Is it normal to be shedding vast amounts of hair each day? I’m talking about 200-300 plus daily (that i can see and guess, so its probably more). I’m also noticing that I’m not just shedding from the top anymore but on the sides.
This question was posed by a hair loss sufferer on our hair restoration forum and answered by Dr. Michael Beehner of Saratoga Springs, NY who is one of our recommended hair restoration physicians. His professional answer is below.
You didn’t mention your age. As Bill had mentioned on our hair loss forum, it is normal to lose 50-100 hairs a day simply from the random rotation of the hairs on your head through the hair growth and resting cycles. So on any given day, you will have that many hairs falling out and that many hairs starting up growing out from the follicle again. The number you mention, assuming you’ve proved this by counting them – that’s a hard thing to “eyeball” – and you are losing that many, then one of two things is going on. Either you are really in an accelerated phase of male pattern baldness, or you have experienced a “telogen” reaction from one of many causes. These phases are very common and usually occur around a few weeks to a couple of months AFTER the incident or exposure that actually caused it, which makes it a little harder to figure out.
Common causes of telogen reactions are some of the following: a surgery (such as a hair transplant) or general anesthetic; a severe psychiatric event such as a death of a close one or a sudden divorce breakup; a crash diet of very low caloric total; various medications; a viral illness or pneumonia; and there are quite a few others. If this were the cause, then after the 3-4 month period of time passes after most of the hair loss, there should be a rebound of hair growth gradually back to what it was. It won’t happen quickly, because these hairs won’t grow faster than a half-inch a month.
If you are in the midst of this experience, there is a valuable diagnostic test that a physician does, which you could actually do yourself. Simply take two fingers (thumb and index finger) and pinch a wad of your hair (perhaps 100 strands or so) and simply pull on them. If more than five hairs come out, that may indicate a telogen reaction had occurred. Don’t worry, you won’t lose those hairs. They have already separated from the underlying follicles, which is what occurs in telogen.
Mike Beehner, M.D.