By: Ava Alderman: People whose hair has been shedding for quite a while or quite dramatically in a short period of time often try to do research as to what might be the cause. And once they rule out medical causes or seasonal shedding, they are often left thinking that they have either telogen effluvium, chronic telogen effluvium, or androgenic alopecia. Many people start out hoping that they have telogen effluvium or TE that passes very quickly. But sometimes as more and more time goes by, they start to get a sinking feeling that this may last for longer than they had hoped. Many start to become afraid that they may have longer term forms of hair loss like CTE or AGA. And then they start to wonder just how thin their hair is going to get if this is the case.
I heard from someone who said: “at first I thought I had seasonal shedding. Then I thought I had TE. But now I’m starting to think I might have CTE or even AGA because it’s been four months now and my shedding shows no sign of slowing down. My ponytail is only a fraction of what it used to be. I’m starting to wonder how thin my hair is really going to get. Are you going to be able to see my scalp? Will I have bald spots? Will I need to wear a wig?” I’ll try to address these questions as best as I can in the following article.
The Depth OF Hair Loss Can Vary From Person To Person And From Month To Month: I know from my own experience that it’s very common to count your hairs and then to try to get estimates further down the road. So, for example, you’d think something like: “I’m shedding about 250 hairs per day. Over the course of a month, that’s 7,500 hairs. In six months, that’s45,000 hairs. In a year, that’s 90,000 hairs. I’ll be bald by then and will need a wig.
I know that this is scary. But you can’t think of it this way. You aren’t likely to lose the exact same amount of hairs every single day. It’s likely there will be some days with improvement and some days that seem a little worse. But it’s the averages that count. Another thing to consider is that unless you have AGA and your ability to regrow hair is severely compromised, you will be regrowing hair as you are shedding it. So, people with telogen effluvium or even chronic telogen effluvium are much less likely to see bald spots or a lot of scalp than someone with AGA who doesn’t have the ability to regrow healthy hair, The reason for this is that because even as the shedding is happening, it is also regrowing and should be offering some scalp coverage. Granted, because the hair is new and short and needs to grow in, you’re not likely to see an increase in volume for quite some time.
A second thing to consider is that you don’t know when you might see this improve or even end. This woman had been shedding for 4 months, but to have a diagnosis of CTE, she had two more months to go. It was possible that next week or next month, the shedding would stop. Finally, keep in mind that we do normally shed some hairs, I know that it is hard to keep this in perspective when it seems as if you are raining hairs. In my own experience, I was sure that I was going to be bald in several months time. That didn’t come to pass even though I was shedding very aggressively for a long time until I began to find some things to improve my situation. I did get temples that very extremely thin. And, my part line widened but my scalp was never completely see through. I did use powder to help blend in my scalp because I became somewhat paranoid.
Don’t Assume The Worst Case Scenario: It might make you feel better when I tell you that many people don’t reach their worst case scenario. And I think it’s important that you don’t just accept that this is where you are heading. There is plenty that you can do to make your hair look presentable as you are going through this. You can also try to minimize inflammation and support regrowth. But to answer the question posed, I unfortunately couldn’t tell this woman how thin her hair would get because I wasn’t sure what type of hair loss she would have, I didn’t know how much longer her shedding would last, and I didn’t know what regimens she was going to try to address things. I could and did tell her that often, things don’t end up being as bad as you had feared and that stress and fear is thought to actually make the shedding worse. So trying to remain calm and being proactive can help.
Unfortunately, I know this because of experience. It took me a long time to determine what my triggers were and how to remove them. It also took me a while to accept that there were things I could to in order to support myself and my hair during this process. If it helps, you can read my story at http://stop-hair-loss-in-women.com/