Severely restricting your calories may cause telogen effluvium hair loss — but fortunately the problem is reversible. The resting phase of your hair growth cycle technically is called the telogen phase, while effluvium is a word that expresses shedding. Correcting your diet can help correct your hair loss problems, if a nutritional deficiency is to blame.
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Telogen effluvium is hair loss that is because of a change in your normal hair cycle. Extreme diets, nutritional deficiencies and sudden or excessive weight loss can all trigger telogen effluvium, notes MayoClinic.com. Crash diets with insufficient amounts of protein included make you especially vulnerable to telogen effluvium, according to the American Osteopathic College of Dermatology. Other emotional or physical stresses can cause telogen effluvium as well. A high fever or period of emotional distress can lead to this condition.
When you have telogen effluvium, an unusually high number of your hairs go into the resting phase of the hair growth cycle. This leads to more hair coming out in your brush or even clumps of hair in the drain when you shower, according to KidsHealth. Losing about 100 hairs per day is normal, however, so don’t worry too much if you are shedding hair at that rate, notes the American Osteopathic College of Dermatology.
People who have eating disorders such as anorexia nervosa commonly experience telogen effluvium, according to “Medical Management of Eating Disorders,” by C. Laird Birmingham and Janet Treasure. This side effect of the disorder does not continue when a person’s weight stabilizes.
Hair loss because of nutrient deficiency is likely to show up two to four months after the deficiency takes place, note Birmingham and Treasure. You are most likely to notice it on your scalp, but may experience hair loss on other parts of your body as well.
If you’re experiencing telogen effluvium because of nutrient deficiency, don’t worry. Your hair will grow back when you begin taking adequate calories and protein in again, say Victor Herbert and Genell J. Subak-Sharpe, authors of “Total Nutrition.” Be patient, however, because it can take about six months for your hair to get back to normal.