Chronic TE?

Telogen effluvium, alopecia areata, hair shaft disorders, etc.
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bella496
Posts: 2
Joined: Tue Dec 23, 2014 8:05 am

Chronic TE?

Post by bella496 »

Hello!

I'm an eighteen year old female and have been experiencing what both I and my dermatologist believe to be TE. About a year ago I got the flu and lost a little bit of weight. Pleased with the accidental result of my illness, I began eating considerably less in an attempt to lose another ten pounds. (I feel as though it's important to note that I was never overweight. I'm about 5'6.5 and was around 130 pounds before catching the flu.) Because I was limiting my caloric intake to 700-800 a day I continued to lose weight rapidly but once I hit my goal weight I continued starving myself, eager to get even thinner. I basically ended up losing 25 pounds in two months (along with my period). I was diagnosed with anorexia shortly after. Anyway, about three months after the crash dieting/bad eating habits began my hair starting falling out in massive clumps. It was horrifying. I've never actually counted the strands that I've lost but the hair loss was so staggering that I dreaded taking showers. Needless to say, it alarmed me and frightened at the prospect of going bald at 17, I started the process of recovery. Fast forward almost nine months later and I'm back to a healthy weight but my hair is still falling out. It's not nearly as bad as it was at the beginning but I'm still definitely losing more than is normal for me. I've lost about 2/3 of my hair density and while the thinning is diffuse it's most prominent on my temples and around my hairline.

I guess my question is whether this sounds like TE or something else? The trigger has been removed (I'm eating well though I admit there are bad days and have been a few relapses where I didn't eat enough for a couple of weeks on end) and I've regained my period but I'm still shedding a great deal. I thought that TE usually resolved itself in less than six months. Is it possible that this is a case of CTE or have my poor habits unmasked AGA? My dermatologist did a pull test, examined a few strands under a microscope and diagnosed me with TE but I'm worried that she was mistaken. My mother has very, very thin hair.

If you've made it this far thank you for taking the time to read this huge block of text.

Tom Hagerty
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Re: Chronic TE?

Post by Tom Hagerty »

I continued starving myself, eager to get even thinner.
One of the main causes of telogen effluvium (TE), especially among young women, is crash dieting. Caloric intake of 700 to 800 calories a day is definitely "crash." But the loss of hair can also cause emotional stress - a compounding trigger factor. But these trigger factors usually take several months to produce this diffuse loss of hair that you're concerned with. The optimistic thing about this telogen effluvium is that this condition is not permanent; the pessimistic thing about TE is that it can take many months to resolve itself. The estimates given by dermatologists, though, are almost meaningless - 6 to 72 months. In other words, the time frame is mostly speculation. (Don't worry about chronic TE or other low percentage hair disorders. Your hair loss will end and you'll get your hair back if you eat healthy food and regain your weight.)

You've probably read something about the hair cycle before. In a normal, healthy woman like you (before the crash diet) about 90 percent of the hair follicles are in the growing stage, anagen, of the hair cycle; about 10 percent of the hair follicles are in the resting stage, telogen, of the hair cycle. But with telogen effluvium that 10 percent can go way up. That's when you get alarmed and start looking for answers.

This may sound a little eccentric but now that you are done with your bout with anorexia, the best way to renourish you body is with real foods. Even though I take a few supplements (I can't resist the advertisements.) the best way to put the vitamins, minerals, and amino acids back into your body and hair follicles is with real food. Read my suggestions about some tasty real foods - the anti-inflammatory diet.

But back to the anorexia thing. Sometimes it's not so easy to say no to crash dieting. I know a actress who can't break loose from the anorexic pull. Will power and psychological insight in some cases are not enough. You wrote, "I continued starving myself, eager to get even thinner." These are exactly the words my actress friend said to me about her condition.
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bella496
Posts: 2
Joined: Tue Dec 23, 2014 8:05 am

Re: Chronic TE?

Post by bella496 »

Thank you so much for replying to me so quickly.

Yeah, the shedding does seem characteristic of TE (the white bulbs on the end, my eyebrows and eyelashes thinning as well, the timeframe) but on my quest for information about hair loss I came across some horror stories of people in similar situations who claimed to have developed AGA (something about TE unmasking AGA) and began to panic. Your reassurances have really eased my mind.

I read the articles you linked in your reply and will definitely start integrating more of those foods into my diet. Because while I've been eating more lately I haven't necessarily been eating well. I do take a multivitamin but I recognize that it's more about feeling proactive than anything else. Hopefully with a more balanced diet I'll start to see some progress sooner rather than later.

And I really relate to your quote about willpower and insight not being enough sometimes. Losing so much hair everyday is devastating and I'd do just about anything for it to stop falling out but sometimes I just fall back into my old patterns. I ate so little for such a substantial period of time that I feel as though I've forgotten what regular, healthy people eat and how much of it.

Anyway, thanks again for your speedy and informative reply. I really appreciate it.

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