Effluvium refers to excessive hair loss that goes beyond normal levels. This condition can have various causes and occur in different forms, affecting both the scalp and other hairy areas of the body. Effluvium is essentially a symptom rather than a disease in its own right, and it can be classified into acute or chronic forms depending on the duration and severity of hair loss.

Types of Effluvium

  • Telogen effluvium : One of the most common forms of hair loss, in which a large number of hairs prematurely enter the resting phase ( telogen phase ) of the hair cycle and then fall out. Causes can include stress, hormonal changes, nutritional deficiencies or certain medications. This condition is often temporary and reversible.
  • Anagen effluvium : This is where hair falls out during the growth phase ( anagen phase ), often as a result of exposure to toxic substances such as those found in chemotherapy. This hair loss occurs quickly and can lead to significant hair thinning.
  • Chronic Telogen Effluvium : This form of hair loss is characterized by a prolonged period of hair loss lasting more than six months. It is particularly common in middle-aged women and is often more difficult to treat.


The causes of effluvium can be varied and include:

  • Physiological or emotional stress : Severe stressful events can lead to temporary hair loss.
  • Hormonal changes : Pregnancy, menopause, or thyroid disease can cause hair loss.
  • Medications and therapies : Certain medications, including chemotherapy drugs, can cause hair loss.
  • Nutritional Deficiencies : Deficiencies in important nutrients such as iron , protein, zinc , and certain vitamins can cause effluvium.
  • Diseases : Certain diseases and infections can cause hair loss as a symptom.

Diagnosis and treatment

Diagnosis of effluvium requires a thorough history and examination by a dermatologist or trichologist. Blood tests may be done to identify underlying causes such as hormonal imbalances or nutrient deficiencies.

Treatment depends on the underlying cause of the effluvium and may include:

  • Addressing the root cause : correcting nutritional deficiencies, adjusting or changing medications, treating illnesses.
  • Drug therapy : Use of topical treatments such as minoxidil or oral medications in certain cases.
  • Supportive care : A healthy diet and gentle hair care techniques can help improve the condition.

Effluvium is often reversible once the underlying cause is addressed. However, in some cases, particularly chronic forms, hair loss may persist and require a long-term management strategy.

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