Coping With Telogen Effluvium   

The idea of being under so much stress and pressure that you literally can “pull all your hair out” is closer to reality than you might think.


The distress of a sudden trauma can cause this problem as well. Even something like general anaesthesia can in some cases trigger it off.


Although anecdotally the trauma of a difficult relationship break up is among the most common reasons of sudden hair loss in women.  


This sudden hair loss due to a trauma is a condition called Telogen Effluvium and according to wikipedia ( it is “characterized by sudden, diffuse hair loss caused by an interruption in the normal hair growth cycle.


This interruption is often the result of trauma, such as chemotherapy, childbirth, puberty, major surgery, severe stress, and severe chronic illness. This trauma causes large numbers of hair follicles to enter a stage of telogen, or rest, simultaneously.


After roughly 3 months of the telogen cycle the follicles will enter the anagen cycle, a stage of growth. The old hair will be forced out of the follicle by a new hair that is formed beneath it.


This will cause a period of diffuse hair shedding. This condition is usually self correcting and can affect people of all ages. 


Some times though this can trigger alopecia. This condition can manifest itself in many different variations, but what it means for you is that your hair will take longer to grow back.  


There is clearly no argument about the following point, and that is that to have this happen on top of the initial trauma is understandably stressful, embarrassing and without a proper education of what the condition is like, carries a high risk of creating depression. Women can be prone to take this really badly but there is hope.  


First of all they have survived the trauma. Second of all the condition is temporary and the hair WILL grow back.

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One strategy that a number of celebrity sufferers in the United Kingdom adopted was to throw themselves into charity work and other tasks that helped others that were less fortunate than themselves.


One example is the late Mo Mowlam who helped negotiate the Northern Ireland Good Friday agreement, effectively ending the IRA war with the British, lost all her hair because of chemo therapy she received for her cancer.   

It is reported that she used her wig to great effect whenever they got stuck in a particularly difficult part of the negotiations when she would repeatedly lift it to have a scratch, and at one point throw it across the table as “they might as well have that too since they are so set on having everything”.  

The details may not be exactly true, it’s hard to know, but the spirit is certainly a good one to emulate.


A positive self image can be difficult to maintain, but if you have confidence in your self and your personality then you will be fine as people generally like you for who you are and not for your hair.


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