Telogen Effluvium: Symptoms, Cause and Natural Treatment for Diffuse Thinning Hair

Telogen effluvium - What are the symptoms? What causes it? And who suffers from it?

This page answers those questions and then explains how to stop diffuse thinning hair using a natural treatment method.


Obviously you first need to find out exactly what type of hair loss you have. And your doctor should, of course, be able to help confirm this through:

  • Blood tests.
  • Examination of your scalp.
  • Consultation about your health in general.

But you can also get a pretty good idea of telogen effluvium symptoms from the photos below. First, notice how the hair has thinned out substantially, causing the scalp to show through. However, you can also see that there are no areas of complete baldness as is often the case with alopecia areata and androgenetic alopecia.

Telogen effluvium

Also notice how the hair loss is spread out evenly across the whole scalp. That’s a typical telogen effluvium symptom. In fact, that's why this type of hair loss is also known as diffuse thinning or diffuse hair loss.

Diffuse thinning is something my own techniques can successfully treat - see Question 12 in the FAQ page.


Telogen effluvium is caused by a disruption to the normal hair growth cycle. This repeating cycle includes anagen (the growing phase) and telogen (the shedding and resting phase). If you're in good health, up to 90% of your scalp hair will be in anagen at any one time. The other 10% is mostly in telogen. This hair then falls out and within a few months the whole natural cycle starts again.

So, if you have a full head of hair and no hair disorder, what this basically means is that you’ll lose about 100 hairs per day as part of your normal, natural hair growth cycle.

However, if you’ve got telogen effluvium, you could lose a lot more than 100 hairs per day. That’s because, far more than the usual 10% of your hair is being forced into telogen.

So the big question is…

What forces hair out of anagen and into telogen?

Many things can do this, including...

1. Nutrition – Some nutrients are essential if your natural hair growth cycle is to continue as normal. Only very small amounts might be needed, but if your body doesn’t receive a regular supply, the health of your hair can start to suffer. So if you often eat unhealthy food, and your nutrient supply is inadequate, then you could be asking for trouble.

A sticky iced bun

And drastic dieting can also cause problems - If you go on a crash diet, you could find yourself not just losing weight, you might start losing hair too. Learn more about how nutritional deficiency and crash diets can hinder hair growth.

2. Hormones - Sudden hormone disruption can cause several types of hair loss. So, clearly it’s very important to maintain balanced hormone levels. But, that's easier said than done. How do know when you’ve got a hormone imbalance? A few potential causes are quite obvious (such as pregnancy and the menopause) but many others aren't.

3. Illness – Clearly there’s never a good time to suffer hair loss. But, being ill can often take its toll on your hair as well as your body. And whilst the health of your body is obviously your main concern, the health of your hair can often have a huge psychological impact. And if you’re seriously ill, it’s important to have a positive mindset, not a negative one.

4. Medication - If you’re taking powerful drugs to combat a serious illness, you might find yourself suffering serious side effects too. Many conventional medicines work on a "magic bullet" principle – targeting a specific disease to produce an immediate effect. But there can be consequences, and your hair growth cycle can get thrown out of whack.

5. Injury – An injury can cause shock and stress. And when your body is stressed, your hair can be the first to show it.

6. Stress – There are many types of stress (physical, chemical, emotional, etc). And any of these can adversely affect hair growth. That’s because, during the stress response, your peripheral circulation (i.e., to your skin, hair follicles, etc.) can quickly get interrupted and blood flow diverted inside your body. So if you suffer chronic stress, you could develop chronic hair loss too.

Learn more about hair loss and stress?

Looking through the list above, it's easy to understand why women suffer this type of hair loss more than men. For example, women are far more likely to go on a crash diet than men. (And they're much more likely to get pregnant too!)

But, since the growth cycle of hair is the same for everyone, men can be affected by this condition as well.

From these many different causes, three types of telogen effluvium can develop…


1. Chronic telogen effluvium (CTE)

Iron tablets for CTE

CTE is very common in women. In fact, along with androgenetic alopecia (genetic hair loss), these two conditions account for almost all cases of female hair loss. CTE is caused by an iron deficiency, and can often develop through poor nutrition, heavy bleeding during periods, or both.

You can learn the best way to treat CTE on the next page.

2. Acute telogen effluvium

Two causes of sudden hair loss

If a serious event in your life takes place, any severe shock it causes could lead to a sudden increase in hair loss.

However, it might be difficult to pinpoint the actual reason for the hair loss because, as already mentioned, there can be a few months delay before shedding starts after hair has been forced out of anagen and into telogen.

With this disorder, as much as 70% of the scalp hair can be forced into telogen and then start to fall. That’s a lot of hair!

Note: This condition can easily be confused with alopecia areata because both can cause rapid hair loss.

3. Postpartum telogen effluvium

Heavily pregnant woman

Hair loss after pregnancy can be caused by a number of things, including hormone imbalance, thyroid conditions and immune system disorders.

Learn about three different types of postpartum hair loss, as well as what action you can take, by reading: Postpartum Hair Loss.

Telogen Effluvium Treatment - How Do You Stop It?

Once you know which type of telogen effluvium you have, you can then start trying to stop it. To begin with, follow the three-point plan below:

1. Deal with the underlying cause – whether it be stress, a nutritional deficiency, a recent pregnancy, etc., once you’ve identified the reason behind your hair loss, try to take appropriate action against the underlying cause.

2. Give it time - it can take quite some time to correct. This might vary from six months (CTE) to 18 months (postpartum telogen effluvium).

3. Start using hair loss products? If, after giving your body sufficient time to correct the problem on its own, your hair is still not growing properly, start thinking about using hair loss products, and bear in mind the following:

If things get worse

If you’re not seeing any real improvements by the time you should have, you could have some other type of hair loss as well.

This is quite possible. In which case, it might be very tricky to diagnose – you would definitely want to see your doctor for tests.

However, whatever the reason why your hair growth has not recovered (or, if you feel you need to do something immediately to encourage hair regrowth anyway) start simple and affordable. My own natural approach to hair loss has been very highly praised by many men and women, including those with different types of hair loss. For example, here's a testimonial from a lady who had telogen effluvium:

"Had a run in with telogen effluvium a few months back, it was fantastic... I really think you're on to something."

Yvonne Snell, USA

Find out how I developed my own natural hair regrowth techniques.

This is page 1 of 2.

Read final page?  Chronic Telogen Effluvium.

Note: Always consult with a doctor to identify which type of hair loss you have and how best to treat it.

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