Telogen Effluvium vs Male Pattern Baldness

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What is the difference between telogen effluvium and male pattern baldness? Both result in loss of hair but are two very different conditions.

If you suffer from hairloss then you may have heard of the terms Telogen Effluvium and Male Pattern Baldness (MPB). When it comes to hairloss in men, there can be some confusion and misdiagnosis over the two.

In this guide, we look at the difference between male pattern baldness and telogen effluvium as well as the causes and treatments available.

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What is Telogen Effluvium?

Occurring as a result of stress or trauma, Telogen Effluvium is sudden and temporary hair loss. It can happen to both men and women and can sometimes take many months after a shock event before it manifests itself as hair loss. This can make the occurrence alarming and can cause misdiagnosis.

hair loss telogen effluivum or male pattern baldness

Getting the right diagnosis is important to know how to treat your hair loss. Image via Flickr.

Who Does Telogen Effluvium Affect?

Whilst this condition can affect both men and women, it is women who it affects most. Usually a trauma such as childbirth is the key trigger to an event of this kind of hairloss. However, telogen effluvium can also occur as a result of dieting, severe emotional stress and ceasing birth control. Surgery can also be a significant enough event to provoke an attack of telogen effluivim.

What Happens with Telogen Effluivum?

When a person experiences an event of significant stress, shock or trauma it can cause hair follicles to prematurely enter, what is known as, the ‘resting’ (or telogen) phase. Those hairs affected will remain in this phase, ceasing to grow, and eventually fall out up to 3 months after the initial trigger event.

Does Telogen Effluvium Result in Permanent Hairloss?

Often, the patient has recovered from the event, the hair loss can be a surprise symptom of a forgotten cause. In the event that the stress is continuing then the hair loss will continue until the underlying cause has been resolved.

For most people, the hairloss experienced as a result of telogen effluvium is temporary. However, a condition (known as chronic, or diffuse, telogen effluvium) can cause longer periods of hairloss.

How can Telogen Effluvium be Treated?

For most people, once the cause of an event of telogen effluivium has been dealt with, the hair loss will eventually go away and the follicles will return to their normal state. Until such time as the hair regrows, patients exhibiting hairloss can opt to use hair fibers to disguise their hairloss. Many also opt to use natural regrowth supplements in an effort to boost healthy, and strong, regrowth of their hair.

When it comes to chronic cases of telogen effluvium, patients sometimes opt for surgical treatments. However, it is important to note that the best treatment for this condition is in combating and dealing with the underlying cause.

telogen effluivum baldness toupee

Telogen effluvium or male pattern baldness doesn’t mean reaching for a bad toupee. Image via Flickr.

What is Male Pattern Baldness?

Male pattern baldness is, unfortunately, a genetic predisposition to the thinning of hair and the cessation of some hair follicles to grow. In MPB, the hair follicles effectively go into a dormant phase. It is also known as androgenic alopecia and occurs as a result of too much dihydrotestosterone in the body. This hormone, a precursor of testosterone, causes hair follicles to stop producing hair. The sensitivity of each hair follicle to this hormone is predetermined by your genetics and the extent of hairloss is therefore both hereditary and a direct result of the DHT in your body.

male pattern baldness treatment

Don’t blame grandpa, there are things that can be done for that bald pate. Image via Flickr.

Who Does Male Pattern Baldness Affect?

Predominantly, men with a genetic predisposition to baldness will suffer from androgenic alopecia. However, some women can also be affected. Known as female pattern baldness, the mechanics of hormones are at play but are less understood than in male pattern baldness. Women suffering from this condition often find their hair follicles become less viable post-menopause.

The gene that is more active in male pattern baldness is said to pass from mother to child so, if you want to know if you are likely to be affected by baldness and hairloss then look to your maternal grandfather rather than your paternal grandfather.

What Happens with Male Pattern Baldness?

As the hair follicles on your head age, the cycle of regrowth is diminished by the DHT in your body. Eventually the cycle ceases to perform effectively and no new hair is produced in your hair follicles.

Is there a Treatment for Male Pattern Baldness?

Until recently, men who suffered from male pattern baldness had very few options to treat this genetic condition. They were left with the option of painful and expensive surgery with no guarantees of success or to simply use a wig. However, there are now several other alternatives to going bald, including:

  • Using hair fibers to enhance the density of existing hair.
  • Taking supplements like Propecia or Proscar to block the DHT in your system.
  • Exploring natural remedies to encourage hair regrowth.

Hair Loss Treatments

However your hairloss started, there are options to help alleviate and reverse the symptoms. You can find out more about how in our guide, ‘How to Regain your Hairline without a Transplant’.

Featured image via Flickr.


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