There are numerous reasons why you might lose your hair, stress being a common cause. One study shows that more than 20% of people hospitalized with COVID-19 lose hair 3 to 6 months after their recovery. Another study shows hair loss after COVID 19 is more common in people with milder symptoms.
Telogen effluvium is the clinical term for hair loss after a stressful event.
Having a baby, major surgery, and/or major illness are some examples of other stressful events. The cases of telogen effluvium have grown over 400% since the beginning of the COVID 19 pandemic.
What are the stages of hair growth?
There are 4 stages of hair growth. They are anagen, catagen, telogen, and exogen. Some experts have divided the telogen phase into 2 stages: telogen and exogen. Each phase varies in length of time.
1. Anagen: Growing Phase
Hair growth begins with the anagen phase. It’s the longest phase, lasting about 3 to 5 years and some have lasted up to 7 years. During this phase, hair follicles are continuously pushing out hair until the hair reaches the end of its life cycle and falls out. Normally, about 90% of the hair follicles are in the anagen phase.
2. Catagen: Transition Phase
Once the anagen phase ends, the catagen phase begins and can last 10 days or so. During this phase, hair follicles shrink and hair growth slows. The hair becomes detached from the bottom of the hair follicle, yet still stays in place during the final days of growing. Normally, about 1% of the hair follicles are in the catagen phase.
3. Telogen: Resting Phase
During the telogen phase, hair doesn’t grow and it doesn’t fall out either. New hairs also start forming in the hair follicles that released hairs during the catagen phase.
4. Exogen: Shedding Phase
Essentially, the exogen phase is an extension of the telogen phase and lasts about 2 to 5 months. During this phase, hair is shedding from the scalp which is helped along with brushing and shampooing your hair. It is normal to lose 50 to 100 hairs per day.
What are signs of telogen effluvium
It is normal to lose up to 100 hairs a day. With telogen effluvium, there is an acceleration of hair from the anagen to the telogen phase and then into the exogen phase. You may see a loss of up to 300 hairs a day and this could continue for several months. You may notice an increase in hair fall when brushing your hair, shampooing, and more hairs on your pillowcase.
When does hair loss after COVID typically begin?
You could see a significant amount of hair loss after covid about 2 to 3 months after recovery from COVID, or other stressful events. With extreme stress and fever, any illness can cause on your body, your hair quits cycling and the hair that is caught in the telogen phase will end up releasing from your scalp.
How you can prevent stress-related hair loss
It is important to have good nutrition, manage your stress levels, and take great care of your hair.
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