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/