It is common for people to experience increased shedding following illness. It’s likely to be temporary, which is the good news.

Your hair may have started falling out the first time you noticed it. This could be because your hair was getting caught in your hairbrush or the shower drain. Perhaps you noticed a change in your hairstyle and felt a sudden jolt.
This may not be an accident if you have had a good recovery from Covid-19. Research suggests that around 22 percent of people who received Covid-19 treatment experienced temporary hair loss. Although it is difficult to determine how common the condition is among people with milder forms, studies have shown that hair loss is one of more than 60 symptoms associated with long Covid. Some of these are more well-known such as loss of smell, cognitive impairment, and sexual dysfunction.

Doctors also report a rise in patients seeking treatment for this condition. Dr. Michele Green, a New York City dermatologist who specializes on hair loss, said that “I have never seen anything similar in my life.” “I see more male and female patients from all ages, all professions. It has been all over the board.”

Your scalp’s condition changes after an illness.

Telogen effluvium is a medical term for sudden and temporary hair loss. This happens when there is more hair loss than the 50-100 hairs that a person loses each day. Telogen effluvium can also be caused by Covid-19. Experts know that extreme medical conditions, such as blood loss, severe illness, or childbirth, and emotional events like the death of a loved one, can cause it. Researchers have discovered that those with a history or Covid-19 infection are four-fold more likely to experience hair loss than those without.
It is not clear exactly how these emotional and physical stressors cause telogen effluvium. According to Dr. Luis Garza of the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, the stress hormone cortisol is believed to play a part in telogen effluvium. However, there could also be other chemicals telling hair follicles that it’s time for shedding. Many people have experienced double trauma with Covid-19. They are now experiencing the mental stress of having to live through a pandemic and the physical stress of the disease.

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Normal times, your hair goes through three phases. The anagen phase is the growing phase. The transition phase or catagen phase is the transition phase. After that, the resting phase (also known as the Telogen phase) occurs. Once the strand has fallen out, the follicle continues the process. The cycle goes through different phases at different times. Only five to ten percent of your hair should ever be in the Telogen phase. Telogen is a different phase for hair from other parts of your body.
Dr. Garza stated that Telogen effluvium “short-circuits many hairs’ cycle.” This causes 30-50 percent of your hair to go into the shedding phase, and you will likely notice clumps disappearing two-three months after the offending event.
It is possible for hair loss to last up to six to nine months. This can seem like a long time. The shedding stops and new hair begins to grow.

Can you do anything other than wait?

It’s a good idea for you to consult a doctor if you notice sudden hair loss, or you are worried about how much volume you’re losing. Dr. Green stated that you will usually know if your hair is falling out long before anyone else can. You can effectively treat hair loss that is related to an underlying condition by intervening quickly.
Your medical history will be reviewed by a doctor. They may also order blood work. Most likely, a doctor will perform a hair-pull testing. This involves grabbing small sections of hair from different areas of your scalp and gently tugging. It is a sign of active hair loss if six or more strands are ripped out at once. Your doctor may order a biopsy in some cases to examine the hair follicles.
Telogen effluvium is diagnosed when your hair-pull test results are positive. If your scalp doesn’t show any signs of redness, scarring or other signs of hair loss, it is most likely that you have telogen effluvium. Because the condition is temporary, most health professionals recommend waiting for hair to recover on its own. “A lot of my job is to counsel people when it happens and play the role as a cheerleader for their progress, reassuring that things will get better,” Dr. Arash Manyaghimi, director, dermatology inpatient at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Boston.

A dermatologist may recommend that you jumpstart the regrowth process by applying minoxidil to the skin. This is a hair-growth drug. Dr. Mostaghimi warned that minoxidil can have a double-edged blade. Minoxidil can cause hair shedding, which is part of the process to restore your normal hair cycle. He said that minoxidil can cause hair loss if you stop taking it once you have achieved the desired fullness.

Dr. Garza suggests that managing stress can be a solution to telogen effluvium. He said, “One thing that I tell my patients about hair loss is that it might be beneficial to see a therapist because stress can cause hair loss. “Hair is an important part of our identity.”
Many dermatologists agree with Dr. Mostaghimi that hair loss products and shampoos are not the best way to go. Dr. Mostaghimi stated that people like to believe they have more control over their hair, skin and nails than they actually are. Supplements aren’t well-regulated or rigorously tested. Dr. Mostaghimi stated that most people get enough vitamins and minerals to support healthy hair growth through a varied diet. I discourage people from trying these products too often, as they can lead to spending excessively on them. The benefits may be minimal if at all.

Many people will experience some regrowth, even before the hair loss is complete. Dr. Green stated that treatment can be used to grow your hair back in as little as four to six months. If you wait, your hair will naturally grow back. It can take up to 12 months, especially if your hair is long or shorter than shoulder length. Hair grows very slowly, usually less that half an inch per month.
Some people might never feel their hair is back to normal. Doctors have said that telogen effluvium may sometimes cause permanent hair loss such as male- or female-pattern baldness. Dr. Green stated that telogen effluvium could also be a sign of a continuing health problem, such as a thyroid condition or an autoimmune disorder.

You should take care of your hair while it grows back. Avoid heat styling tools and hairstyles that create tension. This can lead to hair falling out. Be optimistic about the whole process. Dr. Mostaghimi stated that most of the patients who came to see me at the start of the pandemic were doing much better. Their hair is now healthy and they can express their feelings with their hair as they wish.



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