When people suffer from alopecia, they often wonder about the exact causes. However, not everyone…
Hair effluvium indicates a mass loss of hair from our head. It is the opposite of defluvium, another type of hair loss but with less significant consequences.
The onset of this phenomenon can occur at different stages of the hair life cycle, like in the anagen or telogen phase. In turn, the latter effluvium can be differentiated in chronic or acute.
Effluvium and the life cycle
The hair loss is a very common phenomenon with very different characteristics, by cause, quantity of hair lost and duration over time.
The term effluvium in trichology refers to a thinning of hair that occurs in particular conditions during the hair life cycle. The latter consists of three main phases:
- Anagen phase: occupies most of the life cycle of the hair, about 80%. In this phase the hair grows
- Catagen phase: lasts about 3-4 weeks and the hair stops growing.
- Telogen phase: lasts about 3 months and in this phase the hair detaches from the bulb before falling out.
Anagen phase effluvium
Also known as anagen effluvium, this type of condition appears when the hair is in the anagen growth phase. It is characterized by a fall of hundreds or even thousands of hairs during their natural growth phase..
There can be several causes that lead to this type of condition:
- Therapy antitumor, such as during chemotherapy.
- Drug therapy, in cases of arsenic, thallium, cytostatics.
- Radiation radiation, for example during radiotherapy.
- Aprotein-free diet, or with a reduced amount of protein.
Very often, anagen effluvium occurs together with alopecia areata, an autoimmune disease that leads to the hair loss in well-defined areas.
In cases where the underlying cause is eliminated, anagen effluvium ends to occur and hair grows back automatically.
Telogen phase effluvium
Also known as telogen effluvium, it can be distinguished into acute and chronic.
Acute telogen effluvium
It is characterized by a substantial loss of hair and for a very limited duration in time. Triggering events include physical or psychological trauma, surgery, poisoning and accidents.
Acute telogen effluvium hair loss usually takes about three months after the onset of the cause. Similar to anagen effluvium, acute telogen effluvium is self-limiting. In other words, hair grows back when the reasons that have caused it cease to exist.
Chronic telogen effluvium
This type of condition affects in a more persistent way, constant over time, and is more likely in women. In fact, in most of the cases of chronic telogen effluvium, the patient is a woman whose hair fell out without variation over time.
In these cases, it is necessary to conduct more in-depth analyses, like the trichogram or the wash test, to actually be sure of the pathology’s chronicity
Triggers can include endocrine disorders, depression, drug abuse or even the presence of infectious diseases chronic. Very frequent blood donations much over time and the presence of psychological diseases can also lead to this condition.