A couple of weeks ago, I started a hair loss series and we addressed telogen effluvium. If you missed it, you can find it here.
This week’s topic is about another hair loss event called anagen effluvium. Anagen effluvium is a more widespread type of hair loss that can cause the sufferer to lose all of their hair. It usually occurs more rapidly than does the hair loss associated with the telogen type as well.
The anagen stage of the hair growth cycle is the part that is commonly known as the growth phase. At any given time, most of the hair on the head is in the anagen phase. In telogen effluvium, the hair has time to enter into the resting phase before shedding. In anagen effluvium, however, the follicles go into a suspension where the hair rapidly falls out because the factors that cause it pack such a powerful punch.
The way you can identify the difference between telogen and anagen are by looking at the hair after it has fallen. In telogen effluvium, you’ll be able to see the little white keratin bulb at the root end of the strand. However, with anagen effluvium, the hair may have a narrowed or broken appearance.
In general, anagen effluvium happens when something attacks the hair follicles at the cellular level. Someone who has been ingesting a poisonous substance (ie. arsenic) may experience anagen effluvium and until they have a full medical work-up will not understand why they are losing their hair (especially if they don’t know that they’ve been ingesting a toxic substance).
Another common source of anagen effluvium is prescription medication that has the goal of attacking cells that replicate at an accelerated speed. Those who are have taken medications for cancer (including chemotherapy) may have experienced anagen effluvium in the weeks following the start of their treatment. The cells of the hair follicles growth quickly and therefore these drugs will also attack the hair follicle cells and cause what can be a very harrowing event for the sufferer.
Autoimmune diseases and infections have also been known to cause anagen effluvium.
Similar to telogen effluvium, once the offending agent is removed, the fair will most likely grow back. In anagen effluivum, the hair follicles, though suspended, are not destroyed so hair regrowth is possible. However, it has been reported that the hair that grows back may be different in texture or color and those changes may be irreversible.
If you suspect that anagen effluvium may be what you are currently experiencing, please seek out a good physician and address your concerns with them.
Next time, I’ll being to talk about alopecia.
Until then, you will know the truth and the truth will make you free.