II. Definition

  1. Non-scarring, non-inflammatory Alopecia involving altered hair cycle

III. Epidemiology

  1. No gender or age predominance

IV. Pathophysiology

  1. Altered growth cycle where Telogen phase predominates
    1. After inciting event, a large number of hairs enter Telogen phase (and are lost months later)
  2. Timing
    1. Onset sudden, 2-4 months after inciting event
    2. Resolves months after causative factor resolves

V. Symptoms

  1. Typically no systemic symptoms at time of Hair Loss (but history of trigger 2-4 months prior)
  2. Increased Hair Loss with brushing or showering
  3. Loss of 100-300 hairs per day
  4. Affects scalp, axillary and pubic hair

VI. Signs

  1. Uniform hair thinning
  2. Hair pluck test
    1. More than 4-6 hairs pulled
    2. Hairs in Telogen phase approach 50% (normally <15%)
    3. Consider work-up if >70% in Telogen phase

VII. Causes

  1. Endocrine disorders
    1. Hypothyroidism
    2. Hyperthyroidism
  2. Nutritional Disorders
    1. Severe Iron Deficiency Anemia
    2. Crash dieting or significant dietary limitations (Malnutrition)
    3. Zinc Deficiency
  3. Stressors
    1. Severe chronic illness (liver disease or renal disease)
    2. Significant acute infection (high fever)
    3. Postpartum effluvium
    4. Major surgery
    5. Serious psychological stressors
  4. Medications
    1. Heparin and other Anticoagulants
    2. Heavy Metals
    3. Etretinate (Tegison) and other Retinoids
    4. Anticonvulsants
    5. Antithyroid Drugs (e.g. Methimazole, PTU)
    6. Hormonal agents
    7. Oral Contraceptive discontinuation
    8. Alkylating Agents
    9. Lithium
    10. Antihypertensives
      1. Beta Blockers
      2. ACE Inhibitors

VIII. Differential diagnosis

  1. Early Androgenetic Alopecia
  2. Syphilis (consider if regrowth delayed)

IX. Associated Conditions

  1. Comorbid Androgenetic Alopecia is often present

X. Labs: Optional

XI. Management

  1. No treatment is needed in most cases (typically resolves spontaneously in 2-6 months)
  2. Treat underlying cause
  3. Eliminate suspected medication causes
  4. Consider labs as above
  5. Consider empiric 2 weeks of supplemental zinc if nuitritional deficiency suspected

XII. Course

  1. Typically self limited
    1. Resolves in 2 to 6 months spontaneously in most cases

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