Jan 16

Should I Cut My Hair Because I My Hair Is Falling Out With Severe Shedding And Telogen Effluvium TE?

By: Ava Alderman: I sometimes hear from people who are suffering from severe and rapid hair shedding. If you’ve never experienced this, you might not know just how problematic it can be. It’s as if the hair is raining down on you constantly and it seems as if you are constantly having to vacuum, clean up after the shedding, or go over things with a lint roller just to control the onslaught of hair. That’s why it’s common for people who are suffering from this to consider cutting their hair.

I heard from someone who said: “I have long hair but I believe that I’m going through a bout of telogen effluvium. The long hairs clog up my shower drain and get all wrapped up in the bar on my vacuum cleaner. Would it help things to cut my hair? Or would I end up regretting it?”

While I certainly can not see into the future, I myself have been in this situation a couple of times. In one instance, I cut my hair. And in the other, I kept it long and only trimmed it. So I believe that I have the perspective to share some questions that you might want to ask yourself, which I will do in the following article.

How Would Your Face Look With Short Hair?: This is a vital question that so many people do not ask. The truth is, I hear from many people who tell me that their hair ended up looking hideous while short and they were more unhappy with their short hair than they would have been with their long shedding hair. Some people have a face that looks very cute with short hair. I am not one of those people. To see how you might like with short hair, pull your hair back and take a long, hard look at yourself in the mirror.

Know That If You Cut Your Hair, You Won’t Be Able To Put It Up To Get Some Relief: I have to admit that when my hair shedding was at it’s worst, I would often just put it up (very loosely as to not pull more out,) so that it wouldn’t fall all over me and get every where. This was usually a huge relief. Know that when you have shorter hair, this isn’t always possible, (although the shorter hairs falling are not as problematic.)

Shorter Hair Makes It More Difficult To Camouflage Any Very Thin Areas: Here’s another thing to consider. You can usually comb over your long hair to cover or camouflage any very short or even balding areas. But if you cut your hair very short, you no longer have this luxury.

Some Advantages To Cutting Your Hair When It Is Shedding Badly: Despite what I’ve written above, there are some advantages to cutting your hair, which I will list now:

Shorter Hair Isn’t As Problematic When It’s Shedding: You’re not as likely to clog the drain or have problems with the vacuum when you are shedding shorter hairs. If I were to hold 100 short hairs and 100 long hairs in both of my hands and asked you which hand held more hair, you’d most likely assume that the hand with the longer hair had more hairs even if this wasn’t the case. It’s easier to sweep up and dispose of the shorter hair and they don’t look as bad on your clothes after they have fallen as longer hairs.

Shorter Hair Can Look Thicker And Less Stringy: If you find the right blunt cut, a shorter cut can make it look as if you have more hair than you really do. And, longer hair that is thinning can look unhealthy and stringy.

Sometimes, You Have A Reprieve From Shedding Immediately Following A Hair Cut: When my hair was shedding, I would always notice a reprieve after I got a hair color or cut. This would only last for a couple of days, but I would always look forward to it. I think that the reason for this was that the stylist would pull and manipulate my hair in a way that I didn’t. In other words, when I washed or styled my hair, I was extremely gentle. But the stylist was not. So hairs that were ready to come out (and likely would shed out very soon) were likely pulled out when I was sitting in the stylist’s chair. So the hairs that were set to fall out within the next several days already had.

It’s Easier To Blend In The Regrowth With Shorter Hair: When my hair was long, you could definitely see a bunch of baby hair coming in.  When your hair is short, this isn’t as noticeable.

The Bottom Line: At the end of the day, this is a decision that only you can make. I regretted cutting my hair because I had worked for years to grow it. Yes, I did get some relief from all those long shed hairs when my hair was shorter, but I had to give up a ponytail and frankly, I just much prefer the way that I look with longer hair. However, this is an individual decision. I don’t feel that there’s really a right or wrong answer.  The question really is what is right for you.

As I said, my relief from short hair was short lived.  I got more relief when I was able to actually address the cause of my hair loss rather than trying to manage the volume of spent hairs. I know that this might be a difficult time for you, but it will often get better in time and there is plenty that you can do to cope and make your hair look as nice as possible while you are going through this. If it helps, you can read my story on my blog at http://stop-hair-loss-in-women.com/

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Jan 03

How Long Does It Take To Recover From Hair Loss Due To Smoking?

By: Ava Alderman:  Experts have long cautioned us that smoking is extremely bad for our health.  It leads to all sorts of health issues – with cancer being the most serious.  Lately though, experts have begun to appeal to a smoker’s sense of vanity.  To that end, they have released various studies and promotions meant to educate the public about how smoking can affect the smoker’s appearance.  One way that smoking does that is that it prematurely ages a person.  This includes wrinkled, sagging, and thinning skin.  It also includes hair loss.  Frankly, hair loss can be as big a concern for a smoker as health-related diseases.  I’ve known more than one smoker who has cited hair loss as the stimulus that finally got them to quit smoking.  One big concern that they have is how long until they are going to see improvement in the appearance of their hair.

They might ask something like: “I look back and I still can’t believe that I started smoking.   This is one of my all-time greatest disappointments in myself.  I considered giving it up many times.  I even tried to give it, but it was incredibly hard.  And honestly, I used smoking as a stress reliever, so I am not sure that I really wanted to completely quit.  And then one day I looked in the mirror and things started to change.  I noticed that my hair was thinning.  I do not have genetic hair loss in my family, but honestly that is what my hair looked like – someone with hereditary hair loss.  Although I did notice more hair in the drain, I think that even the hair that was managing to stay on my head was just thinning and overall sickly looking. So I tried to take the easier route.  I cut back on my smoking, but I did not quit – not yet anyway.  And I started to take a lot of vitamins to make sure that I was nourishing my hair.  I saw no improvement even though I monitored my hair regularly.  It just got worse and worse and I started to feel pretty badly about myself.   So one day, I decided to quit.  And I am very proud to say that I have stuck with it this time.  But I’m wondering when I’m going to start to recover in terms of my hair?  Because every day, it just looks worse and worse.  I don’t regret quitting and I won’t smoke again no matter what.  But I would sure like to see my hair look semi-normal again.  How long am I looking at?”

That’s tough to predict, but you may at least have a better idea of a time line once you understand how smoking contributes to hair loss and also what it takes to get a healthy scalp in order to encourage healthy regrowth again.

Some Theories As To Why Smoking Causes Hair Loss:  Scientists aren’t completely sure as to why smoking contributes to hair loss, but there is no question that it does.  A 2007 study of Taiwanese smokers showed a direct correlation between smoking and hair loss / thinning.    Many believe that smoking contributes to a loss of blood flow and nourishment to the scalp.  Others believe that smoking negatively affects the follicles themselves.  Still others believe that smoking causes stress to the body and therefore causes an inflammatory response.  One more theory is that since smoking ages your body, then you’re basically getting the hair of your older self.

Whatever theory you subscribe to, there no question that stopping smoking will immediately remove that trigger, which is a good thing all the way around.  What isn’t as clear is when recovery is going to take place.  If the hair loss was caused by stress to the body or an inflammatory response, then I would think that this recovery would not take too long because both of these things are reversible once you are smoke-free.

However, if your follicles were negatively affected and were miniaturized or you are suffering from a lack of blood flow, those things can take a longer period of time to correct.  Follicles that have been negatively affected have usually become significantly smaller in diameter and therefore have trouble sufficiently nourishing the hair.  There are treatments meant to reverse follicle miniaturization and there are ways to encourage blood flow back to the scalp.

These things may not happen immediately.  But they should happen if you are proactive about them.  Never doubt that quitting smoking was the right thing to do.  It was.  Once your follicles are getting nourished again and are of normal diameter, hair regrowth comes at about a half inch per month.  So if you started out with long hair, then you have to be patient in order to replace everything that was lost.

I had a trigger that was not smoking, but it caused hair loss nonetheless.  And I still had to manage an inflammatory response and a bit of miniaturization.  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 07

How To Regrow The Lost Hair Due To Telogen Effluvium

By: Ava Alderman:  I often hear from folks who have spent weeks or even months shedding alarming amounts of hair.  Some suspect that they are in the home stretch because they notice that the shedding has gotten somewhat better. And others hope to see improvement very soon.

Regardless of where you are in the process, there may come a time when you look in the mirror, take stock, and have to admit that you have lost a good deal of hair and therefore, have also lost volume.  As a result, your hair and overall appearance may look a little different than before (although it is rarely as bad as we tend to think.)  And of course, you want to know what you can do to grow your hair back after telogen effluvium.  I have been there (twice.)  And so below I’ll offer some tips that helped me the second time around (which I wish I’d known the first time around.)

Understand That Your Hair (And Follicles) Might Not Be Damaged:  It’s very important to know if you have true TE or if you have something else.  If you have a very obvious trigger (like giving birth or having surgery,) this knowledge can be easy.  But sometimes, it’s not so obvious.  Some of us have to determine if we are having androgenetic or inflammatory driven hair loss.

If you aren’t and what you have is true telogen effluvium, your hair and scalp should not be damaged by this process.  Once the shed cycle resets itself and the hair loss is over, your body (and hair) should heal on its own.  I mention this because I know for myself, I panicked and started taking supplements that changed my hormones.  Plus I used harsh chemicals on my scalp that actually caused inflammation that caused more shedding.  (These two things just prolonged my shedding rather than helping it.) If you have true TE, you should not need to take anything that may affect your hormones and cause more shedding. Give your body a chance to heal on its own. If it doesn’t and you see signs of inflammation or androgen activity, then of course you want to act.  But if you do not, then you really want to avoid things that will be harmful instead of helpful. A multi-vitamin is sometimes warranted, but you don’t need to go overboard.

Eat Enough Calories And Get Enough Carbs: I don’t think that people realize that if you are not taking in enough calories, your body will sort of shut off your hair function because it isn’t necessary.  If you don’t give your body enough fuel, it really has no choice but to cut off the nonessentials.  I hear from so many people whose telogen effluvium is kicked off by dieting.  Your body needs not only enough fuel, but also enough carbs.  High protein diets very commonly cause hair loss – so do other diets that restrict, limit, or completely cut out certain categories of food.  When you are regrowing hair, you want to have a very varied and healthy diet.  Now is the time to not worry about your weight and to give your body what it needs.

Address Any Inflammation Or Miniaturization: The above description is what we all long for – a scalp that emerges from TE relatively unscathed.  But if the shedding goes on particularly long or is particularly aggressive, you may end up with inflammation or even regrowth that is miniaturized.  The inflammation can be handled with anti – inflammatory shampoos and other topicals that you probably already have in your kitchen.  Miniaturization can be knocked back by encouraging blood flow to the scalp while addressing the androgens.  I used a widely prescribed regrowth product and it turned my scalp beet red and caused more shedding.  I read that this would improve as my scalp got used to it, but in my case, it just got worse.  I think it caused additional inflammation, which is why I think that for some, gentle and natural ways work better – or are at least worth a try in the beginning.

It’s important not to panic and to have faith that your body is designed to heal itself.  Sometimes, you really have to do nothing other than to support a healthy body and scalp. Other times, you may have a little inflammation or miniaturization which needs to be addressed, but both things are treatable, especially if you notice them early on.  You’re welcome to read about how I moved on and healed from two very severe bouts of TE on my blog at http://stop-hair-loss-in-women.com/

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Nov 23

I’m Not Seeing Any Regrowth After My Telogen Effluvium. Why?

By Ava Alderman: I sometimes hear from people who are extremely discouraged that they aren’t seeing much hair regrowth after shedding has affected the appearance of their hair.

Common comments are things like: “I am pretty sure that I have telogen effluvium. I gave birth about six months ago and a couple of months after that, my hair started falling out. I have been shedding for about three months. My hair has gotten very thin as a result. I keep looking for regrowth but I am not seeing any. Does this mean that I don’t have telogen effluvium? Or that my hair isn’t going to grow back normally? When will I start seeing my hair growing back?”

Before I answer, I have to tell you that I am not a specialist or medical professional. The opinions that I’m going to share are based on my own experience with this type of hair loss. I have to say that what this woman was describing did sound like telogen effluvium, mostly because childbirth is a very common trigger. Also, when you are pregnant, the increased hormones give you a wonderful, thick head of hair where sometimes you end up with more hair than started with. As a result, post pregnancy telogen effluvium can be particularly bad with an awful lot of hair loss.

When a certain percentage of your hair goes into the shedding phase and you have started with more hair than usual, then your shedding can be a bit worse than what would typically be expected. But, with this type of hair loss, the follicles aren’t being affected by androgens so you should be able to regrow normal hair. And, once a strand of hair is shed out, it begins to grow back immediately. Many people assume that the regrowth is going to come all at once. Generally speaking, it doesn’t. It comes back at the rate that it fell out. So the hairs that shed out early on in the process are going to grow back first.

You should have stands of hair constantly coming in as they were constantly falling out. Now, the reason that you may not be seeing regrowth is that those hairs are thin and tiny. It takes the hair an entire month to grow a half inch. And hair that short in length and fine in diameter can be very hard to see coming in. You can help this process by doing a couple of things. Try pulling your regular strands straight back. Then see if there are any tiny, baby hairs sticking straight up. If your hair is dark colored, try spraying some dry shampoo or pouring some white powder in at your part line.  This will allow you to see those white small hairs coming through.

Also, you can lift up your bangs, pull them straight back, and then see if there is regrowth pushing forward. So what happens if you try all of those things and you are still coming up short? I would say to give it a bit of time. Perhaps your hair grows a little more slowly. If this doesn’t work, then you might want to consider that your follicles are being affected by inflammation or androgens. Or, perhaps you have another type of hair loss. But this scenario did sound like telogen effluvium and she wasn’t seeing any patterned or patchy loss, which was a good sign.

I will admit that I used a lot of dry shampoo to see my regrowth.  I began kind of obsessed about it for a while.  Try not to worry too much.  If you have light colored hair, it can be challenging to see the regrowth, especially at first.  If it helps, you can read about my gradual recovery on my blog at http://stop-hair-loss-in-women.com/.

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Nov 21

Can Stress Cause Hair Miniaturization?

By: Ava Alderman: I sometimes hear from people who are horrified to notice that not only has their hair been shedding, but it is now starting to become miniaturized and thin. If you have found this article, you probably already know that when hair miniaturizes, it becomes thin, fly away, and it may even be lighter-colored.  Because of these changes to the hair, places on your scalp that are growing miniaturized hair may present as thinning areas or as bald spots.

No one wants this, so naturally people begin to research the cause.  Because hopefully, if you can understand the cause, then you can take action to prevent or treat it.  One concern that people sometimes have is that of stress.  It’s normal to feel some psychological distress when you see these types of changes in your hair.  And you can start to wonder if this may be the cause of the miniaturization.

Someone might ask: “I honestly am not sure why I am seeing hair miniaturization.  I am a woman.  I don’t have any one in my family who is balding or thinning.  But there is no denying that certain areas are definitely thinning.  And when I isolate those hairs and look at them closely, they are pathetically sickly-looking.  They are clearly miniaturized.  I have no idea what could be causing this. The only thing that I can identify is severe stress.  I’ve been having a difficult time at work and it is relentless.  So I stress out about that, but I also stress out about my hair.  It’s so hard to watch it fall out and transform into old-man hair and yet I don’t feel that I have any control. I am a still young. Could the stress be causing the miniaturization?”

The Most Common Causes Of Hair Miniaturization: I’m not a doctor, but from my own experience, I can tell you that many doctors believe that what causes hair miniaturization is androgenetic alopecia.  And what causes that condition are things like genetics, aging, and a sensitivity to DHT (dihydrotestosterone.)  Since it appears that you don’t have genetics or aging as issues, you may have a sensitivity to DHT.  And yes, women produce this hormone.

Since I mentioned DHT, I have also found in some of my research that stress can cause a rise in cortisol.  And a rise in cortisol can also contribute to a rise in DHT.  Again, I am not a doctor.  But it would make sense that a rise in DHT would increase the sensitivity and potentially give way to androgenetic alopecia or the symptoms associated with it.  I am just a lay person, but this makes sense to me.

So that is one way that stress might affect your hair loss.  Another way is that severe stress is thought the contribute to telogen effluvium.  I am not sure if you’re been shedding a very large number of hairs.  But if so, that could be one indication of telogen effluvium.  And prolonged shedding because of telogen effluvium can sometimes cause miniaturization.

So in my non-professional opinion, yes, there are cases where stress can contribute to a rise in DHT or it can be a contributing factor to telogen effluvium, which in some severe cases can lead to miniaturization.

Regardless, it makes sense to get serious about reducing your stress.  It’s not good for your health, your well being, or your hair.  Of course, most of us have no control over what happens in our jobs.  But what we can do is learn to manage your stress.  We can learn to decompress.  We can try meditation, yoga, mindfulness, and all of those other things that give us some relief.  We can tell ourselves that at the end of the day, very few things will matter five years from now.  If something won’t truly impact your life greatly in five years, it is best just to let it go.

I know how stressful losing your hair is.  This turned my life upside down for a while.  So I totally sympathize.  But allowing myself to get upset did me no good. I sometimes had to force myself to focus my attention elsewhere.  Once my hair loss stabilized, I could look back and see that all that time I spent being upset really didn’t serve any purpose but to make things worse.  Looking back, I have come to believe that you want to control what you can.  You want to pursue treatments and research causes.  You certainly want to educate yourself.  But you don’t want to place your sole focus on something that may well resolve.  You don’t’want to let it take over your life.  You can read more about learning to deal with this on my blog at http://stop-hair-loss-in-women.com/

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Nov 17

Does Hair Miniaturization Always Lead To Eventual Baldness?

By: Ava Alderman: I often hear from people with hair loss conditions like androgenic alopecia and telogen effluvium who can’t help but notice that their hair is getting thinner and thinner over a period of time.  Sometimes, they also notice that the hair that is growing in is much more thin and fine than the hair that it was replacing.

This process is called hair miniaturization and it happens because the hair follicle is being attacked by androgens which makes it more difficult for that follicle to support normal hair growth and to regrow normal hair.  So with each cycle of shedding and regrowth within that follicle, the hair that grows back becomes more and more thin each time and offers less and less coverage.  The fear of course is that eventually the hair won’t come back at all and that baldness will occur.

I heard from someone who said: “my hair has started miniaturizing.  I tried to deny it for a long time but at this point, it’s obvious.  My hair loss started after I went off of contraceptives.  I was trying to become pregnant.  This kicked off what I think was a bout of telogen effluvium.  But honestly, it never really stopped. The drastic shedding eventually slowed after some months, but my hair has never really been the same.  It never retained it’s previous volume.  It is much more thin in texture and it is limp and lifeless.  It is also a lighter color.  I think what happened is that my telogen effluvium eventually gave way to androgenetic alopecia which is why my hair is thinning so badly now.  My question is whether this is going to lead to total baldness? Should I be shopping for a topper or wig now?” I will try to address these concerns in the following article.

You Can Treat And Try To Negate The Miniaturization: People often assume that there is nothing that they can do to treat androgen driven hair loss.  That assumption isn’t always true.  The idea is to lessen the androgens and to minimize the sensitivity of the follicle.  There are various ways to go about this but the most common treatments are prescribed medications and over the counter supplements and topicals that are applied to the scalp.

Some people will try a few things, not have much success, and then assume that nothing is going to work.  Sometimes, you have to methodically try a couple of different things until you find something that really helps.  With that said, you want to make sure that you are giving the treatment enough time to work.

Typically Only Certain Areas Of Your Scalp Is Going To Show Miniaturization (Especially If You Are Female:)  People often assume that androgenic alopecia will eventually mean total baldness.  This isn’t necessarily the case.  Many people typically thin in certain high androgen areas like the part line, the crown, and the temples.  Some will have more diffuse or all over thinning but this rarely leads to total baldness, particularly in women.  Granted, many men today will shave their heads when they start to thin, but this is often a choice rather than a necessity.

Sometimes, What You Assume Is Androgenic Alopecia Is Something Else: There are times when chronic telogen effluvium can cause miniaturization.  However, when you find and eliminate the trigger, sometimes the shedding, and then the miniaturization, will stop.  Admittedly, it’s estimated that well over ninety percent of all hair loss in androgen driven, but there are occasions when telogen effluvium has the appearance of something else.

I’m certainly not a doctor or specialist, but I can tell you that going off of birth control pills will often bring about both telogen effluvium and an androgenic response.  Your body sees this as almost similar to giving birth (which can cause shedding.)  And, constraceptives often lessen androgens.  So when you stop them, you might find that you have a sensitivity to the sudden increase.

But to answer the question posed, miniaturization certainly does not always lead to baldness.  There are treatments that can work and often, your entire head isn’t affected.

I know much of this from what I went through.  For a long time, I didn’t know if I had chronic telogen effluvium or androgenic alopecia. I looked at my shedding triggers, my iron, my thyroid, my adrenals, my hormones, and my scalp’s health. It was a long, hard, frustrating journey but thankfully I didn’t give up. You can read that story on my blog at http://stop-hair-loss-in-women.com/

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Nov 02

Does Every Hair Need To Shed Out Before New Hair Grows With Telogen Effluvium?

By: Ava Alderman:  If you are suffering through a bout of telogen effluvium, I can say with a reasonable degree of confidence that you are probably thinking about (if not obsessing over) your regrowth.  It’s easy to see why.  Everyone wants to focus on the light at the end of the tunnel rather than on the potentially difficult road ahead of you.

When I was suffering with chronic telogen effluvium (CTE,) the biggest question I had was how much longer the whole process was going to take.  Because at least if you know that you have the regrowth to look forward to, then in theory, the shedding becomes somewhat more tolerable.  I used to try to train myself to see spent hairs as the stimulus to regrowth.  It’s true, if you think about it. Because it’s the regrowth hair that is pushing out the old hair.  So as painful as it is to see that hair on the floor or in your brush, (assuming you don’t have miniaturization or some other inflammatory process,) there is theoretically a healthy hair on its way.

Even with knowing this, it’s very hard not to be impatient about regrowth.  Some people think that you have to lose most of the hair on your hair before regrowth can actually happen. For example, someone might ask: “my doctor said that the shedding with TE is making way for a new cycle of hair regrowth to start.  I kind of understand that, but I’m afraid that he means that ALL of my hairs need to fall out before regrowth can truly begin.  If this is the case, I don’t know where I am in the process.  I mean, I’ve lost a lot of hair, to be sure.  But I’m certain that I haven’t lost all of it – or even close to it.  Is my assumption true? Does everything have to come out before regrowth starts?  I get that I won’t go bald because hair is regrowing all of the time, but I hate to even think that I’m early in this process.”

I’m certainly not a doctor, but nothing says that all of your hair comes out with TE before regrowth starts.  It’s true that more hair than normal goes into the shedding phase all at once with TE, but not ALL of it does.  And it is certainly not all of it all at once.  I’ve had more than a few bouts of TE and in all cases, I don’t think that anywhere near all of my hair fell out, even gradually.  Sure, it did feel like it at times.  But think about it.  The average person’s head has 100,000 – 150,000 follicles.  When I was at the height of my shedding, I was shedding an average of around 200 hairs per day.  At that rate, I would have had to shed for about 600 days for all of the hair to be shed out.  Luckily, I did not shed for anywhere NEAR this long or this dramatically.

So no, the hair doesn’t have to all come out for regrowth to start.  In fact, it’s very likely that it won’t even come close to that.  Not only that, but the hair that you are seeing coming out (although it’s a larger fraction than usual) comes out gradually and over a period of time – just like it does normally when your hair isn’t shedding.

You lose some hair every day even in normal times because the hairs are all growing, resting, and shedding at different times.  The hairs on your head are all different ages and in different parts of their life cycle.  This doesn’t completely change in TE.  What does change is that more of them go into shedding mode in order to store the body’s reserves.  But “more” doesn’t mean “all.”  Your hair starts to regrow as soon as the follicle that housed it sheds the original hair.  You don’t have to wait to meet any quota before regrowth starts.  Now, some people lose a bigger percentage than others, but here’s no quota.  I hope this makes you feel a little better. If he helps, you can read my story of getting over hair loss on my blog at http://stop-hair-loss-in-women.com/

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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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