About Hair Loss

Anagen Effluvium – Hair Restoration – Plano TX

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Overview

In a typical person, 80-90% of hair follicles are in an active growing (anagen) phase. Anagen effluvium describes a condition where hairs in the anagen phase stop growing suddenly and fall out. Hair loss occurs because the hair shafts are broken and not shed as seen in telogen effluvium. The result is widespread and noticeable hair loss. Anagen effluvium affects hair follicles in the scalp and also hair follicles throughout the body, such as the eyebrows and eyelashes. It is usually associated with cancer treatments, but other causes are possible. The amount of hair loss varies in each person, and the possibility for hair to return is often location and dose dependent. Plano, TX hair restoration surgeon, Dr. Joseph Yaker, offer patients with hair loss of this nature various nonsurgical options to restore their hair. Medications and other at-home remedies are usually effective to help the hair regrow.

Causes

Anagen effluvium is usually a side effect of cancer treatments such as chemotherapy and radiation, and can occur as early as a few days to a few weeks after beginning chemotherapy or radiation. Since the purpose of cancer treatments is to poison rapidly dividing cancer cells, your body’s other rapidly dividing cells, including hair follicles, are greatly affected. The result is the sudden shedding of hair. Although anagen effluvium due to chemotherapy is usually reversible, certain chemotherapy regimens can cause dose-dependent permanent hair loss. Radiation therapy affects hair only in the area where the radiation has been administered. Patients with hair loss may or may not be permanent and is dose and location dependent.  In cases where hair loss is reversible, anagen effluvium stops when treatment is finished, and hair will likely begin to grow again in about 1-3 months.

Anagen effluvium can also be caused by exposure to toxic chemicals such as arsenic, as well as exposure to certain medications, and some autoimmune diseases. In these cases, the condition will stop after the cause is found and treated. After anagen effluvium, some people may have a different texture or color of hair. This may be temporary or permanent. The diagnosis is usually made by taking a detailed medical history, and by examining the scalp and shed hair. 

Treatment

Anagen effluvium hair loss can dramatically alter a person’s appearance and affect their self-esteem. Wigs, hats, and scarves can be used to mask hair loss and counseling may be helpful. Scalp cooling with cold caps may help reduce hair loss during chemotherapy. It works by cooling the scalp causing the blood vessels to contract, which may limit the amount of the chemotherapeutic agent carried to the hair follicles. Scalp cooling doesn’t work with all chemotherapy drugs and certain factors must be taken into consideration when determining whether it will be successful. Applying Minoxidil (brand name: Rogaine®) to the scalp during chemotherapy treatment won’t stop the hair loss from occurring, but it will speed hair growth after treatment is complete. Patients who are told they will lose their hair during a medical treatment may seek the advice of a hair restoration surgeon, such as Dr. Yaker. He is able to guide them during the hair loss process and offer nonsurgical methods to keep the scalp clean and moisturized so that the health of the scalp can be maximized for future hair growth.