Understanding Hair Loss During Chemotherapy

hair loss from chemotherapy treatments

Chemotherapy drugs are used to attack rapidly growing cancer cells. These are very powerful drugs that not only attack the cancer cells in your body, but also other harmless fast growing cells, such as those in your hair follicles.

Hair loss from chemotherapy can occur all over your body, not just your scalp. Hairs from other parts of your body such as your eyelashes, eyebrows, armpits, pubic regions etc. can also fall off due to chemotherapy medications. Different doses of chemotherapy drugs can cause different levels of hair loss ranging from a mere thinning to complete baldness. Different drugs also have different levels of likeliness to cause hair loss. It would be wise if you consult your doctor about the medication you will be taking.

Fortunately, hair loss from chemotherapy is usually only a temporary side effect. You can expect to see your hair growing again in three to 10 months after your treatment ends. Do not worry if your hair have different shades or textures, they will soon get back to their original condition. It might even be curlier, or it could be gray in color until the cells in your scalp begin functioning again to control the pigments in your hair.

One to three weeks after you have started your treatment, you should expect your hair to fall off from your scalp and other hair-bearing regions. Sometimes hair may fall out quickly or gradually. You may be overwhelmed by the sight of loose hairs on your pillow, in your hairbrush or comb, or shower drain etc., but this is just a normal and temporary side-effect of cancer treatment. Sometimes, the scalp may even feel softer.

Your hair loss will follow you throughout your treatment. In some cases it follows up till a few weeks after the treatment has ended. The extent of your treatment will determine whether you experience hair thinning or whether you become completely bald.

It may take several weeks after treatment for your hair to recover and start growing normally again. Once your hair starts to grow, you may notice some subtle differences in the texture or color of your hair. However, this is usually temporary.

There is no treatment that guarantees your hair won’t fall out during or after chemotherapy treatment. The best thing for you to do is to plan ahead and focus on making yourself more comfortable with your new appearance.

One of the treatments which have been investigated as a possible way to prevent hair loss is scalp cooling, but it is important remember that no treatment has been absolutely effective in preventing hair loss. Scalp cooling is said to reduce the amount of drugs that reach the follicles in the scalp, which may reduce or even prevent hair from falling out. It is done by putting ice packs or similar treatment equipment on your scalp during chemotherapy sessions.

Before your chemotherapy begins it is wise to take at least 2-3 weeks to search for a suitable wig to combat your hair loss. It is also advisable to purchase head wraps and turbans to wear in between treatments for wear at your leisure. If you know someone who is going through chemotherapy, or needs to find a wig before treatment, feel free to browse our online wig store for assistance in finding something suitable.

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