Nov 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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Nov 09

How Thin Will My Hair Get If I Have Telogen Effluvium (TE,) Chronic Telogen Effluvium (CTE,) Or AGA?

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/

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Nov 02

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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Nov 01

Why Am I Shedding Short Hairs With Telogen Effluvium (TE)?

By: Ava Alderman?  I often hear from people who can’t help but examine the hairs that they are shedding when they believe that they have telogen effluvium (which is commonly referred to as TE.)  Not only do many people count the hairs, but many look very closely at the length and also at the ends to see if they have any bulbs or markings.  They often have questions about what they are saying. I heard from someone who said: “I’ve been noticing that lately, most of the hairs that I am shedding are very short.  Much have blunt ends.  Why could this be happening?  Does this mean the hair that I am regrowing can’t be maintained?”  I will try to answer these questions in the following article.

Shedding Short Hairs Can Mean That You’re Still Cycling Through Different Hair Cycles Of Growth And Regrowth: Many people assume that once their TE is ending or is over, they will just pick up with normal hair cycles and are able to resume their previously healthy hair schedule.  Unfortunately, this isn’t always the case.  Some people go through a few cycles until their hair growth cycles resume to “normal.”  What this means is that your hair is still shedding while you are also regrowing.  Your body or scalp doesn’t distinguish between long or shot hair.  It just continues to shed. And if you’ve gone through TE, you will often have a good deal of short hair growing in.

This doesn’t necessarily mean that your regrowth will never take hold.  Sometimes, it just takes a few more cycles. Or, the trigger that started the shedding in the first place needs to be eliminated.  Ask yourself where you are in the shedding.  Has it been only a few weeks?  A few months?  Shedding short hairs is more common in chronic telogen effluvium (shedding that lasts for six months or longer) because it takes a few months before you start to see regrowth and a few more for it to obtain some length.  So by the time you see short hairs falling out, more than a few months from the beginning of this process has likely passed. If it’s been more than several months, then it might be time to see if something else is at play.

The Possibility Of Continuing Triggers Or Androgenetic Alopecia: Sometimes, the shedding just continues to go on and you’ve seen several cycles of short hairs continuing to fall out.  At that point, if you’re still confident that you’re looking at telogen effluvium, you may want to look the possibility of continuing or multiple triggers.  Sometimes, what caused the original shedding is over but something else has triggered a new one.  Or, other times there is a continuing trigger like a medical issue or a medication that doesn’t agree with you.

The last thing to consider is that you might be looking at androgen driven loss.  It is possible for the loss to start off as telogen effluvium and then turn into something else like androgentic alopecia (which is often referred to AGA.)  It’s not unheard of for androgenetic alopecia to be thought to be telogen effluvium initially.  And, shedding short hairs with AGA is common because people with this condition have a hard time supporting healthy regrowth.  It can help to look at the quality of the shed hairs.  Are they miniaturized? (This means do they look thin and whisky, like peach fuzz.)

The good news is that either of these cases can be addressed by supporting healthy regrowth, minimizing inflammation, and addressing any androgens.  But to answer the question posed, it can be normal to shed short hairs with telogen effluvium.  But if the hairs are miniaturized or if this process goes on for too long, you might want to see if there is something else at play that can be addressed.

I panicked when I saw a bunch of short hairs coming out.  I assumed that 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 loss of short hairs improved dramatically. Once I addressed my triggers, I started seeing normal length 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 31

Drying Your Hair With Telogen Effluvium. Should You Use A Blow Dryer?

I sometimes hear from people who notice that they seem to shed more hair when they use a blow dryer while suffering from telogen effluvium.  Therefore, they can start to think that perhaps the blowdryer is a variable that is making things worse.  They might ask: “Is a blow dryer off limits when you have telogen effluvium?  I have been shedding for about 10 weeks.  I try to be very gentle when I wash and style my hair.  But if I blow dry my hair upside down, it makes my hair look more full.  It makes me look like I have more hair than I actually do.  At the same time, I also notice TONS of fallen hairs on the floor and around my feet after using the blow dryer.  So I feel like I am sacrificing hairs by using it.  Should I stop using the blow dryer when I’m shedding like this?”

If you had a normal hair cycle right now and were not shedding hair, I’d bet you probably wouldn’t even notice much from the blow dryer use (except for hair that might have been noticeably dryer.) However, when you are shedding hair, any additional manipulation can cause the hair that was already poised to fall out to go ahead and fall.  It can feel as if you are losing more hair.  But, hairs that were in the resting phase due to telogen effluvium would have fallen out eventually.   Another issue with blow dryers is that if used on high temperatures or excessively, they can cause some inflammation.   This can be important because inflammation and telogen effluvium are not a good combination, as the inflammation can be an additional trigger and cause more or prolonged shedding.

It was a personal decision, but I decided to ditch my blow dryer as much as possible when I was shedding hair.  I found that I had similar results when I would either allow my hair to dry in a very loose ponytail at the top of my head, or, if I was in a hurry, I would put it up in a towel.  This would give me the volume that I wanted without the additional inflammation and the drying effect of the blow dryer.  Telogen effluvium hair can already be pretty dry, so the additional drying and inflammation of the blow dryer was just not something that I needed.  Of course, there are times when you are in a hurry and you need dry hair in a short amount of time.  In that case, you might have to use the blow dryer, but I used it sparingly.  Although it might only nudge out the hairs that would have fallen out eventually anyway, I just didn’t want the additional inflammation with the potential for a new trigger and the psychological pain of seeing more hair come out than was necessary.  You can read more about what helped my psyche and my hair on my blog at http://stop-hair-loss-in-women.com/

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Oct 11

Does Exercise Help With Hair Regrowth After Telogen Effluvium?

I often hear from people who are trying to embrace a healthier lifestyle after they’ve gone through (or are going through) a bout of telogen effluvium. Some want to try exercise in the hopes that this will make things better. They might ask a question like: “my hair has been shedding for about two months. I haven’t been to a dermatologist, but my primary care doctor says that I probably have telogen effluvium from dieting. So I have stopped dieting, but so far, my hair is still shedding. I don’t want to damage my body anymore to lose weight, so I’ve started eating healthy and I want to start exercising. I’m wondering if exercise will help with my shedding and regrowth.”

There are a couple of trains of thought about this. Some people feel that exercise is helpful in a couple of ways. First, it helps encourage increased blood flow which is good for your scalp and hair. Second, it can dramatically decrease stress, which is vitally important. As you may already know, telogen effluvium often occurs after a stress to the body where your system goes into “flight or fight.”  This can happen to your body for many reasons including illness, dieting, medications, surgery, hormonal changes, etc. Since hair is not necessary for survival, your body will put the hair into “resting” mode and it sheds. So anything that you can do to relax your body and lower stress helps to avoid those “flight or fight” responses (and the hormonal changes that come with them) which can trigger TE.

However, with this said, it’s my belief that you have to be careful here. If you overdo exercise, it can actually stress your body or change your hormones. Neither of these things would be great if you’re trying to recover from TE. My position on this has always been that GENTLE and relaxing exercise is a good idea, but strenuous exercise that may tax your body might actually do more harm than good. I think that yoga or pilates are great alternatives. They offer health and physical fitness benefits, but they are gentle and are great for stress relief.

If you are going to exercise, it’s important that you wash your hair afterward. You don’t want to leave any sweat or debris on your scalp. Although telogen effluvium is different than androgenic alopeica, they can present in similar ways. So if there is any chance that your hair loss may have an androgen or inflammatory component, leaving sweat or debris on your scalp is not a good idea. You always want a clean scalp that is free of debris (which could clog follicles) or inflammation (which could cause more hair loss) when you are dealing with shedding.

In short, I think that gentle exercise is a great idea with telogen effluvium, but you have to be careful not to overdo it. Plus you want to clean your scalp afterward if you’ve worked up a sweat. I found yoga very helpful when I was going through telogen effluvium.  Not only was shedding stressful, but I always worried about how my hair would look for the long term.  The deep breathing with yoga helped to ease these worries.  Having a better looking body helped me focus on something other than my hair. And I’m sure that the stress relief was ultimately beneficial.  You read about more things that helped on my blog at http://stop-hair-loss-in-women.com/

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Sep 20

Does Telogen Effluvium Cause Grey Hair?

I sometimes hear from people who feel that they’ve been suffering from hair loss symptoms which they are not sure are related to their telogen effluvium.  Yes, they’ve had the expected hair loss.  But they also notice changes in texture or color.  I sometimes hear from people who notice grey hair and who can’t find any documentation that the shedding could be causing their hair to grey.

Someone might say: “I am only 27 years old.  For the past seven months, I have lost massive amounts of hair.  No one is sure why it has happened.  My health is good.  I have not changed medications.  I have been under stress because of an illness in my family.  So that is the only thing that we can figure out.  I suspect that I have chronic telogen effluvium because obviously, it has gone on for longer than what is considered typical.  And my hair looks really awful due to the loss of volume.  But even worse, now I’m seeing greys sprouting at my temples.  I’m too young for this.  And none of the females in my family turned grey early.  Could my telogen effluvium be causing this?  Will the greys stop once the TE does?”

There’s not a lot of literature about TE causing grey hair.  It is thought that grey hair is caused when the production of melanin slows down.  This typically happens as we age, but some experts believe that stress can have an affect on free radicals, which then slows melanin, which in turn causes grey hair. You only need to look at past presidents of the United States to see that this is possible.  They all seem to age (and go grey) pretty rapidly.  So, it is possible that the stress could be causing both your TE and your bit of grey hair.  Another possibility is that sometimes, your regrowth comes in a bit lighter colored and then darkens up with time.  My hair is medium brown, but my regrowth came in with an almost blonde tinge and then darkened as it grew in longer.  I did notice a few greys when I was in recovery also.  This is going to sound odd, but I didn’t mind them because they were thicker in texture, which added to my volume.  Once my active shedding ended, I colored only the grey hairs with one of those wands and gentle non-ammonia touch up coloring.  And it did seem like I saw less of them in time.

Here is another theory which I used to account for some of my miniaturization (which thankfully reversed for the most part.)  I’m not an expert on this in any way, but from my own experience and from speaking with others, I believe it is possible that CTE can age your hair.  Think about it.  A normal hair cycle lasts for 3 – 5 years, so if you have prolonged shedding and your hair goes through a few TE cycles simply because it keeps shedding out and recycling, then your hair now might essentially be the same as it would  6 – 10 years down the road if you’d never gotten TE.  I always thought it was possible that I was getting some of the hair that I might normally have gotten in mid-life had my TE have not happened.

I know that the grey is something that you’d rather not happen.  But try to look at it like at least it is hair growing back. And it may darken as it grows longer in length.  In the meantime, as best as you can, try to manage the stress because this might help in more ways than one.  I know that CTE can be a very tough, draining thing.  If it helps, you can read more about my experience with CTE on my  blog at http://stop-hair-loss-in-women.com/

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Sep 16

Telogen Effluvium For A Year: Is It Possible?

I sometimes hear from people who are suffering from hair shedding for longer than was originally expected.  They’ve often been told that they have telogen effluvium.  But because the shedding lasts for much longer than it should, they can begin to question this.

Someone might say: “my hair started shedding very severely after I got close to college graduation and began the recruiting process.  Things were more competitive than I thought and so yes, I got very stressed out.  I went to the college health center and I was told that I probably had telogen effluvium due to stress.  They assured me that it should end in a couple of months.  Well, now it has been one year later. I am still shedding.  And now I actually have a job that I love. I have been here for six months and my stress levels are actually pretty low.  I went to my family doctor and he ran some basic tests and told me that he could find nothing wrong.  He said that sometimes the shedding just lasts for a little longer.  This doesn’t ring true to me.  I don’t think I have alopeica areta because the hair does grow back and there are no patches or bald spots.  Does anyone have telogen effluvium that lasts for over a year?”

In my experience, this is possible because there is a condition called chronic telogen effluvium which is defined as shedding that lasts for longer than the typical three months.  There’s no consensus as to exactly why this happens and everyone has their theories.  I went through a bout of CTE once and I do believe that it was due to a couple of things.  I believe that I had developed some inflammation in my scalp (which I didn’t recognize so I didn’t treat.)  And, in desperation, I tried many different supplements and supposed remedies.  Some of these affected my hormones.  When your hormones go up and down, this can most definitely cause CTE.  Some people develop CTE because they have an underlying medical condition or other trigger that is never identified and so the cycle just keeps happening over and over again.  If you can’t find a medical issue, then perhaps think about hormones, diet, or scalp issues.

Speaking of scalp issues, early adulthood does bring about AGA or androgenetic alopecia for some.  People often think that only men get this condition, but that just isn’t true.  There’s another misconception that AGA only causes slow hair loss.  This can be true, but there are people who get aggressive shedding with AGA so that the presentation looks like telogen effluvium.  Since it has been a year, you may want to examine your regrowth and then compare it with your regular hair to see if there is any miniaturization.  I mention this because AGA is by far the most common type of hair loss.  So for that reason alone, it is worth considering, especially since it’s highly treatable when caught early.

I’m certainly not a doctor, but as someone who has gone through CTE, I can tell you that for many, it does get better.  The trigger is eventually removed, the inflammation is resolved (as was in my case), or the person finds out that they had AGA instead and they treat accordingly.  Never give up trying to figure out the cause.  Because that is often the beginning of turning things around.  If it helps, you can read more about my resolution of CTE on my  blog at http://stop-hair-loss-in-women.com/

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Aug 29

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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Aug 29

Can Gluten Cause Hair Loss?

By: Ava Alderman:  I sometimes hear from folks who have been suffering from hair loss and who are attempting to exhaust all possible causes.  Many have seen doctors and dermatologists.  Many have gotten a clean bill of health and yet are still seeing hair loss.  So, as a result, some will look at their diets and might begin to suspect that some substances that they eat might contribute to the hair loss.  One example is gluten, which has gotten a lot of press lately because of the popularity of gluten free diets.  Someone might ask: “is it possible for gluten to cause hair loss?  I have been shedding for over four months.  My dermatologist believes that I have telogen effluvium, but we can not find any cause for it.  I had my primary care physician do blood work.  My hormonal and thyroid levels are fine.  Apparently I am completely healthy.  The only thing that I can remotely suspect is that I recently ended a diet where I was eating low carb.  Now that I am eating carbohydrates again, I am probably taking in a lot of gluten.  Could gluten be causing my hair loss?”

I researched this and the only think that I found between gluten and hair loss was in those individuals who have celiac disease.  People with this condition generally have other symptoms besides hair loss, such as extreme gastrointestinal issues, itchy skin, mouth sores, and weight loss.  Some have joint pain.  It is thought that celiac disease contributes to hair loss because it brings about an autoimmune response in the body.  As a result, people who have celiac disease are more likely to have alopecia areata instead of telogen effluvium.  Sometimes though, celiac disease causes malnourishment, which could also result in hair loss.

Someone who does not have celiac disease would probably not have these autoimmune or malnourishment issues and therefore, it is probably not gluten that is causing the hair loss.  What might be causing it in this case is changing your diet.  Sometimes, making major dietary changes can throw off your body and cause telogen effluvium, especially diets that are restrictive.  The reason is that when you diet, your body starts to think that it needs to store its reserves.  As a result, it will go into resting mode where your hair is concerned and this is when you will see the shedding.  Of course, you should ask your doctor about this, but my research indicates that unless you have celiac disease, gluten has less of a chance of being a contributing factor to the hair loss.

In my experience, you have to be really careful with changing your diet if you’re vulnerable to telogen effluvium.  However, assuming that you are dealing with telogen effluvium and don’t have inflammation, once your hair follicles reset, you should hopefully see some improvement.   If it helps, you can read more about about my own experience on my blog at http://stop-hair-loss-in-women.com/

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