I’ve spent a good 3-4 months online reading everyone’s horror story only for them to disappear and never return. I promised myself that if I ever get through this that I would come back to tell my story.
My Telogen Effluvium started from ending minoxidil
I know how this sounds. People start the minoxidil treatment to get better hair density. For the folks that it works for, they seem to report good results after a good 6 months of use. For me, I quit within the first month so I just got the shock to the body.
TE or Telogen Effluvium can be triggered by any shock to your body.
Shocking events that trigger Telogen effluvium include
- Severe physical stress (illness, fever)
- Severe psychological stress (depression, anxiety)
- Severe weight loss
- Change in diet
- Abrupt hormonal changes, including those associated with childbirth and menopause
- Vitamin deficiency
- Iron deficiency
- Hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism
Mine, I believe was a combination of things, but it was mainly a medication I used on my body that caused all sorts of changes.
A vasodilator medication that I used for a month which caused irregular heart beats which led to hormonal imbalance and anxiety. I’ve lost a good 10% of my body weight from no change in my diet at the time.
My Telogen Effluvium Timeline
To avoid having to do any math, I’ll avoid mentioning the months.
1 Month of Minoxidil Usage
I was on Minoxidil / vasodilator medication for a month. I was having severe side effects and I decided to stop the medication after 5 weeks. I’ve had side effects since day 1, but I just brushed it off thinking I’m just feeling a little off. As time went on, the side effects were getting scary
- Heart palpitation
- Anxiety / Depression – first time in my life
- Fast heart rate. Easily 80-100 even when I’m resting in bed
- Lack of Appetite – I couldn’t eat. It was a challenge to eat
- Hair loss – expected in the first month or two
Minoxidil made me go from a guy that was excited about being able to push more weight at the gym to someone that laid in bed all day.
2nd month – I quit, recovering back to normal
I went off the medication and worked hard to eat normally, sleep normally and after 3 weeks, I’ve started to recover.
- Heart rate down to around 70-75 while resting
- Was able to sleep for 6 hours straight
- Mentally started to feel a little positive and excited about doing some activity for the day.
Here are some changes I’ve made
- I focused very hard on eating healthy
- Iron / Magnesium / Multivitamins / Protein / Biotin
- I tried to eat a lot of vegetables, fruits, chicken breast, and a daily hardboiled egg
The massive hair loss I had while on medication was starting to grow back. I was experiencing light itching all over my scalp along with a few bumps here and there. This wasn’t the inflammation type of itch, but just a tickle. I was able to see several new hair sprouts. The timing was about right for the hair to grow back from the initial hair loss caused by the medication or it could be the benefits I was supposed to get from minoxidil.
- Light itching on the scalp from regrowth
- Red bumps here and there from ingrown hair
- Was visually able to see new fuzz of hair along hairline.
- Emotionally stable. Not having random crying spells.
- Heart rate has really recovered where it was down to 40-60 while in bed.
I’m still shedding more than usual during this period, but not an alarming amount.
4th Month – TELOGEN EFFLUVIUM BEGINS
All those stories I’ve read online about people experiencing 300-400 hair coming out. All those times I’ve worried if I had TE. Well let me tell you, when you actually have TE, you won’t be asking if you have TE. Hair is EVERYWHERE.
- Scalp started to experience unbearable itching on the back of my scalp.
- Easily dozen hairs on the pillow every morning
- Hair all around the pillow, hair all over the desk
- Each time I comb, I can see 5-6 hairs come out. This means each brush takes out 5-6. Scary!
- Towel drying hair easily shows 10-12 hairs
- Shower was a nightmare, each time I ran my hand through my head, I can see at least 10 hairs
- I don’t even know how, but hair is on the shower walls, and even on my shampoo bottles and soap.
- Hair is EVERYWHERE. I reach for my drink, I see it, it’s on my keyboard.
- I’m falling apart….
I’ve read and heard that this can go on for 6 months. This is a statement from Google Search Result 0.
Oh great. I was easily losing 300+ hairs a day. I dreaded the everyday showers.
300 hairs a day. I had no one to talk to.
I didn’t want to see a dermatologist. – From reading online, every dermatologist seems to give a different opinion so what’s the point.
I learned what it means to be in denial.
To me, I knew I was in denial and just stopped looking at my hair loss and stopped looking at the mirror to make myself feel better.
It’s a nightmare….
I hated meeting people that I’ve known.
I can get away with going out because no one knows me, but I still avoided going out in the bright sun. I can wear a hat or a stylish beanie.
I personally think girls and guys both look stylish in beanies.
It’s only until it ends.
I started to use Nizoral shampoo every 3-4 days and the itching stopped almost immediately.
5th Month – TELOGEN EFFLUVIUM IS EVEN WORSE (2nd Month of TE)
It wasn’t the same. It was getting worse.
More hair everywhere, but my coping mechanism was getting better.
- I just pickup and throw away hair as I see it.
- I stopped looking at my hands in the shower
- I rinse off the walls and ground without looking
- I dimmed the lights around the house so I don’t have to see myself
I swear I was going bald.
When I did accidentally see myself, scalp visibility was at it’s worst.
I was starting to accept that this was it. This is the moment I turn into an old man.
I stopped interacting with people.
My dog was my only savior. She sees me as the same person.
6th Month – TELOGEN EFFLUVIUM slowing down? (3rd Month of TE)
I woke up. Few hair on the pillow. Hmm.
Brushed my hair, hit the brush against the sink. few hairs. hmm
Shower. still shedding but not as much as the peak. Maybe instead 10 hairs in my hand, I saw 2-3. Towel only has 1-2 hairs.
TE must be giving me a break today.
This pattern continued for a few days.
Some days higher, some days lower, but I can see it gradually dropping little by little
7th Month – Telogen Effluvium easing off (4th Month of TE)
Still slightly higher than I’d like it to be. Some days can be worse than others, but hair fall is slowly improving. Hair still feels thin.
- Now see 0-2 hairs on the pillow
- Each brush shows 0-2 hairs
- Shower shows 2-3 hairs in my hand after scrubbing shampoo
- Towel drying can show 3-5 hairs
Starting to look a little better, but still horrible
Hair fall can be more or less depending on the day, but definitely less than the peak.
- Brushing hair in the morning, I see 3-4 hairs fall out. Other times 0-2 hairs
- I still get hair in my hands every now and then running through it.
- Not sure how this can be the case, but hair that comes out feels/looks thicker than before.
- Hair looks very slightly more filled in, but in direct sunlight or harsh light, can see directly into scalp. Maybe because my hair is just growing out? I’m about 2-3inches. My hair, that is.
- Hurray! – Hair strands strangely feel relatively thicker, but this could be due to changing my shampoo / conditioner to the Nioxin System
Trying not to stress or think about it.
8th Month – Telogen Effluvium ups and downs (November – 5th Month of TE)
- Started to really count hair fall this month with a hair catcher in the shower and really started to sweep the floor to look carefully and it’s horrifying.
- About 20 hairs a day on the ground
- About 10-30 hairs caught in the shower drain
- Brushing in the morning takes 3-4 hairs. Other times 0-2 hairs
- Scalp visibility is at it’s worst. I’m hoping the hair lost during TE will grow out.
- I can somewhat make the thinning look better if I style a certain way, but it’s painful. Hair is dead and flat. Also staticky but it could be due to the dryness in the Fall air.
- One difference I’m seeing this month is that when my hair comes out, the white bulb on the end seems bigger and harder. Also the hairs coming out seem to be thicker than before. Not sure if this is a good or bad sign.
- Considering trying finasteride, but I should be patient. I told myself, if I can’t recover within 1 year. I have 6 months until the day I quit Minoxidil.
- Finasteride. It’s a choice I’ll be making sometime in my life. I need to decide whether I’m going to be bald or extend my youth by using finasteride and for how long.
- Started to incorporate daily scalp massage
- I didn’t notice any new regrowth, but I can see hairs that are only an inch along the hairline so regrowth has been happening
- Scalp seems to be filling in, but it could just be due to my hair being longer
9th Month – Hair fall is normal now
- Normal hair fall’s occurring, but it’s definitely stabilized.
- Hair isn’t quite the density I like, but it’s improving. Finally at a point where I’m not constantly thinking about it.
- I’m confident I’d be at pre-minoxidil state within a year from the day I started using the solution.
Telogen Effluvium My Experience in a Nutshell
- Medication caused TE exactly 3 months after I started Minoxidil
- Telogen Effluvium was in full throttle for 2 full months and slowly drifted off
- Telogen Effluvium kicked in slowly and ends slowly. Should last about 6 months but it’s different for everyone.
- Once TE is triggered, nothing can be done. You just have to let it run it’s course. Once, the body is shocked into making your hairs go into Telogen phase, that’s done. By the time your hair falls out, your trigger is probably is already fixed.
- During this stressful TE time, I worked hard to eat healthy, sleep well, and the hardest part was trying not to think about it.
- DO NOT READ FORUMS WHERE PEOPLE ARE PANICKING AND OTHERS ARE ADVISING THEM THAT THEY ARE GOING BALD. This will just add to your stress level.