Any way to know for sure if it is TE?

Telogen effluvium, alopecia areata, hair shaft disorders, etc.
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little
Posts: 1
Joined: Wed Jan 22, 2014 9:23 am

Any way to know for sure if it is TE?

Post by little »

This past June, I dropped down to 800-900 calories a day in an effort to lose weight. It worked-I lost 23 pounds in the first month, and then 27 more over the next three months. However, in mid-November, my hair started falling out in handfuls. It is thinning all over my head, and I have lost a good percentage of my hair. The hairs that are falling out have the little white bulbs on the ends that I read you would expect to see with TE. I don't have any scalp problems or symptoms other than the hair loss. I have been eating a high-protein, high-iron, healthy diet since November, but it's not really affecting the shedding.

The problem is, in the back of my mind I keep wondering "what if it is something else-something that I am making worse by ignoring it? What if I have something that could be treated, but all of my hair just FALLS OUT while I am waiting patiently for it to stop?"

So I guess my main question is...How do you know for sure if you are dealing with TE, or something more serious/permanent? Can a dermatologist give you a positive diagnosis? I have been to a GP, who charged me $213.00 to see me for 7 minutes. He never touched my hair, did any lab work, or offered any suggestions to what the problem might be. He offered me an antidepressant and told me to "google it." So I am a little leery or blowing another $200.00 at the dermatologist if there is no test to tell you for sure what you are dealing with!

And my second question is...does TE ever happen in "waves"? My shedding had tapered way off two weeks ago. I was so happy, thought that it was over, but now I am shedding again, worse that ever! Is that normal?

Tom Hagerty
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Joined: Mon Dec 06, 2010 9:21 am

Re: Any way to know for sure if it is TE?

Post by Tom Hagerty »

my hair started falling out in handfuls.
People with telogen effluvium have diffuse hair shedding and this shedding usually develops over several months. In most cases the hair follicles recover but this recovery is slow - many months, even a year.

Normally about 90 percent of hair follicles are in the growing (anagen) stage of the hair cycle; about 10 percent of the hair follicles are in the resting (telogen) stage. If there is a dramatic shift in these percentages, for example, 50 or 75 percent of the hair follicles are in the resting stage, then the diagnosis will almost certainly be telogen effluvium. Differential diagnosis may be difficult in the early stages of TE and the dermatologist might want to take of biopsy of your scalp - a costly option. You probably don't need this since your TE is not in an early stage.
I dropped down to 800-900 calories a day in an effort to lose weight.
A classic trigger factor for TE is crash dieting and quick weight loss. You lost 50 pounds in four months. This is probably the cause of what is almost certainly telogen effluvium. A diet of nutritious food will speed up your recovery from this diffuse loss of hair; it will definitely stabilize the hair loss before the recovery takes place.
does TE ever happen in "waves"?
There is such a thing as chronic telogen effluvium. This is a rare form of "wave" effluvium experienced mostly by women. Don't be too concerned about this though. Eat healthy food and try to reduce any psychological stress you may have. Your hair should come back as luxuriant as ever. But you have to be patient.

Carybear
Posts: 19
Joined: Thu Mar 20, 2014 9:08 am

Re: Any way to know for sure if it is TE?

Post by Carybear »

The "wave" type of TE is what I am experiencing. It's been three years since the first BIG she'd. Since then, the subsequent losses have not been nearly as bad, and the spots that were thin (crown especially) have full coverage.

Tom, what's going on here? Will this turn into AA? :(

Carybear
Posts: 19
Joined: Thu Mar 20, 2014 9:08 am

Re: Any way to know for sure if it is TE?

Post by Carybear »

Two years later I discovered the answer for myself… Let's just say Tom Hagerty doesn't know.

daveyreh
Posts: 104
Joined: Sat Sep 26, 2015 11:02 am

Re: Any way to know for sure if it is TE?

Post by daveyreh »

So what was it then Carybear?

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