Updated: Nov 26, 2020
I have noticed my hair falling out- handfuls in the shower, brushing my hair and to my great embarrassment in the meals I prepare 😳. My family just seem to accept it now. My ponytail is less full and I get a few more turns of my hair band in. This is Telogen Effluvium (T.E) It’s a common cause for temporary hair loss; the excessive shedding of “resting” hair after a shock:
Acute / chronic illness especially with fever
Childbirth/ stopping the Pill
85 % of our hair follicles are actively growing (anagen hair) and 15% resting (telogen hair) Anagen hair grows for ~ 4 years and then rests for 4 months. Then the new anagen hair grows and pushes out the resting telogen hair. We normally lose ~ 100 hairs a day. After our “shock” the resting hairs remain firmly attached and then at 2- 4 months they start to fall out. So that’s 100’s and 100’s of hairs suddenly falling out 😱 No wonder it’s a little bit scary.
TE tends to only affect 50% of the scalp hair and it is evenly distributed across the head. It can happen in any body hair. You may also notice ridges (Beau lines) on your nails. How to help the process:
Gentle handling of the hair - avoid over brushing/combing, and no scalp massages
A balanced diet
Correct thyroid, iron, Vitamin B12 and folic acid deficiencies.
The good news is that all these hairs falling out is a positive sign as it indicates hair regrowth! For most things settle at 6 -9 months but maybe it will a bit longer in Long Covid? I don’t know.
If your scalp is inflamed, you are losing larger areas of hair, or you are finding it distressing please see your doctor.