Telogen Effluvium vs. Androgenetic Alopecia: Understanding the Differences

and Health Implications

When it comes to hair loss, there are different types of hair loss that can occur in both men and women. One of the most common types of hair loss is known as telogen effluvium and androgenetic alopecia. It is important to understand the differences between the two and the health implications associated with each of these conditions.

What is Telogen Effluvum?

Telogen effluvium, also simply known as TE, is a condition in which more hair follicles than normal enter the resting phase, or telogen phase of the hair growth cycle. In the normal cycle, hair follicles remain in the growing phase for several years before transitioning to the resting phase. During the resting phase, the old hair falls out and a new one begins to grow in its place. When too many hair follicles enter this resting phase at the same time, it can cause a sudden and dramatic increase in shedding of hair.

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Causative Factors for Telogen Effluvium

Telogen effluvium can be caused by physical or emotional shock, or by certain medications or medical conditions. These can all disrupt the normal hair growth cycle and cause hair to suddenly enter the resting phase. This type of hair shedding is usually not permanent and can resolve on its own within six to nine months.

What is Androgenetic Alopecia?

Androgenetic alopecia is a type of hair loss that is much more common, and it is seen more often in men than in women. It usually starts as a bald spot at the scalp’s crown and may spread out to include the sides and back of the head, as well as the temples. This type of hair loss arises due to sensitivity to a hormone known as dihydrotestosterone (DHT) and to an enzyme called 5-alpha reductase

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Causes for Androgenetic Alopecia

Androgenetic alopecia is most commonly caused by genetics, so if your father or other family members have experienced hair loss, you are more likely to experience it yourself. Other causes of androgenetic alopecia may include certain medications, such as anabolic steroids or those containing testosterone and other hormones.

Health Implications of Telogen Effluvium vs. Androgenetic Alopecia

Although both conditions have the same symptom of hair loss, they do have different health implications. In general, telogen effluvium is usually not associated with any long-term health consequences. However, over time, androgenetic alopecia can increase the risk of developing more serious health conditions due to the loss of hair and hormonal imbalance.

Treatment Options for Telogen Effluvium and Androgenetic Alopecia

Treatment for telogen effluvium will typically depend on the underlying cause. For example, if the cause is a medication, discontinuing the medication may help lessen or stop the hair loss.

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Androgenetic alopecia, on the other hand, is typically treated with medications or surgery. The most commonly used medications are minoxidil and finasteride, which can help slow down the rate at which hair is lost and help stimulate regrowth. Surgical treatment for this condition involves hair grafts or follicular unit transplantation.


Telogen effluvium and androgenetic alopecia are two common types of hair loss that can have different underlying causes and health implications. It is important to understand the differences between the two conditions and to talk to a doctor about the best treatment options available if you are experiencing hair loss. With the right treatment, it is possible to help slow down or stop the hair loss and possibly even to regrow some of the lost hair.