My wife has been experiencing telogen effluvium since Nov. of 2007. In Dec. 2007 a hair pull test by a dermatologist revealed that over 50% of her hairs were in the resting or telogen phase. A second hair pull in March 2008 revealed that a 75% of her hair was in the resting phase, and a third hair pull test today revealed that 75% of of her hair was still in the resting phase. At first the dermatologist believed that a switch in birth control pills by my wife’s PCP was the cause of the TE, but now, since she switched back to her original birth control pill and has not taken and other medication since January 2008, he is at a loss to explain what is causing her TE. My wife is extremely worried because a friend of her’s told her that if a hair remained in the resting or telogen phase for more than a year that hair would be dead and could never be “woken-up.” Is this true? Can long-term TE lead to permanent hair loss instead of just constant shedding even if the hair loss is from all over the head and not localized?
Evaluation of female hair loss can be quite extensive. If your wife is experiencing chronic telogen effluvium (TE), she should be treated probably with minoxidil, but as I am not her doctor, I would suggest following her doctor’s advice, as it sounds like he is knowledgeable on the subject. Sometimes, the TE just does not go away and thus is why it is called ‘chronic’.