Oct 20

Shouldn’t I Be Able To Literally Feel The Regrowth With Telogen Effluvium? What If I Don’t?

By: Ava Alderman: I hear from a lot of folks who are suffering from shedding and hair loss and who are extremely tuned into their regrowth.  They find themselves constantly looking – and feeling – for it.  Many have come to learn or believe that you can literally feel your regrowth as it’s happening.

This makes sense when you think about it.  Because many of us can definitely feel a difference in our scalp when we’re actively shedding.  Many people notice pain, tightness, or itching when so much hair is falling out at once.

Taking this idea even further, many understandably say that they can also “feel” the regrowth.  Many describe this as a tingling sensation. I can confirm that when I was regrowing hair during my first bout with TE, I DID notice a tingling sensation – at least at first.  However, as some time passed, I stopped being able to feel anything different.  And with my second bout of TE, I really did not notice much of a difference.  And I regrew hair both times.

I can certainly understand wanting to feel progress.  But I don’t want anyone to think that they aren’t regrowing hair if they’re not itching or tingling.  I’ve literally heard people say things like: “I feel nothing.  I see nothing.  I feel like I’m going to go bald since I’m not regrowing any hair.”

The thing is, unless you have a severe androgen issue with miniaturization or a severe autoimmune or inflammatory condition, there should not be any reason why you can’t regrow hair with telogen effluvium.  In fact, as soon as a hair follicle expels a hair, most of the time, it is literally being pushed out by the hair shaft behind it – which is regrowing in its place.

Granted, this can be hard to see at first.  Often, the hairs are thin and light-colored.   But as they grow, they thicken and darken.  Whether or not you feel them may depend upon many factors, but in my non-expert opinion, the quality and quantity of the regrowth  does not correspond with how much tingling or discomfort you feel.

I’ve known people who’ve struggled with the constant tingling who were very dissatisfied with their regrowth and those who felt absolutely nothing who ended up gaining a normal amount of volume with little discomfort involved.

In summary SOME people do feel the regrowth SOME of the time.  But if you don’t feel it (or you feel it sometimes and not at others) this doesn’t necessarily mean that you are not regrowing hair.  We don’t necessarily feel all of our bodily functions as they happen.  But that doesn’t mean that they are not happening.

Try to worry more about what you see than about what you feel.  White colored dry shampoo will often help you see your regrowth. And if you think that your regrowth is insufficient, ask yourself if there could be inflammation or miniaturization involved.  My progress improved greatly once I understood this. You can read more about my own bouts of TE and recovery on my blog at http://stop-hair-loss-in-women.com/

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Oct 18

I Feel So Ugly Because Of My Telogen Effluvium. Tips That Might Help.

By: Ava Alderman: It’s very normal to be overly self conscious when you are struggling with hair loss or with shedding from conditions like telogen effluvium.  I know from experience that you are often worried that everyone is looking at you and wondering what is going on with your hair.  You might imagine that people are staring at thin areas or are noticing your experimentation with different styles and camouflage.  Some people are better able to deal with this than others.  Some take it all in stride, while others experience quite a bit of distress over it.

In fact, some people will become so affected by this process that they will feel bad about their appearance and consider themselves ugly.  Needless to say, this makes a bad situation worse.

Someone might say: “I have always been pretty comfortable with my appearance until now. I’m honestly not a vain person.  I would be perfectly content with looking merely normal.  I have always had pretty hair.  I used to get compliments on it.  But then I got telogen effluvium when I switched birth control pills.  My doctor assured me that the shedding would stop in weeks. But months went by.  He told me that three months was the mean duration of telogen effluvium.  I am at four months.  And although my shedding is sometimes better, I’m still losing more hair than normal and my hair looks absolutely awful.  It used to be shiny and now it is dry and dull.  Because I couldn’t take the long hairs anymore, I cut it short. Well, I look totally awful with short hair.  And the short length just showcases how thin my hair is.  At least before I could put in a ponytail. Now it is too short for that.  I always worry about bald spots.  I always think that people are starring at it.  I feel that it’s more noticeable than before.  And I never thought that this would be possible.  And now, for the first time in my life, I feel ugly.  I don’t want to go out nearly as much.  I don’t participate in life nearly as much.  Because I don’t have the confidence that I once had.  How do I get that confidence back?  Because I am very tired of living like this.”

I am so sorry that you are going through this.  I have been where you are.  I know how you feel.  And I am going to share some things that helped me to get through it.  First of all, telogen effluvium eventually ends.  Now, some of us get the chronic variety which means that it does not always end as soon as we want it to.  But if we are able to look on the bright side, we can realize that at least telogen effluvium means that our follicles should not be damaged — so that when we get over this, we should be able to go right back to producing the healthy hair we have always had.  Yes, it may take a while and that stinks.  But it should also happen eventually.

I know that you are self conscious about your short hair.  (I didn’t like my short hair experiment, either.)  Try to grow it out in a blunt bob.  I found that to be the best cut for making your hair look more thick.  I also want you to be aware that sometimes, when we go through something as traumatic as this, we lose perspective a bit.  I could not stop complaining about how hideous my hair was when I had CTE and yet, when I look back at pictures from that time, it is not as bad as I remembered.  Does my hair look different?  Yes.  Is it more thin?  Absolutely.  But it is not so bad that people were going to recoil in horror as I remembered it. And I think it’s possible that the same is true here.  We have a tendency to think the worst.

I found it helpful to make the most of what I could.  I played up my eyes. I worked out and developed ripped arms, which I enjoyed showing off.  I played up my fit body and best features and tried to take the attention off of my hair.  There are also colored powders just for hair to cover any bald spots.

And make no mistake.  There are MANY beautiful women who have short hair.  Think Halle Berry.  Or Courtney Cox when her hair was short.  Many of us tend to identify strongly with our hair.  So when it is taken away, we struggle.  But there is more to us than that.  I know you have other attributes that you can play up while you’re waiting for your hair to grow back.  And with TE, it SHOULD grow back. Always remember that.  It isn’t gone forever.  You just have to make the best of the waiting game while you’re dealing with it.

I know that it’s not easy.  But focus on what you can – encouraging healthy regrowth and discouraging inflammation.  I look back now at the all the time and turmoil I wasted on my hair.  Those were months that I will never get back.  My hair is back to a relatively normal situation now, but all the worry and distress didn’t do one thing to make it end any sooner.  In fact, it probably delayed it.  You can read more about my own recovery on my blog at http://stop-hair-loss-in-women.com/

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Oct 10

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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Oct 06

What Causes Your Scalp To Itch With Shedding Or Telogen Effluvium? Is This DHT?

By: Ava Alderman:  I hear from a good amount of people who are not only shedding hair, but who are also having scalp issues.  Many of them notice a tight, itchy scalp and they do not understand why.  Some of them have never had dandruff or any itching before.  So they can correlate the scalp problem as occurring shortly after the hair shedding started.  They know that the two must be connected, but they don’t know why.

Someone might say: “ever since my hair started shedding badly, my scalp has itched.  I don’t notice any flaking, so I don’t think that it is dandruff.  But it’s really bad.  It’s hard not to notice it all of the time.  Scratching really doesn’t make it any better.  I try not to be obvious with the scratching, but last night my husband asked me if I had fleas. He was only joking, but this means that the scratching is obviously noticeable. Why is this happening?  I’ve read that your scalp can itch with hair loss from DHT.  Is that what is it is? My doctor thinks that I have telogen effluvium.”

In cases of telogen effluvium, the most common cause for the itch (at least in my experience and observation) is inflammation and irritation.  Except for when you’re experiencing telogen effluvium or a severe summer shed, it’s just not normal for so many of your hair follicles to go into shedding mode all at once.  Normally, you may have less than ten percent of hair in this mode.  So when the hair sheds out during a normal cycle, you don’t notice it much or feel any discomfort in your scalp.  But when this is magnified by five times or more (as is the case with TE,) than you most definitely do notice it and you can sometimes see evidence of it on your scalp, which can become irritated and inflamed.

Another reason for the itching is regrowth.  Since you probably have many more follicles growing hair than normal, this can create some tightness, tingling, or itching as the hair begins to fill in.

The inflammation and tightness can often be helped with a little tea tree oil or the commercially available product scalpacin (at least it gave relief in my experience.)  And frankly, even if dandruff is not a problem and never has been, many people with TE get some relief using dandruff shampoo simply because it kicks back inflammation.

As far as DHT goes, if you truly have TE, DHT really should not be the cause of your itching.  However, there is another type of hair loss (androgenetic alopecia) where DHT is most definitely an issue. The scalp becomes overly sensitive to this androgen and the follicles shrink as a result – causing hair loss, and eventually, miniaturization.  This process can cause itching and discomfort also.

But people with TE typically don’t have hair loss caused by androgen sensitivity.  Their hair loss and shedding is caused by stress or change to the body or illness.  It’s important to understand the difference between the two and to differentiate which type you have.  AGA and miniaturization can be addressed if treated early.  But since TE doesn’t permanently affect the follicles and doesn’t include the DHT sensitivity, it’s more likely that the itching isn’t from DHT if you are dealing with telogen effluvium.  It’s most likely from inflammation, irritation, or regrowth. Sometimes, you can have all three going at once, which can be a challenge.  It took me a while to get a handle on my inflammation, but I had CTE (chronic telogen effluvium.)  I often wonder if I would not have developed the chronic variety if I had gotten the inflammation under control earlier.  But I did not know then what I know now. You can read more on my blog at http://stop-hair-loss-in-women.com/

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Sep 29

Is It Possible For Telogen Effluvium To Reoccur Every Couple of Years?

By: Ava Alderman:  Most of the correspondence that I receive comes from people who are just starting to struggle with hair loss.  The process is new to them and they are scared.  Occasionally though, I hear from people for whom the process is pretty familiar and old, and they are also scared.

I hear from them because although their hair loss has both started and stopped (and then started again,) this tends to be a reoccurring theme in their life lately.  They’ll have a bout of telogen effluvium, have it finally end, think its over, and then find that down the road, it will come back.   This can leave them wondering if this is something that they are just going to have to learn to live with for years down the road.

Someone might say something like this: “my initial struggles with telogen effluvium started after I gave birth to my first child.  I understood why this was happening because my doctor warned me that it might.  Therefore, I wasn’t that worried about it and I knew that it would end.  And it did.  And I very naively assumed that I would not have to worry about this ever again.  How silly I was to make this assumption.  I’ve had TE every couple of years ever since.  It doesn’t happen every year.  It seems to be more like every other year.  And it does end.  But not before taking a lot of my hair with it.  Why would this be happening every couple of years?  I’ve been checked out medically and no one can find anything wrong with me.”

There are a couple of things that you might consider.  And I will list them below.  See if any ring a bell for you.

Severe Seasonal Shedding:  It never fails that in the late spring, I am sometimes going to shed so badly that I’m going to be afraid that I’ve got another bout of TE starting up.  And this can sometimes last for longer than a week.  Ask yourself if the shedding that you are seeing is occurring at the same time of year in each instance.  If it is, then this could be severe seasonal shedding rather than TE.

Hormonal Vulnerabilities:  If you have had TE after giving birth, this might be an indication that you are hormonally vulnerable.  Some people tend to shed when their hormones fluctuate – even a little.  I notice that when I try supplements or diets that can change my hormones even a little, I am prone to shedding.  I have to be careful not to initiate any major changes in my routine, no matter how tempting this may be at the time.

Allergies: This goes back to evaluating if the shedding is happening at the same time every year.  If you have severe allergies and this causes stress to the body or inflammation, it is possible that this could inspire a shed.  The same can be true of new products that irritate the scalp and cause an allergic reaction.

Stress As A Trigger:  Another thing that I sometimes see reoccurring with people vulnerable to shedding is stress.  Again, anything that can cause a major change of routine or stress to the body can cause shedding in some vulnerable people.  If you are under severe stress every couple of years, this would make sense.

The next time the shedding happens, it makes sense to ask yourself if you’ve tried or done anything that would affect hormones, if you are under stress, or if you have tried any new styling products, or have allergies.  Then take inventory of your general health.

Sometimes, shedding is part of aging as our hormones change or lessen.  If the hair is growing back and you are not showing any signs of miniaturization, this may be TE rather than any long term problem with androgens, which is good news since there would not be any permanent damage to the follicles.

I understand this frustration as I too am very hormonally vulnerable.  Any little thing can start me shedding.  I have to be very careful to keep my stress low, my health high, and to not change my routines or regimens in any major way.

It does stink, but over time I have learned ways to maximize my regrowth while trying to minimize or shorten my shedding.   You can read more on my blog at http://stop-hair-loss-in-women.com/

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Sep 27

I Gave Birth And Had My Baby A Year Ago. And I’m Still Shedding Hair. What Could Be Wrong?

By: Ava Alderman:  If you have postpartum hair shedding, chances are you’ve already done your research and have read that for many new moms, the shedding is normal and should be over with in about three months.  So, many of us try not to worry and we wait.  But when that three month mark passes, we tell ourselves that we just have to wait a little longer.

For some of this, a little patience is all it takes.  The shedding ends as it is supposed to and we are able to go on with our lives.  But for others, the hair loss and the shedding linger on, and you worry that it is never going to end or that there is something else wrong with you.

Someone might describe this type of scenario: “I am not kidding when it tell you that it has been over one year since I gave birth to my son and I am still shedding as bad as I ever did. Now, I know it’s normal to have postpartum shedding.  I had it with my first child so I wasn’t even concerned when it started.  But I did start to become concerned when after six months, it hadn’t improved.  Now it has been over a year with no relief.  Why has the shedding not stopped? Could there be something wrong with me?”

I can tell you some theories that I’ve developed.  I am not a doctor, but I experienced prolonged postpartum shedding also.  And there are many possibilities.  I will discuss them below, but I would also encourage you to see your physician or dermatologist who may do tests to help you find some answers.

First, although there are lucky folks who experience a very short amount of shedding postpartum, there are also people who shed for much longer than the three months.  That is only a general range.  It is not true for every one.  In fact, if you look on hair loss forums, you’ll see that prolonged shedding isn’t all that rare.

Second, it is possible that there is a second trigger.  Perhaps the postpartum shed is not what you are seeing now.  Perhaps you are seeing hair loss from a secondary trigger that you’ve not yet identified. Giving birth can give rise to hormonal issues.  Some women find themselves having thyroid fluctuations after giving birth and this can also cause hair loss.  I’ve even heard of women having autoimmune issues postpartum.  Plus, if you are breast feeding, this requires that your body works very hard (which is why some women lose weight during it.)   Any type of stress to or changes in your body can cause shedding.

Frankly, in my experience, it doesn’t seem to take a large change to cause shedding – just a change.  At least for people like me who are hormonally vulnerable. And some of our bodies take a little longer to regulate itself after stress.  Anything that throws your body off even just a little can cause shedding.

Finally, this is a theory that I have developed because of my own experience and the correspondence that I get.  I believe that in some cases, extended telogen effluvium or multiple bouts of it can kick off a hair condition that might have come further down the road or later in your life.

Think about it this way.  When you have telogen effluvium, your hair cycles speed up.  The shedding and growth cycles that would have otherwise have taken years suddenly happen in weeks and months.  You can have cycles which would have occurred over years happening in only months.  So, this process ages your hair.  Which means that in some cases, the hair issue that you would have had years down the road – like androgenetic alopecia – happens earlier than it would have otherwise have happened.

These are all just theories.  And your doctor would be in a better position to evaluate.  I know that this is tough. But keep in mind that when you are losing hair during telogen effluvium, you are also growing it back. So while it may get thinner and be very frustrating, it shouldn’t be balding or getting miniaturized in most cases.

My postpartum hair loss was very trying at a time that was already difficult.  I learned to have patience, to dig a little deeper, and also some tips that helped me make the most of the hair that I had.  You can read more on my blog at http://stop-hair-loss-in-women.com/

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Sep 15

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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Sep 13

How Do I Tell If My Telogen Effluvium Is Gradually Getting Better And It’s Not Just Wishful Thinking?

By: Ava Alderman:  There is no question that when you are shedding or losing hair, you want to believe that it is getting better.  (I think that is one reason why counting hairs can be so common.)  You want some quantitative way to be able to tell when it is actually improving.

However, if you have ever counted hairs, then you probably already know that this practice invokes a lot of anxiety.  It makes you worry about something that you can’t always control. And it sometimes makes you think that you aren’t making progress when you absolutely could be.  Honestly, most people can eyeball what comes out of the drain and ascertain if the amount is less than yesterday without needing to count the exact number of hairs.  In case it’s not already clear, I absolutely suggest that you DON’T count your hairs.  I know that it is tempting because I used to do it.  And that’s how I can tell you that it causes more problems than it solves.  It creates stress at a time when you absolutely do not need it.

So how do you know if you are improving if you don’t count hairs or take close inventory everyday?  Well, here are some things that you might look for.

Your Hair Becomes Shiny And Manageable Again:  When you are suffering from telogen effluvium, massive shedding, or even androgenetic alopecia, you will often find that your hair looks lifeless, may tangle, and may just be flat.  Part of the reason for this can be that the hair has switched out of the growing phase or the follicle has become smaller so that the hair is no longer being properly nourished.   However, once the follicles improve or the hair switches back to the growing phase (or both) then you should see the hair look more healthy again.

For The Most Part And Over All, You See Less Hair Falling Out:  It would be wonderful to think that your hair loss is going to gradually subside and then be nothing at all.  This isn’t always the reality, though.  Sometimes, you see a little improvement and then the shedding starts back up.  And then the process repeats before the improvement becomes more apparent.  The point is, recovery does not always come in a straight line.  But over all, you should generally be able to say that for the most part, the loss is not as bad as it once was.

Your Regrowth Looks Robust And Relatively / Increasingly Plentiful:  With most types of hair loss, hair that falls out is going to eventually regrow.  Now, the regrowth can be hard to spot at first.  It can even begin it’s growth looking a little thin.  But as time goes on, you should see dark, robust, and normal looking hair coming in.  If you don’t, then you want to take a look and evaluate for androgens, miniaturization, or inflammation – all of which can be treated.

I hope that this article has shown you that you don’t need to count your hairs in order to track your progress.  For the most part, you just need to have some awareness, but you don’t need to be obsessed or allow this to take over your life.  (Like I did for a while.) I know that’s easier said than done because I’ve been through this myself.  But sometimes, this hair loss thing needlessly causes a lot of stress at a time when we certainly don’t need it.  You can read more about my hair loss and recovery my blog at http://stop-hair-loss-in-women.com

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Aug 31

Meditation For Telogen Effluvium, Shedding, And Hair Loss

By: Ava Alderman:  There is no question that when you believe that you are losing your hair, it is stressful.  Even if you only have shedding that is supposed to be temporary (as is the case with telogen effluvium,) you can still wonder and worry about when it will stop, how much longer you have to endure it, and what your hair will look like when it is finally over.  People may tell you that “it’s only hair,” but generally only people who haven’t watched their hair clog the drain can say things like this.  If you have watched helplessly as your hair becomes more and more thin, you know how emotionally and psychologically trying this can be.

Understandably then, people can look for ways to ease the stress.  Many people are intrigued by meditation.  And there’s no question that this practice can offer health benefits.  So of course some wonder if these health benefits might extend to your hair.  Someone might ask: “my doctor is pretty sure that I have telogen effluvium from some hormonal changes.  This has taken a huge toll on me.  I would say that I’ve lost at least 1/3 of the volume of my hair with no end in sight.  I am so stressed out.  The only relief that I get is doing yoga.  I’d like to expand on this and try some meditation.  But I have tried it before and I could not sit still like that.  However, right now I am desperate and I will force myself to sit.  Once I begin meditating, will it help or stop my hair loss?”

Give Yourself Permission To Use Whatever Type Of Meditation Works For You.  Tweak As Necessary: I honestly do not think that there is any down side to meditating.  The benefits are long and are well documented. Plus, meditation is free, easy, and relaxing.  But despite all of this, many people have trouble doing it.  I had trouble with the silence and with sitting still also.   So I gave myself permission to tweak it so that it worked for me.  I’ve had great success with an app called “Headspace” as well as just listening to soothing nature sounds or classical music that you can play on Youtube.   I also sometimes listen the Harry Potter series on YouTube. I find Jim Dale’s voice to be so relaxing and I zone out.  I close my eyes and allow the music or sounds to regulate my breathing.  “Headspace” is sort of a guided meditation.  There is a very soothing voice that walks you through the process.  But as you make progress and get into the habit, there are less and less prompts.  I am able to meditate using “headspace,” music, or soothing audio books just fine – I think because there is not the pressure of just sitting in silence without any guidance.  I just need for there to be sound.   I think that it is completely fine to meditate in whatever way that you find pleasing. The whole point is to regulate your breathing, slow or stop your thoughts, and just be present in the moment.  If this requires some music or prompts, I don’t see the harm.

Does Meditation Help With Hair Loss?: As to whether or not meditation will help with hair loss, if your trigger is stress, it certainly could help.  Meditation certainly helps to lower stress.  And even if stress is not your trigger, stress can sometimes prolong or worsen the hair loss.  It can also raise cortisol, which is a trigger for some.  So certainly lowering stress can inadvertently lower your hair loss.

However, with a medical trigger, it’s questionable as to whether stress-lowering methods can stop the hair loss.  Why? Because your hair follicles need time to go back into the growing phrase, which is when the hair loss stops.  This usually just happens in time.  Meditation, unfortunately, isn’t likely to speed this process.  It won’t reset your hair cycles.  And if you have an ongoing trigger that doesn’t stop, meditation won’t take away that trigger.

Still, even if meditation doesn’t eliminate your hair loss, it is still worth doing.  Anything that you can do to feel better and to lower stress is beneficial. I did meditate when I was having hair loss.  I am not sure that there was a cosmetic benefit, but there was certainly a mental one.  You can read about some of the other things that helped me on my blog at http://stop-hair-loss-in-women.com

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Aug 30

Is Telogen Effluvium More Visible At The Crown Area?

By: Ava Alderman:  For a woman experiencing hair shedding or loss, there are a couple of areas on our scalp that we are particularly concerned about.  These areas are the temples and the crown.  Why?  Because these are the areas that will most commonly thin if we have androgenetic alopecia or pattered thinning or baldness.  Many people who believe that they have telogen effluvium hope and pray that they do not have androgenetic alopecia because telogen effluvium eventually ends, whereas AGA can be a long term struggle (at least without treatment.)

Concerning the crown, someone may ask: “is it possible for hair loss at the crown to be more noticeable when you have telogen effluvium?  I honestly believe that I am shedding hair from all over.  I believe that I have TE because the loss is diffuse. I think that this TE theory almost has to be true because of the sheer volume of hair that I am losing.  But, when I take inventory and take an honest look at my hair, the area that looks the worst is my crown.  I almost can not stand to look back there.  There’s a little bald spot right at the end of my part line.  I have taken to teasing that area, but I hate to do this long term because I feel like it damages the hair and makes more of it fall out.  Is it possible for loss to be more noticeable at the crown, even with telogen effluvium?”

In my own experience, I believe that the answer to this question is yes.  I had chronic TE and I noticed more thinning in my temples and crown.  But once my loss ended, the hair mostly grew back. I do have one temple that is a little more sparse than the other.  I do not know why it has lagged behind.  But, compared to how it looked at it’s worse, I am very happy with how it filled back in.  And you probably would not notice anything unless I showed you old photos.

It might make you feel a little better to really look at your crown and notice how some of it faces down toward the sides and some of it goes straight down toward the back. It is for this reason that there is just naturally less coverage in that area.  Think about it this way.  If you had the same amount of hair on your sides and at your crown, the crown would look more sparse simply because, right at the top, it covers three different areas on your scalp.  The hair on the sides simply hangs straight down and provides full coverage.  But it only has to cover one area.

I think you’ve already made an important distinction.  You are losing hair all over.  It is diffuse loss.  Hair that is only falling out and being affected at the high androgen areas would be more of a concern.  But I believe that it is possible to have telogen effluvium and to still notice more loss at the temples and crown.  The temples have a lot of baby hairs to begin with.  And the coverage that the crown provides is divided, so that any loss there is going to be more noticeable.  Of course, if you notice other changes that may indicate changes in androgens outside of your scalp, (acne, or oil on the face and body) then consulting a dermatologist is a good idea.

There are colored powders that can help you cover the crown so you don’t have to tease it.  You match the powder to your hair color and you truly can not tell after it is applied. You’re welcome to read more about my experience on my blog at http://stop-hair-loss-in-women.com/

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