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Generalized hair loss in which numerous, scattered hair follicles suddenly stop growing.
Hair normally go through a growing phase and a resting phase. In this condition, for unknown reasons hair follicles change from the growing phase to the resting phase of the growth cycle.
Children with telogen effluvium rarely progress to significant baldness, and it is not contagious.

Sex or Age most Affected

Both sexes and all ages but most common in young females (age 8 through adolescence).

Signs & Symptons

  • Hair loss of 4 to 5 times the normal rate. Normal hair loss is approximately 400 hairs a day, mostly during washing or brushing.
  • No itching or pain.


  • Hormonal changes, such as those occurring during adolescence, following childbirth or after discontinuing use of oral contraceptives (it does occur in adults too).
  • Severe psychological stress–including that of serious illness, such as high fever, heart attack or stroke.

Risk Increases With



No specific preventive measures.

Diagnostic Measures

  • Observation of symptoms.
  • Medical history and physical exam by a doctor (severe, prolonged cases only).

Possible Complications

None expected

Probable Outcomes

Spontaneous recovery in 6 to 12 months.


General Measures

  • Continue to wash and brush your child’s hair as usual.
  • Confront and define areas of conflict in your family life or school. If you cannot resolve conflicts, ask for help from family, friends or competent counselors.
  • Aim for a balance of work, recreation, reflection and rest.
  • Concentrate on feeling positive. A good attitude towards yourself and others is a powerful asset.


Medicine usually is not necessary for this disorder.


No restrictions. Engage in a regular exercise program at least 3 times a week to reduce stress and maintain good overall fitness.


No special diet or supplements. Eat a normal, well-balanced diet to provide the nutrients necessary for healthy hair growth.