POSTED: 9 Jul 2024

What You Need to Know About Effluvium Hair Loss & How to Stop Hair Shedding

Hair loss is a common issue affecting millions of men and women worldwide. It can affect any age group and manifest in a variety of ways. There are many types of hair loss and one of the most common is Effluvium or hair shedding. In this article, we explore the causes of Effluvium hair loss, how it manifests and the best treatment options for preventing and stopping it.

What is Effluvium Hair Loss ?

Hair loss effluvium is a condition that causes excessive shedding of hair. It is usually temporary and possible to reverse with the right care and treatment. Effluvium hair loss is primarily divided into two types:

  • Telogen Effluvium occurs when a large number of hair follicles prematurely enter the resting phase (telogen) of the hair cycle. This leads to increased hair shedding. This type of effluvium is usually temporary and can be triggered by various stressors or changes in the body. The shedding often becomes noticeable a few months after the triggering event and can last for several months.
  • Anagen Effluvium occurs during the growth phase (anagen) of the hair cycle. It often occurs in response to an insult to the hair follicles, such as chemotherapy. This leads to rapid and severe hair loss. Unlike Telogen Effluvium, Anagen Effluvium can result in the loss of hair not just on the scalp but also on other parts of the body. This includes eyebrows and eyelashes.

It’s important to understand the difference in causes and appearance between Telogen and Anagen effluvium hair loss. This helps in preventing and finding appropriate treatment for the effluvium hair loss.

Causes of Hair Loss Effluvium

There are a number of factors that can trigger hair loss effluvium. Identifying the root cause is the first step in effectively preventing and treating this condition. The most common causes of effluvium hair loss include:

  • Stress and Trauma (both physical and emotional) are a significant contributor to Telogen Effluvium. Things like major surgery, severe illness or significant life changes like a divorce or job loss can push hair follicles into the resting phase. This leads to hair shedding. Worse still, chronic stress can have a prolonged impact on hair health and potentially leading to persistent Telogen Effluvium.
  • Hormonal Changes are a common cause of Telogen Effluvium especially in women. The hormonal fluctuations in pregnancy, childbirth and menopause are common triggers for Telogen Effluvium. During pregnancy, the body produces higher levels of certain hormones that prolong the growth phase of hair. After childbirth, these hormone levels drop sharply which leads to increased shedding. Similarly, menopause brings about hormonal changes that can disrupt the hair growth cycle.
  • Medications and Treatments can trigger both types of hair loss effluvium. Chemotherapy is the most well-known cause of Anagen Effluvium, as it targets rapidly dividing cells, including those in hair follicles. Other medications that can cause Telogen Effluvium include beta-blockers, anticoagulants, retinoids and some antidepressants. Radiation therapy and other treatments for severe medical conditions can also impact hair growth.
  • Nutritional Deficiencies can also lead to hair shedding. Iron deficiency, for instance, is a common cause of Telogen Effluvium, particularly in women. Zinc deficiency and insufficient intake of vitamins such as vitamin D and B-complex vitamins can also affect hair health and cause loss.
  • Medical Conditions can disrupt the hair growth cycle resulting in hair loss effluvium. Thyroid disorders, such as hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism, can cause Telogen Effluvium. Autoimmune diseases, such as lupus and rheumatoid arthritis, and severe infections can also trigger hair loss. Chronic illnesses like diabetes and liver disease can affect hair growth.

Signs You Might Have Hair Loss Effluvium

It’s important to identifying the symptoms of hair loss effluvium as early diagnosis is key in preventing progression and effective treatment. The most commons signs and symptoms of effluvium hair loss depend on whether it is Telogen or Anagen.

Telogen Effluvium:

  • Diffuse thinning across the whole scalp instead of specific areas or patches.
  • Increased hair shedding which is particularly noticeable during washing, brushing or even when running your fingers through your hair. Clumps of hair in the shower drain or on your pillow are also a common sign.
  • No complete bald patches or spots unlike alopecia areata.

Anagen Effluvium:

  • Rapid hair loss often within days to weeks of the triggering event. This is more severe than the gradual shedding seen in Telogen Effluvium.
  • Loss of hair from the scalp and other parts of the body such as the eyebrows and eyelashes.
  • Hair breakage at the scalp resulting in short stubbly hair.


If you suspect you are experiencing hair loss effluvium, it’s vital to consult a healthcare professional for an accurate diagnosis. You should see a doctor if you notice sudden or severe hair shedding, especially if it is accompanied by other symptoms like fatigue, weight loss or changes in your skin or nails. Early intervention can help manage the condition more effectively. Your doctor may perform a variety of tests to diagnose hair loss effluvium such as:

  • Scalp examination to check for signs of inflammation, infection or other scalp conditions.
  • Blood tests to detect underlying conditions such as thyroid issues, nutritional deficiencies or hormonal imbalances.
  • Hair pull test involves the doctor gently pulling a small number of hairs (about 60) to see how many come out. Losing more than a few hairs may indicate Telogen Effluvium.
  • Trichoscopy is a non-invasive diagnostic tool that uses a dermatoscope to examine the scalp and hair. This can provide detailed images of the hair and scalp, aiding in diagnosis.
  • Scalp biopsy to remove a small section of the scalp and examine it under a microscope can help assess the hair follicles. This can help differentiate between different types of hair loss.

Most people will undergo examination and blood tests which can be done by any GP or family doctor. Trochoscopy is usually performed by a specialist and scalp biopsies are usually reserved if further data is needed for diagnosis.

Treatments for Hair Loss Effluvium

Treatment for hair loss effluvium focuses on addressing the underlying cause and promoting healthy hair growth. These can be split into medical & lifestyle measures:

Medical Treatments

  • Topical treatments which you apply directly to the scalp such as Minoxidil can help to stimulate hair growth. It is available over-the-counter in lower strengths as Regaine® and through prescription for higher strengths or when combined with other medicines like Tretinoin, Finasteride, Dutasteride or Spironolactone.
  • Oral medications like spironolactone, Finasteride or hormone replacement therapy may help in hormone related effluvium hair loss. For severe cases of Telogen Effluvium, oral minoxidil might be considered.
  • Treating underlying conditions such as thyroid disorders or nutritional deficiencies is obviously crucial to reversing and preventing further effluvium hair loss.

Lifestyle & Wellness Measures

  • Stress management techniques like yoga, meditation and regular exercise can help reduce stress levels. This is crucial for preventing Telogen Effluvium. Engaging in hobbies, spending time with loved ones and practising mindfulness can all contribute to lower stress levels.
  • Proper hair care by avoiding harsh hair treatments and opting for gentle hair care products is useful in preventing and managing effluvium hair loss. Using sulfate-free shampoos and conditioners, limiting the use of heat styling tools, and avoiding tight hairstyles can reduce damage to hair follicles.
  • Balanced diet with sufficient proteins, vitamins and minerals is key to hair health. Look for foods rich in iron (such as lean meats, spinach, and lentils), zinc (nuts, seeds, and whole grains) and vitamins (fruits, vegetables, and whole grains).
  • Supplements like biotin, iron, zinc and vitamin D can support hair health, especially if you have deficiencies. It is however important to consult with a healthcare provider before starting any new supplement to ensure it is appropriate for your specific needs.

Preventing Hair Loss Effluvium

Prevention is always better than cure. Here are some of the best tips for preventing hair loss effluvium:

  • Maintain Healthy Hair by avoiding excessive heat and chemicals and using gentle hair care products. Minimise the use of hair dryers, straighteners and chemical treatments such as dyes and perms. These can weaken hair and contribute to shedding. Also try to use mild shampoos and conditioners, and avoid tight hairstyles that can stress the hair follicles. In addition, regularly trimming your hair to remove split ends and using wide-toothed combs can also help maintain good hair health.
  • Limit High-Stress Periods by managing stress effectively and getting adequate sleep. Incorporate stress-reducing activities into your daily routine. Practices such as deep breathing exercises, progressive muscle relaxation and spending time in nature can help manage stress. Also ensure you get enough sleep to support overall health and well-being. This is because poor sleep can exacerbate stress and negatively impact hair health.
  • Routine check-ups by your healthcare provider can help detect and manage conditions that may contribute to hair loss before they set sit. Early detection and treatment of conditions like thyroid disorders, anaemia and hormonal imbalances are effective at preventing hair loss effluvium from developing.

Living with Hair Shedding

Whether your effluvium hair loss is temporary or long-lasting, living it this condition can be challenging. Regardless of which treatment options you opt for (if any), it’s important to look after yourself as a whole:

  • Protecting Your Mental Health is key to coping with hair loss. Talking to friends, family or support groups can provide emotional comfort. If hair loss is significantly affecting your mental health consider seeking professional help through counselling.
  • Hair Care can help in preventing shedding but also reduce the appearance of effluvium hair loss. Use products designed for thinning hair, such as volumising shampoos and conditioners. These products can make your hair appear fuller and healthier. Opt for hairstyles that don’t pull on your hair such as loose braids and soft updos to reduce stress on the hair follicles.
  • Stay positive and focus on the temporary nature of the condition and the potential for regrowth. Remember that hair loss effluvium is often reversible and with the right care, you can see improvement.
  • Self-care activities that make you feel good about yourself can also help. Pampering yourself with spa treatments, trying new hobbies and spending time with loved ones can boost your mood and self-esteem which can actually reduce hair loss due to stress.

Hair loss effluvium can be a distressing condition as it often results in rapid hair shedding. However, by understanding its causes, symptoms and treatment options can help in preventing and managing it. Remember, it’s really vital to seek medical advice if you suspect hair loss so you can get a proper diagnosis and treatment plan. Equally important is to appreciate that an holistic approach including medical and lifestyle measures is the best way to stop this type of hair shedding and get healthy full hair.

We believe that hair regrowth is an intensely personal journey. This is why we provide personalised hair loss and regrowth treatments through our virtual clinic. Our doctors create bespoke hair loss treatments using actives like MinoxidilSpironolactoneFinasterideDutasteride and Tretinoin. We also treat skin concerns like acnehyperpigmentationmelasma and signs of skin ageing. Book your virtual consultation and start your journey to great hair today.

Authored by:

Dr Amel Ibrahim
Aesthetic Doctor & Medical Director
Founder City Skin Clinic
Member of the Royal College of Surgeons of England
Associate Member of British Association of Body Sculpting GMC Registered - 7049611

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