am seeing miniaturization. My dermatologist says this is indicative of AGA. This was not what I wanted to hear and part of me doubts this. Because I don’t have any hereditary baldness in my family.” I will try to address these concerns as best as I can in the following article.  However, I am certainly not a doctor or specialist and I highly recommend addressing any remaining questions to your health care provider.

Miniaturization Can Be Indicative Of AGA, But There Are Other Conditions That Can Cause Hair To Be Miniaturized: In the above case, there were indicators that could be indicative of androgenic alopecia or telogen effluvium. Going off of birth control pills is a common trigger for TE. However, birth control pills can also act as an anti androgen and going off of them can sometimes give rise to androgenic alopecia that was going to present itself at some point in the the future.

With that said, although AGA is the most common reason that you will see miniaturization, it is not the only reason. Many people report seeing at least some or small amounts of finer textured hairs with chronic telogen effluvium, as was the case with me. I’ve also heard of miniaturization occurring with some autoimmune hair loss.

So to answer the question posed, it’s my opinion that miniaturization does not always mean androgenic alopecia, although many will jump to this conclusion because AGA is the most common reason that you will see these baby fine hairs.

And it is important to remember that in all of the above scenarios, this condition can be reversed.  Many people assume that peach fuzz can never become normal hair again, but I disagree with this assumption.  That’s not to say it’s an easy process.  In order to grow regular diameter hairs again,  you must either remove the trigger (in the cases of CTE and autoimmune hair loss) or protect the follicle from the androgens (as with AGA.) And sometimes, you must do both.

I panicked when I saw the hair at my temples becoming miniaturized.  I was sure this meant that I had androgenic alopecia.  Looking back now, I still believe that I had chronic telogen effluvium.  I suspect this because over time, the temple area improved dramatically.   And I didn’t see any other areas that were affected.  Once I addressed my CTE,  I started seeing normal textured hair growing in again.  But, it was a long, hard, frustrating journey, especially in the beginning. If it helps, you can read the whole  story on my blog at http://stop-hair-loss-in-women.com/.

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